It’s a little funny, I have this whole post planned out unrepentantly in my head, but I struggle with writing a disclaimer. I want to tell everyone all the things about my life that validate my opinions. And that is part of the problem. So here it is. I am a person and, as such, I have the grounds to voice this opinion.
For a long time I have struggled with my relationship to the concept of the “basic bitch.” From the moment I became familiar with the concept I accepted the fact that it fit me pretty well. I like candles, I enjoy coffee from Starbucks, I could happily spend the rest of my life wearing nothing but lululemon, and I love wine. So I accepted it and laughed about it with everyone. So what if I was “basic”? I knew that I had a lot of interests that didn’t fit in those categories, but if all people wanted to see was the basic white girl part of who I was, I wasn’t going to let that get me down. I accepted it and moved on. I even went through my closet and came up with a “Basic Witch” costume for my Halloween Half Marathon.
Friday morning there was a segment about “Basic B. Confessions” on the radio and I found it pretty amusing and I identified with a lot of the women that called in. But then I spent the rest of the day thinking about it…and the next day. I came back to a realization that had nagged at me for a while but I had been able to dismiss. I can’t dismiss it anymore. “Basic Bitch” is just a cute and socially acceptable to dismiss a portion of the population. The worst part is that those being dismissed are just accepting it. If you are a younger female, the odds are already against you in a lot of ways. If you happen to fall into the “basic” category you are further reduced to the point your opinion is no longer significant. So many people have laughingly accepted the basic bitch label that they don’t see the ways in which it is negatively impacting young women.
Growing up as a girl is hard enough. You have to walk an impossible line between the labels others will throw at you casually. “Fat” “Anorexic” “Nerd” “Air-head” “Slut” “Prude” the list goes on and on. You cannot win. Now you have to fight to not be “basic.” Too bad if you actually like those things, you have to pretend not to or accept the label. Middle ground is ever shrinking. What makes me sad is that girls/women use these terms against each other. If only we could all realize that there are forces of oppression against all of us and we will not be able to overcome it while we are too busy labeling and demeaning each other.
The thing that made me most irate about the basic bitch label is that there is no equivalent for a male. If there was, I might be content to think that it is simply funny and sit back letting my basic flag fly. But there isn’t. Just for now, let’s imagine the male equivalent. I’ll call him the “basic jackass.” You all know the guy, loves fast cars, action movies, rock music, football, big trucks, motorcycles, strip clubs, objectifying women with his basic jackass buddies, drinking beer and leaving the toilet seat up because the girl can put it down if he can lift it. Sound familiar? Now image the outrage if someone actually tried to make this phrase happen. Imagine calling a man a basic jackass when he sat down to watch a football game with a beer. It would never fly. You would be called an idiot and informed that it was normal behavior.
So why is it not considered normal when women enjoy wearing comfortable pants?
The problem I have with the basic bitch label is that it is used as a weapon to make an entire subset of the population insignificant. It does not benefit any woman in the long run, no matter how non-basic they may be. There is no equality.
Many people would read this and say that I am being irrational, that I am overthinking things. Nothing would be said to counter the points I am making; things would be said to make me insignificant as a speaker. When you dismiss the person it does not matter what they say. Their words no longer carry any weight and are automatically dismissed regardless of the validity of the point they attempt to make.
I cannot change the world with one post, but I can ask that you think about what you have read. Speak up. Do not let other dismiss you because of some label they have given you. Share your thoughts. Make people listen. More than anything know that your ideas and opinions are valid no matter what others say about you.