Fight the patriarchy and embrace being #basic

Illustration by Roe Gassett | The Signal

As the crisp winds of autumn roll in, so do all of the season’s comforts: pumpkin spice lattes, Ugg boots, and cozy oversized sweaters. It is also the time of year when people use the term “basic” to shame women for their common interests. If you find yourself gravitating towards Lululemon leggings and holiday-scented, mini hand sanitizers but worry about being seen as boring, fear not.

It’s okay to be basic, and you should embrace it. 

The idea of being basic is strongly associated with women. It has gained notoriety as a way to shame and further divide us based on our interests. The less we think we have in common with each other, the better the patriarchy functions.

It also makes women less likely to advocate for one another because we are taught to see surface-level commonality, such as the clothes we wear, instead of a more profound level, such as the shared experience of womanhood.

Calling someone basic doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actively trying to contribute to the patriarchy. Still, it trickles down in ways that can be traced to broader ideas about what women “should” be. 

This concept of being basic doesn’t exist for men. Anything men like is “normal” or the default. Things are marketed to them on a larger, broader scale, with action movies being a great example.

Men who are fans of Marvel movies never get taunted for liking such a popular series, but women who love “Twilight” have to defend their interest to the ends of the Earth. For men, the commonality is positive; it binds them. It makes it easier for them to unify and feel seen by society. 

Sadly, the hostility towards the idea of being basic also comes from women.

A few months ago, one particular TikTok went viral after a girl who boasted a more alternative look said that men will always pick the blonde, basic girl. Most of the duets to the video were girls who fit that description, saying the failures of her relationship probably had more to do with the guy or her poor attitude, rather than her interests. 

This is what’s known as a “pick me” girl, which Urban Dictionary defines as someone who seeks male validation by insinuating, indirectly or directly, that she is “not like the other girls,” usually by putting them down. This is a form of internalized misogyny. 

A scene popularized it on the television show “Grey’s Anatomy,” where Meredith begs her partner to “pick me, love me, choose me” over his current wife. This type of thinking causes unhealthy behavior and sets women back. 

 Many women are working to change the negative connotations associated with being basic. On Instagram, the hashtag basic has over 6 million posts, most of which are women showing off their festive and popular aesthetic. The only way to overcome the association is to embrace it.

Do what makes you happy. Drink pumpkin spice, wear scrunchies and support other women. If we work together to destroy the idea that being basic is bad, we can unite on the broader issues. So, embrace the #basiclife.

Editor’s note: After the editing process, a sentence in this article did not reflect the author’s original intent. The sentence was reverted back to its original wording. Updated at 3:22 p.m. on 9/23/2020.