“You’re the most basic, basic girl to ever basic. Ever.”
Disregarding the horrendous use of an adjective as a verb, I’ll give you some context. This was said by a friend, strangely enough. It was fuzzy whether it was a term of endearment or a passive-aggressive shade throwing. It’s strange, the way the human language evolves and is used. If you had called someone basic twenty or so years ago, they would probably just thing you were calling them simple. If a friend calls you basic, it’s cute. If someone you don’t know calls you basic, it’s an insult.
So, what is considered basic, in this day and age? According to BuzzFeed, Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the fall and Instagram filters are basic. According to the Phoenix New Times, liking Paris and listening to Taylor Swift are the damning evidence. And lastly, according to Total Sorority Move, being named anything from Stephanie to Regina is proof of one’s basicness.
Let’s boil this down to what I’ve deduced: Enjoying mildly popular things while being female is now a crime.
We’ve all had a laugh or two by calling others basic, but it’s a struggle to stay positive when you force yourself to discover the nuances of what seems like innocent everyday discourse. Calling someone basic is different from a regular insult. You can always brush it off as a joke, as my aforementioned friend did, even if it was meant to be malicious and ended up hurting the other person. It’s a passive aggression specialist’s dream.
However, I think the most interesting part of this phenomenon is how gender specific it is. If you Googled “basic girl,” you would get around 217,000 hits. For “basic guy,” it’s only around 44,000. Our quickly moving social spheres are so quick to condemn things that are popular among girls as basic, while things that are traditionally more liked by guys, like video games or football, are considered the norm, something that girls could never understand.