That’s so Basic


A collection of items all deemed “basic”

From about 1st grade to 7th grade I always told people my favorite color was red. The question of color favoritism is one of seemingly little importance; however, one quickly realizes how much a color can dominate a child’s life. Blankets, notebooks, pens, clothes, essentially all purchasable items are now saturated with the color you once told your Mom was your favorite.  So I grew up with a plethora of red items, but what no one knew was that my favorite color was never red; it was pink.

At some point in my adolescence I switched from pink to its darker shade as a means of distancing myself from the stigma and stereotypes associated with pink. Pretending to like a color I actually found rather boring seemed a far better option than the unthinkable alternative: being called a “girly girl.” 

Something about being a “girly girl” just seemed so demeaning. I’m better than that. I’m not some vanity obsessed princess. I play sports. I don’t fawn over every boy I meet. I am a girl, but not a girly one. 

The sheer absurdity of this logic, in retrospect, is astounding. Almost comical. A little sad. In my feeble attempt to fight the patriarchy I ended up giving more fuel to the fire by pitting myself against my own gender. 

As I continue to think about this moment from my youth it dawns on me how everything a girl could possibly like is somehow used against her. Like school? That’s so nerdy. Like wearing makeup? That’s so vain. Like something unique? That’s so “pick-me.” Like something popular? That’s so basic. 

This word – basic – what does that even mean? In my own experiences, basic is used to describe someone who enjoys and has what’s popular. They simply go along with the pop culture waves and become obsessed with whatever the latest sensation is. Wearing trendy clothes, liking big music artists, hell, even having a specific brand of water bottle (iykyk) will be all it takes to deem someone “basic.”

Being “basic” extends beyond one’s likes and dislikes, but now is associated with personality. Someone could say, “Oh yeah, Riley is super nice, but she’s kinda basic” and most people would have a good sense about the type of person Riley is.

However, although society will condemn someone for the sin of “basicness,” one will also be ridiculed for not liking the latest culture craze. They’ll be accused of trying to be “not like the other girls” or outright weird for not having the right commodities to fit into mainstream society.

Converse to the “basic-b*tch” is the “pick me girl.” As undesirable as it is to fit in with mainstream society, to purposely reject it makes one seem like they’re trying too hard to be quirky and different.

Modern culture leaves people straddling a line between liking and disliking popular things just for the sake of appeasing their peers. 

Modern culture leaves people straddling a line between liking and disliking popular things just for the sake of appeasing their peers. 

What’s particularly interesting about this culture conflict is its endless target towards teenage girls. While boys are sometimes called out for supposed “basicness,” more often than not it is girls who are ridiculed for being basic.

It’s time for us to stop prosecuting each other for liking things considered mainstream. People should be free to enjoy what makes them happy, whether or not those things align with society’s view of what is good. 

If I’ve learned anything from my childhood renouncement of pink it’s that I should simply like what I like and dislike what I don’t. This profound idea shouldn’t seem so revolutionary; when you think about it, it’s pretty basic.