"Big salads at Cheesecake Factory." "UGGs." "Instagram geotags." "Star tattoos on their foot."
These are four out of "33 Things That Every Basic B*tch Likes," according to Elite Daily (asterisk theirs). The realest "basic bitch" indicator of the whole article is a header called "Toasters." Apparently, "basic bitches" love their toasters:
Toasters are the epitome of basic b*tches. They can make anything in the toaster (except, heaven forbid, sliced bread), everything tastes better in the toaster, they enjoy the friendly chime of the toaster, they look like toasters... Those basic b*tches, the closest they've come to using real kitchen appliances is returning duplicates from their bridal registry.
Oh totally, those basic bitches are so basic that they like to use their modern day appliances to make their food crunchy! Jeez louise, that is so basic I am like seeing level 1 math as I roll my eyes into the back of their basic tiny little lids.
These so-called "basic bitches," namely the ones who are somehow known for their love affairs with a machine that can heat their breakfast quickly and efficiently, got me thinking. I did a little googling around for both the origin and the perpetuation of the "basic bitch."
It didn't take me long to find several listicles claiming to have the original and snarky look (snarky is probably too flattering of a word, here) into what makes a woman not only a bitch, but a "basic bitch." I learned from sites like Mass Appeal, Thought Catalog, Oh No They Didn't (which is still on Livejournal, evidently) and my personal favorite, Black Girls are Easy, that "basic bitch" is pretty much a code word for any woman who wants to fit in but is, unfortunately for her, too transparent or forthcoming to hide her conformist desires.
Actually, I'm going to put what I learned in even more "basic" terms: a "basic bitch" is anyone who possesses the qualities you either hate about yourself or are deathly afraid of having. And it's kind of a really ugly way to put another woman down. What could be more insulting than calling someone literally so normal that she is unenjoyable to be around? At least when a woman is a "bitch," she can be her own special "bitch." As a "basic bitch," she is confined to the role of someone so passe and predictable that for her to try is a waste of space.
"Basic bitches," like Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, according to the kind of internet bloggers who grab onto these types of "urban" buzzwords and force their relevance for the bored 9 to 5 readership. "Basic bitches" also like posting selfies, wearing brand-name fashion for the masses and depending on men to calculate their self worth. They listen to top 40 radio and name their dogs after people. They're really into their horoscopes and watch nothing but bad television (I saw Say Yes to the Dress in about four listicles).
Some contradictions I found about a "basic bitch": A "basic bitch" loves a good sale, but she is obsessed with designer labels. A "basic bitch" brags about her boyfriend on social media, but she's a giant slut who gives head a lot. A "basic bitch" refuses to go camping or play sports, but she loves to work out and talks about going to the gym all the time.
A writer over at Black Girls are Easy wrote that girls are "basic bitches" if they lack ambition and hate on other women. And she totally planted a truth bomb about how calling someone a "basic bitch" reveals your own insecurity:
When you go out to the club and get your 4th of July ass bounce on you’re going to feel a need to look at another female and refer to her as a Basic Bitch. Before you pass judgment on her, look at yourself. This is the part of the movie where Haley Joel says, “I see dead people” and Bruce Willis says, “Where, little nigga?” If you are in the same room as women you deem basic, what does that make you? You are in the same basic club trying to get pulled by the same basic men they are. The fact that you are breathing the same air with that level of primitive hoe is proof that your life took a wrong turn and you, Miss “bad bitch”, may be the most basic of them all.
BUT, in her weirdly shoot-yourself-in-the-foot-with-your-own-judgments type humor, the author managed to miss the point, which is that a "basic bitch" is in the eye of the beholder. It's a way for women to put other women down by measuring them in appearance and the way they perform their personalities. That's why a woman putting down another woman for being a "basic bitch" is really just a "basic bitch" herself. She's living the "basic bitch" mentality rooted in brand recognition and empty feelings of superiority. Calling someone else "basic" perfectly illustrates where your own priorities lie.
Something really important to understand about using the term "basic bitch" on someone else is engaging in that action deepens whatever divide there is between women of different socioeconomic backgrounds whose indicators of wealth and popularity differ. A pair of UGGs might be "basic" to one Elite Daily blogger based in Manhattan with no care in the world except to garner clicks. But that same pair of UGGs could be golden to a 16-year-old girl whose single mother invested her Best Buy paychecks to buy them for her daughter on Christmas. And income gap aside, women should not have to hesitate to flaunt the clothes they like for fear of having their motivations questioned.
What's the big deal, you're probably asking? "Basic bitch" is just a funny way of saying someone's boring or they're wearing something you thought was cool in 8th grade. The big deal is, if you spend the time to get to know other kinds of women, the chances are there is something at least a little less boring about them than you originally thought. And if they're wearing something you thought was cool in 8th grade, maybe you should take that as a chance to consider the possibility of that article of clothing coming back in style. Let me remind you, the newest fashion trend hitting the streets, "normcore," literally takes its inspiration from what is considered "basic." One woman's "basic bitch" is another woman's treasure. Because, if there's anything that - what, like four waves of feminism? - have taught us, it's that all women are f*cking treasures (asterisk mine).