For as long as I can remember, decisions involving trends always came with a catch-22. In high school, if you dared to be different, you were the weird kid. The outcast. You were labelled goth or punk or emo, and you were judged for not being like everyone else.
However, among the clique of so-called outsiders, being different was a badge of honor. If you were a member of this group and you dared to engage in any “trendy” behavior (like enjoying the musical stylings of the current boy band, or wearing clothes from American Eagle) you were called a “conformist.” It was a sin to be too “mainstream.”
Essentially, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
As young adults, we’re still engaging in this behavior – only now, our favorite insult has become the term “basic.”
There’s multiple interpretations of this word, yet it’s almost always applied to a female (hence the phrase basic b*tch.) Essentially, it boils down to a girl who embraces trends. You can all picture her: she’s strolling down the (autumnal tree-lined) street with a Starbucks latte in one hand and her Coach bag in the other. She’s wearing leggings (as pants) tucked into her Uggs, and her ombre hair is woven into a side braid. Her white earbuds are in, and she’s obviously listening to the latest T-Swift single as she contemplates her next selfie.
But there’s an implied deeper meaning of this word. A “basic” girl is someone who can’t think for herself, someone who doesn’t aspire to more than what is expected of her. She is vapid and boring and just like everyone else, and therefore, she must not have anything to offer.
The problem here is simple. By attempting to connect someone’s choice of fashion and morning beverage to an in-depth analysis of her personality, we are no better than we were in high school. We are still judging books by their covers. We have not evolved. We are simply grown-up mean girls.
To all the so-called “basics” out there, you are not mindless conformists for enjoying a pumpkin spice latte. You are not unintelligent for rocking out to “Shake it Off.” And you certainly are not worthless because you enjoy the comfiness of Uggs.
Here are ten things that you should be able to love without being judged for it:
1. Changing of seasons:
It’s kind of mind-blowing that this is considered “basic.” Seriously? A girl can’t get excited over the first crunchy autumnal leaf? I’m subjected to eye-rolls if I pull a Lorelai Gilmore and celebrate the first snowfall? The little things in life should be appreciated, and the subtle changes of the seasons are one of those things.
I know I mentioned this several times already, but enough is enough with the hatred of someone’s coffee preference. First of all, pumpkin spice lattes are delicious. Gingerbread lattes are better. That new flat white drink? Heaven. Even the plain coffee at Starbucks is awesome (blonde roast, all the way.) Can we really say that our taste buds reveal deep aspects of our personalities? Nah.
3. Gel manicures:
Real talk, gel manicures are actually not that good for your nails, which is the only reason to avoid them. Not because you’re afraid of being labelled a “basic.” Sometimes you just want a manicure that will last for two weeks. It’s understandable.
4. Forever 21:
I started shopping here before I was 21, and I’ve continued shopping here after 21 came and went. Forever 21 is loved by so many girls because you can find almost anything, at any time, at the best price. It’s almost impossible to enter this store without purchasing at least a dozen items, and that doesn’t include the accessories section. You shouldn’t feel ashamed for carrying those bright yellow bags home from the mall.
Poor frozen yogurt. This sister of ice cream has been deemed the favorite dessert of the “basic.” With the arrival of popular chains like Pinkberry and Orange Leaf, froyo has gotten a fresh makeover and instantly became a recognizable status symbol. There’s nothing wrong with going to one of those self-serve places, and you shouldn’t feel bad for a second about your vanilla/chocolate swirl topped with gummy bears.
Ah, the selfie. Renowned as a sign of desperation, the selfie is a surefire way to tell if a girl has low-self esteem, correct? Because she obviously uses all those “likes” for signs of validation? Um. No. Sometimes a picture is just a picture. Sometimes a girl just wants to show off a new haircut, or she enjoys the way her outfit looks. No one should ever make you feel bad about showing your face to the insta-world.
Yes. This green leafy vegetable, rich with nutrients, one of the world’s healthiest foods – this veggie has been the subject of eyerolls because it supposedly is “basic.” Seriously, guys, can we talk about this? KALE. I’m not sure why it’s a bad thing for kale to be trendy – it’s beyond good for you, so isn’t it logical that its popularity is a positive? Us girls have enough on our minds when it comes to food; do we really have to also worry about being judged for making a healthy choice and ordering a kale salad or kale smoothie?
8. Sephora / designer makeup products:
If you’re a girl who doesn’t wear makeup, that’s cool. If you’re a girl who loves her cat eyeliner, that’s cool too. Ladies should be allowed to wear the makeup of their choice, or lack thereof, without being the object of snark.
9. Pop music:
If you say you’ve never rocked out to a Katy Perry or Taylor Swift song, you are a full-blown liar. There is nothing wrong with liking popular music, even un-ironically. Music is a personal taste, much like fashion, and no one should feel guilty for what they enjoy.
10. Yoga pants / leggings:
Sometimes it’s just important to be comfy. And for some of us, “sometimes” means “all the time.” As the wise Cher Horowitz once said, “Sometimes I have more fun vegging out than when I go partying. Maybe because my party clothes are so binding.” The desire to be comfy is a human one, and it’s not just limited to females. So go ahead, girl. Continue to rock those leggings as pants, and tuck them into your fluffy Uggs. Comfort wins every time.