Announcement: Calling People “Basic” Is the New Basic

basic bitches

IF YOU TYPE the phrase “basic b**ch” into Google, you’ll probably have the pleasure of encountering one of 12,100,000 thinkpieces, listicles, and other pieces of editorial gold that define, denounce, or even applaud the “basic b**ch.” There’s even a Buzzfeed quiz that can tell you, once and for all, whether or not you are one. In case you’ve ever been curious. If you think you (or a friend) might be a basic b**ch , or fear you’re starting to exhibit early symptoms of “basic” behavior and tendencies, or you really just want to know what the hell a basic b**ch is, there are countless resources available via the internet to fill you in. Basic b**ches are everywhere. Pop culture is littered with them.

Similar to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the term “basic b**ch” means everything and nothing at once. Unlike the concept of the MPDG, however, the origins of the basic b**ch can’t easily be traced back to any one specific person. Urban Dictionary defines the basic b**ch as “an extra regular female,” someone who likes stuff most other people tend to like, has no real opinions of her own, and is generally normal in the least interesting type of way. The basic b**ch exists as the opposite of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who compulsively seeks to be quirky and unique. Basic b**ches, as they exist in the music of The Game and authority-on-basicness Kreayshawn, for example, are happy to be plain vanilla, following trends with reckless abandon and finding contentment in liking what is popular and generally accepted for people to like. She thinks she’s cool and different, but we all know better. Which is fine, except that, like the MPDG, the basic b**ch isn’t real: she’s an unoriginal, boring caricature created to make everyone else feel good about how different and special they are (isn’t she? Be honest). No one seems to know what the counterpoint to a basic b**ch is, or what being the opposite of a basic b**ch would look like, but it’s clear that no one wants to admit to being one.

Because we’re all too cool to have ever genuinely enjoyed watching Sex And The City, right?

The term has become ubiquitous and has turned into a seemingly unstoppable monster of MPDG-sized proportions. It’s the ultimate way to shut anyone down and feel smugly superior about our own refined tastes, and it’s overused. Anyone can be called basic, because the truth is, everyone’s a little bit basic, so it’s the ultimate way to put down anyone who’s slightly unremarkable and exceedingly average. So you like to Instagram your pumpkin spice lattes and wear infinity scarves. The world keeps turning. Cool. Cosmo, for example, only adds to the ambiguity behind the term “basic,” going beyond the stereotypical characteristics of the the ballet flat-wearing basic b**ch, calling things like “redeeming coupons” and borrowing a friend’s HBO Go password “basic.” Um, sure, that’s basic, if by basic you mean SORRY FOR TRYING TO LIVE MY LIFE AND GET $2 OFF ON A STARBUCKS COFFEE IS THAT BASIC TO YOU?? I’m pretty sure that’s just normal human behavior. If refusing to pay for HBO GO when I have friends more than willing to give me ALL THEIR PASSWORDS is basic, I’ll take it.

Allure ran a piece last month which referred to Lauren Conrad as a “basic” woman and called her “remarkably unremarkable.” This isn’t an untrue statement. With all due respect to LC, I don’t disagree entirely. But, as Allison P. Davis of The Cut writes, “If you have to define basic, Allure, does that mean you too are basic?” In an attempt to set itself apart from all the basic b**ches, Allure has fallen into the most basic trap and failed the truest test of basicness there is: calling people “basic b**ches.” If we’re going by the established and respected definitions of the word “basic” in reference to an extremely average female, isn’t talking about what 12,100,000 other people on the Internet are talking about kind of basic? Regular? In keeping with the general, unimpressive trend of what most other people are doing? Lauren Conrad may or may not be “basic,” but calling people out for being “basic” and talking about other people’s basicness in detail falls within the standard definition of being basic. It’s been done. And it’s old news. Didn’t that CollegeHumor video that made “basic” accessible to the masses, come out, like, four months ago? Calling people basic is about as basic as it gets.

We feel for you, Lauren Conrad. We’ve never had any kind of personal problem with your sausage curls.

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