The Idea of Basic

If I had a dollar for every time I was called basic, I wouldn’t be stressed about the cost of tuition or textbooks. If I had a dollar for every time I called myself basic, I could afford a Starbucks every day of the week.

Yup, some might call that last sentence basic, but I call it clever.

Basic. What is basic? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “basic is forming or relating to the most important part of something.” Our friends at Urban Dictionary define basic as an “adjective used to describe any person, place, activity involving obscenely obvious behavior, dress, action.” So, we’ve gone from relating to the most important part of something, to obscenely obvious behavior. Bit of a jump if you ask me.

In our culture today, it’s fair to say that being basic is perceived as being painfully regular. It’s a girl in a big scarf with a Starbucks cup containing a latte. It’s a girl in a Canada Goose jacket wearing Uggs. It’s Snapchatting in public. It’s posting picture after picture on Instagram. It’s listening to the song Closer fourteen-trillion times a day.

It’s participating in what has been marketed towards us to enjoy.

Hold on… come again? “Basic” things were created for us to purposefully like? Females shouldn’t feel lesser for liking Starbucks or wearing a certain brand of boot?

No. Freaking. Way.

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the media for a split second. The media isn’t always our best friend. It is no secret that some marketing schemes aim to turn us against ourselves, resulting in our vulnerability and susceptibility to purchase things we think we need. It’s important to have this awareness. However, there’s being aware of the media and corporations selling us bogus ideas about what we think we need to make us happy, and then there’s flat out ignoring the fact that some products are extremely popular because they serve a purpose for a wide range of individuals.

So we have these popular products we are supposed to enjoy, but once a female gets her hands on it, it’s “basic?” Once multiple females get their hands on it, it becomes trendy to diminish the product and the person holding it?  I mean, sure, pumpkin spice lattes may not be that great, but that girl holding one is.

Don’t write her off.

Her hands holding that white and green cup might have saved lives, or solved complex math problems, or composed beautiful poetry.

Yeah, fighting to  not  be called basic — a term that has literally been assigned a “negative” connotation within the last five years with barely any validity — for drinking a four-dollar coffee is the definition of a first-world-privileged-person problem. But being seen as lesser for doing so because, as women, we fit the identity of something as arbitrary as basic, now that’s something worth talking about.

How do you feel when someone calls you basic? Do you use the term yourself? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @HCWesternON!