Over at Man Repeller, Julia Gray has written a thoughtful and considered piece about the nature of being “basic” in 2019, aptly titled, “What Does Being Basic Look Like In 2019?”
I’ve very much come full circle on “Basic Bitches.” Which, I guess, is to say, I’ve had pretty much every complicated feeling you can have about basicness. I think it goes a little like this:
I’m NLOG, Basic Bitches r dumb
Basic Bitches exist, but “BB” is a slur
Basic Bitchdom doesn’t exist
Basic Bitches do exist, we are all Basic
The urge to define “Basic Bitches” absolutely comes from an urge to “other” women. One of my theories is that it opens up misogyny to men and women who otherwise claim to love women (NOTE: I’ll say “women” a lot when referring to “basic bitches” even though anyone of any gender can be labelled or identify as a “basic bitch”). To me, “Basic Bitch” immediately conjures up images of “Stacys” that are dreamed up on MRA Reddit forums, a two-dimensional concept of what a woman is like, dreamed up by someone who has had little desire to understand women as people. That scares me, because it’s a very slippery slope from othering someone to hating them. In the case of the MRAs, they hate Stacys because they believe the Stacys owe them sex. In the case of “Basic Bitches,” they are loathed and reviled by people who believe BBs owe it to them to be more interesting, at least as far as I can tell. MRAs can look at a woman who isn’t giving them sexual attention and draw immediate, horrifying conclusions about her: she is a snob, she is obsessed with her appearances, she only dates “Chads” who will treat her badly, she should spend less time doing her makeup and more time sexually fawning over me. The same way our culture draws immediate conclusions about a woman dressed in athleisure, with a messy bun and a Starbucks cup: she’s boring, she has no interests, she isn’t a full person, she only follows trends.
Which is another interesting point to bring up. Name a thing that defines a “Basic Bitch,” and I’ll show you a genius marketing ploy that worked. The characteristics that define a “Basic Bitch” are easy to point out when you make a list of things that are generally popular with, or designed to appeal to, women as a consumer base. It’s a marketing ploy. Leggings: comfortable when worn during a range of activities from exercise to lounging. UGG boots: warm and comfortable footwear that comes with cultural caché of being worn by celebrities. Scarves: keeping your neck warm obviously makes you basic! Top 40 music: played everywhere from the radio to the grocery store, how dare you get the new Lady Gaga stuck in your head and like it??? Pumpkin Spice Lattes: do you like tasty drinks? Well, YA BASIC!
The checklist of what defines a Basic Bitch is ever-expanding, and keeps perpetuating thanks to Internalized Misogyny. Internalize Misogyny both enables us to label things that we don’t like as qualities of the Basic Bitch, and allows us to exempt ourselves from Basic Bitchdom when we see fit. “I wear leggings to the gym, but I’mNotABasicBitch!” “Sure, I have an Instagram, but I never post selfies or use hashtags.” “I only drink Starbucks because it’s convenient, not because I’m a BASIC!” Ladies, it’s a trap! Everything is BASIC now! Wearing clothes from stores and thrift shopping — both basic! Unless you’re naked, YOU’RE BASIC! Eating junk food and being vegan — BOTH BASIC! Can a bitch live? Enjoying fall… enjoying summer… enjoying spring… enjoying the change of seasons on this planet??? BASIC! BASIC! BASIC!!!!
What defines a Basic Bitch in 2019? White tennis shoes, rosé, and that half up, half down Space Buns hairstyle. Just kidding. Well, sort of. Name something that isn’t directly marketed to cishet men, and you’ve got another item to add to the checklist for Basic-ness. Soft-serve ice cream, Instagram, crop tops, makeup, Soul Cycle, house plants, chicken nuggets, The Bachelor/ette. Being a Basic Bitch in 2019 means falling for any number of highly targeted marketing schemes designed to sell you on something that you’ll probably like anyway. The Galaxy Brain move is to acknowledge that, no matter what you do, you will be considered “basic” by someone and to own it proudly. Being a Basic Bitch is simply existing in the modern world, as long as there have been trends created by, for, and populated by mainly women. Oh! I forgot one! True crime — totally for Basic Bitches. Show me a Basic Bitch who hasn’t seen every episode of CSI or SVU. Basic Bitches are all around and now, we’re pretty much capable of committing the perfect murder. So, ya know, be careful who you call “basic.”