‘Basic’ as a concept has been thrown around for decades. In short, basic translates to a simple achievable aesthetic. However, basic now-a-days seems to be more commonly associated with the age-old ‘not like other girls’ phenomenon. If your teenage years weren’t in the horrors of the 2010s, then perhaps you missed out on this joyous time. As a refresher, the ‘not-like-other-girls’ trend focused on highlighting the ways girls were different from one another. It plays on stereotypes that have been assigned to women for what feels like forever. For a deeper dive into this idea, check out tiffanyferg’s video on Youtube!
2023’s ‘basic’ trend is essentially the same but refreshed for a younger generation. Instead of teasing young girls for liking dresses, flower crowns, and One Direction, it’s Drunk Elephant beauty products, white sneakers, and LuLuLemon. Admittedly, sometimes it is entertaining seeing a trend you personally hate get made fun of online; I’m looking at you Ugg Tasman slippers. This brings about huge underlying issues though.
While researching for this piece, I immediately thought of the memes that used to bless everyone’s Tumblr or Instagram back in the day. If you were to Google ‘not like other girls memes’ you would be greeted by an array of colorful jabs along with a warning label. This label warns viewers that memes about groups of people can be hurtful or disturbing. The dangers of cyberbullying have been drilled into us from early ages, but do we actively take in that information?
It feels impossible being a young woman in today’s culture, point blank. We feel uncomfortable talking about our interests out of fear of judgment from people we’ll never meet! A prime example is the ‘pick-me girl’ craze of 2021. Coming from the infamous Grey’s Anatomy scene, a pick-me is a girl who behaves in a particular way in order to gain attention. They don’t want to paint their nails, they play video games. Compile the elements of ‘not like other girls’, pick-mes, and basic girls and we have an overwhelming amount of misogyny on our hands! Most girls don’t feel that they can truly be themselves on their social media accounts. But if you talk too much about your likes online, you’re labeled as annoying. See, impossible!!
As we grow up, we often find that whilst looking for our identity, we find that we are just like everyone else. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a ‘basic’ outfit to class, drinking a pumpkin spice latte, or listening to popular music artists. Next time we laugh at the newest TikTok calling out basic Halloween costumes, think about the opposing side. Maybe the person watching that video has been planning out their group Scooby Doo costume for months! Finding glimpses of joy in the mundane is one of the greatest joys in life. Why would we want to take that from someone? Tearing someone down doesn’t make you look better, it just makes you the jerk. Consider this a little food for thought as we go about our day to day.