I am writing 31 fighting scarcity. I will be collecting them all at the starting point. I hope you join me this month.
There is this word on the internet. Basic. It describes mostly white girls and my teenage students are terrified of being it. Autumn seems to be the most loved season of the teenage white girl. I love autumn too. I always have. I mean, HELLO BIRTHDAY MONTH! I don’t love being hot, and I don’t love being cold so Autumn suits me well. I love apple picking and pumpkin patching. I love apple cider. I love fresh doughnuts. I love Halloween and I love Thanksgiving ESPECIALLY if I get to cook.
Some of these traits are being described as “basic” a sort of short hand for “All other white girls like that so you are a little bit boring and a little bit a joke for also loving those things?” Other things described as basic: Scarves, love of Starbucks, UGG boots, all other boots, brunch, coordinating Halloween costumes, anything Pumpkin Spice, expressing love for the changing leaves, liking s’more or bonfires, low pony tails. All of these things apparently fall under the category “basic” and should therefore be avoided. I only know because I Googled it. Pretty soon Googling will be basic too.
If scarves are basic, then I guess me and my cozy neck are that.
Y’all! This is ridiculous, first of all if you don’t like brunch or bonfires, or scarves, or s’mores or boots then what is there even to like in this world? I mean WHO DOESN’T LOVE BRUNCH?
But also, it is really hurting my students, and some younger friends of mine. They are afraid that if everyone else likes it, they shouldn’t like it too. But accusing someone of being basic, or fearing it yourself is just another way that scarcity gets to us. To all of us.
Just because you like the same things as someone else does not make you totally unique. My girls show me this most often. They both love pink, and Wild Kratts and dancing and waffles with syrup. They both love each other more than anything and bossing around our dog. They both love apple picking and boots and coordinating halloween costumes. But they are perfectly unique because THEY ARE. They just are.
Scarcity tells us that if someone else has all of our things, it makes us less us. It makes us less special, it makes us more boring. This is just a giant lie. NO ONE CAN TAKE YOUR YOU-NESS FROM YOU! It is literally impossible. Scarcity tells you that your own being is something that needs to be protected and secured.
What a load of crap.
Abundance says it doesn’t matter how many other things you have alike with a person, you are beautifully and wonderfully made and no one, NO ONE can steal your you-ness from you. Being basic isn’t possible, because you are a person.
Some of this stuff I am often reminded about by my friend Nicole who is also doing 31 days. Go see.)
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Very well said!
I’ve only recently started seeing the word “basic” around, and even though I like to think that I’m up to date with current word trends, I could not figure out the reference.
I find that there have been so many trends in the last few years that attempt to negate people’s experience and make it somehow less worthy and less important. Though many might seem on the surface to propose a “less shallow” world view (and I use the quotations deliberately), I find that they more often suggest false modesty or an attempt to show superiority. I especially dislike the terms and trends that attempt to make people feel bad about the things that they like, or that if things are popular they are no longer worthy of being liked.
Thanks for your insights (and for explaining a trend that had me somewhat befuddled 🙂 )
Beautiful. This opened some things up for me this morning. Thank you!
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Yikes! When did UGG boots become basic? What am I missing?? Besides that, love your expression through writing!
AHHHH I LOVE THIS POST AND I LOVE YOU YOU’RE MY HERO, ABBY. Seriously, I’m so sick of “basic” being used as a shame tool, especially since it’s such a gendered term. Like you were saying in this post, 99% of the time it’s used against women and girls to make us feel less than for our preferences and personal expression. I just want to flip that “basic” concept on its head and be like, you wanna know what’s “basic”?? Shaming women for being ourselves, because we’re always being told that we’re not enough. “Basic” is just a trendy new insult for the same old sexist crap. Cheers to you for calling this out.
and what’s their posited alternative? cultivating superiority for liking more arcane and acceptable consumer brands(TM)? white hipsters have a uniform and aesthetic even more predictable than white sorority girls!
i don’t understand the need to police other people’s preferences. we get to enjoy and do and BE whatever we do/are. there is more room!
so glad your students have you:)
Seriously! !!! It’s stupid. And it makes me sad that it makes them sad.
This makes me sad, too. There is such pressure for our young people in this techno world we live in. But, “Basic” is just another tactic of bullies to try to find superiority by hurting others. And if there is a category for bullies… it’s basic. The whole “mean girl” thing is as basic as anything they’ve labeled basic. May you empower your students to resist giving the bullies what they want. May they learn to recognize and avoid garbage. And may they find they don’t need to apologize for liking UGGS or Autumn, or Starbucks. The truth is, so do the bullies, they just aren’t brave enough to admit it.
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