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Why Being Labeled “Basic” is Inherently Sexist

If you ask Merriam Webster how to define the word basic, you’ll hear terms such as “fundamental” or “essential” or “having a pH greater than 7.” But, if you look on Urban Dictionary, you’ll see phrases such as “predictable” or “uninteresting” or my favorite, “girls who think they’re cool because they’re artsy, can make a duck face, carry around coffee cups, and wear designer brands.” In other words, you’re “basic” if you like mainstream things. Here’s why being labeled as “basic” is incredibly sexist.


Boys Can’t be Basic.

It’s funny how every time the word basic is thrown out there it’s always “basic white girl” or “she’s so basic.” It’s never used to describe guys. You can be walking to your class surrounded by guys wearing khakis and maroon Minnesota sweatshirts and it’ll mean nothing, but if you see a group of women all wearing leggings? Forget it. It’s over. The world is going to explode from too much basicness. The word “basic” definitely could apply to men, yet we don’t apply it. The label was created by men, for men, to degrade women.

Starbucks is for Everybody.

Okay, so maybe some days I cave and decide to wait in the ridiculously long line for the Starbucks in Coffman, but who hasn’t? That doesn’t mean it can be reduced to something all women do. Also, more often than not, there will be just as many men waiting in that line. Stereotypes regarding Starbucks shouldn’t be a thing; coffee is coffee no matter where you get it from and needing a caffeine pick-me-up is nothing to be ashamed about. On that note, we come to Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the epitome of being basic. PSL’s are a delicious delicacy made for everyone, and women shouldn’t be judged for drinking them. Let PSL season begin! 

“15 Signs You’re Dating a Basic Bitch”… or Maybe Just a Respectable Woman?

These kinds of articles pop up everywhere: “18 Signs Your Girlfriend is Basic” and “Every Guy Wants a Basic Girl.” The list goes on and on. First of all, if you actually read the articles, which I unfortunately did, they don’t even make sense. According to one article, “Her sense of humor is almost nonexistent. Jokes about suicide, rape, bullying — ‘It’s never funny, you guys.’ ” I’m pretty sure not laughing at those “jokes” makes someone a decent human being, not basic. 

Inspiration is for Basics 

Inspirational quote on your wall? BASIC! Not. Some women put inspirational quotes everywhere; they hang inspirational posters on their walls, post inspirational sayings on Instagram, and share inspirational posts on Facebook. What’s the problem with that, you ask? There isn’t one. Everyone likes to feel inspired, which is why the athletic posters for sale in the Coffman Bookstore all have inspirational and motivational quotes on them. Everyone appreciates these quotes, so women shouldn’t be shamed for sharing them proudly. 

Uggs and Leggings…Who Cares? 

God forbid you’re comfortable or warm in the subzero Minnesotan temperatures, otherwise you might be labeled basic. Regardless of a person’s gender, the most important thing to remember is it doesn’t matter what anybody says; wear whatever you want and rock it. 

The Beginner’s Guide to Being Basic

There has to be a guide somewhere on how to determine who’s basic and who isn’t, right? Who even decided that women who like fall, drink Starbucks, wear leggings and Uggs (basically women who enjoy popular things) are to be labeled basic? Who chose to shame women for liking what they like? In the grand scheme of things, basic is just another term to belittle someone you think you’re above.


Ladies, don’t listen to anyone who tries to dull your shine. Keep on being you, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Emily Monday

Minnesota '20

Proud Wisconsinite and die hard Packer fan. Avid coffee drinker, dog lover, and Netflix binge watcher.
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