Alright, I’m putting out a plea. Can we please stop using the term “basic bitches…” incorrectly?
This is not a post hoping to ban a phrase; we all know that doesn't work. But lately “basic” has become a verbal reflux—a linguistic panacea of sorts—for simply not knowing much about someone. “Clearly this bitch uses too much Valencia on her IG and loves snappin' pics of her PSLs in plaid outfits. Ugh, you love fall AND pumpkin-flavored beverages? SO BASIC.”
K, well, you should love fall, but that’s another story.
As humans we have the inherent need to put people in neat little boxes. But even the most seemingly simple person is a web of messy mistakes, small triumphs and complicated choices like anyone else. Do they wear their scars on their sleeve? Do they show the world their talents or quirks or vulnerability? Perhaps not. But that's okay. And after interviewing people professionally and recreationally (if there is such a thing) for the last few years, I've learned something important: just because someone isn't an open book about their complexity doesn't mean they don't have a story. Or, in the words of Yeezus: We're all self-conscious, I'm just the first to admit it.
I bet Kanye likes PSLs. But I digress.
There's nothing wrong with playing your cards a little closer to your chest, but I happen to vote for more of an open book policy because I think the world could use it. If more people would talk about difficult or uncomfortable things it might make them less difficult or uncomfortable. And maybe in turn it would help everyone get over this itch to label or judge people based on silly superficial nonsense like beverage choices or instagram filters because we'd realize Oh, there's Jan--Jan likes pumpkin spice lattes, but she ALSO has a nervous tick she's working on with her therapist and in her spare time collects vintage scarves. See Jan go, in all of her beautiful, gritty complexity!
But we're not there yet, people, and so we need to stop leaping to conclusions about what we don't know and about the totality of someone's experience based on their love of popular things or "simple" pleasures.
Whether you wear your story on your sleeve and share it with others or journal it away or even bury it behind a bad habit it's still there. One's complexity, however close to the surface it dwells, has nothing to do with what kind of $5 beverage you prefer. Assuming that it could is basic.
So let's put an end to this Basic Bitch Witch Hunt by agreeing it's basic to use labels in the first place when we're all complex individuals. Let's let everyone like what they like whether it's immensely popular or completely unheard of--I swear I'll join in on the mission. And maybe, in turn, you could help me out with my open book policy. Maybe we could each bring forth a bit more of our faceted, freaky personalities and let them air out in the open for a while to dispel this myth that anyone is plain or boring...even if the only thing freaky about you is an intense love for pumpkin-flavored beverages. I can't hate. They're fucking delicious.