InkPOPBy Jess Brannen, Web Editor It seems that likeability is determined by adherence to prescribed trends. Lately, “normcore”, or dressing in unremarkable, typically bland clothing, has been en vogue. The Gap, too, has jumped on the bandwagon this season, boasting the slogan “Dress Normal.”
If dressing according to trends is an acceptable aim, why has society become hell-bent on persecuting women who follow trends too closely?
“Basic,” a relatively new interpretation of an age-old word, is an ever-present, all-encompassing pejorative term for someone who follows mainstream trends. The current definition has roots in hip-hop culture and is used to describe a woman who lacks authenticity and is inherently trashy – a “Basic Bitch.”
She wears a uniform of Uggs and yoga pants, is obsessed with frozen yogurt and brunch, and pays allegiance to tabloids and celeb gossip. She drinks Pumpkin Spice lattes when she’s being “good” and Skinny Girl vodka when she’s being “bad”. She loves any show on Bravo and has a fully planned wedding board on Pinterest. Her life goals have a predominantly traditional tint: a conventional wedding and a nuclear family. She describes herself with words like “classy” and “heart of gold”. Her profile on any given social media platform includes the line, “I just like to have fun!”
Since the advent of “Basic Bitch”, we’ve been thrilled. We can finally label this peppy, non-threatening, malleable breed of woman. But why? Could it be that her sentimentality frustrates us? Does her earnestness make us cringe? Is she simply too good at following culturally dictated trends?
Basic Bitches demonstrate virtually only harmless traits, save for several offenses: misappropriations of cultural items as “cute” accessories. Extremely frustrating cases of “vocal fry”. Unoriginal superficiality. Isn’t this our fault as a society? We’ve been given clichés and been told to emulate them, but when we do we’re ridiculed.
Society teaches us to maintain a mysterious front. Be consumers, but be inconspicuous. Keep a poker face while masking a coolly judgmental and pretentious interior. Be ironic and self-denying and hide the extent to which you conform.
The recent crucifixion of the Basic Bitch stems from our desire to not be obvious: about our consumption, about our fear of change, about our desire to go with the flow. In this vein, aren’t we all a little bit basic?
Perhaps the Basic Bitch’s only true crime is that she lacks the wherewithal to form an acceptable social cache of her transgressions.