The word “basic” has a lot of different definitions depending on your field of study, whether it be chemistry, child development or philosophy. I had to do some virtual digging on, you guessed it, Urban Dictionary, to get to the bottom of what the current version of “basic” really means. A basic person, at least according to this website that anyone in the entire English speaking world can add to, is “someone devoid of defining characteristics that might make a person interesting, extraordinary or just simply worth devoting time or attention to … only interested in things mainstream, popular and trending.”
Let me state that definition in my own words, for emphasis: “A basic person enjoys products that are popular, which makes them boring and not worth associating with.”
Dear basic shamers, have you ever considered that things are popular because lots of people actually like them, that products or activities are justified in being mainstream? You have to assume that the average consumer is rational. People decide what to buy based on their piqued interests, painstaking research of internet reviews and extensive trial periods. Only then will they come to a logical, sensible conclusion about the product. Typically, we trust products that have positive reviews, so if something is so culturally significant that most people participate or at least know about it, isn’t that the ultimate good review?
Everything was kitschy or underground at one point, and I mean everything. Everything starts out small and unrecognizable, and some of these things gain popularity through further usage. Pokemon started as a GameBoy game mimicking the capture of insects, and now it’s on millions of smartphones around the entire world (as long as you have enough storage space for it to sit there and collect dust while you’re continually disappointed with the constant updates).
Look, I get it. Some people have called me a “hipster,” which I won’t deny or confirm, but I personally understand the feeling of having one of your favorite bands sell out and produce worse and worse music (rest in peace, early pop punk Fall Out Boy). Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that enjoying something solely because no one else knows about it is highly selfish and exclusivist. It shows that you want that band, that drink or that piece of clothing all to yourself, and, more importantly, it shows that you’re only concerned about your status as cool and original if you’re willing to immediately ditch something you really enjoy just because other people are into it too.
I’ve had ombre hair color, and I wing my eyeliner and contour my cheekbones to perfection when I bother to put on makeup (which is rare at this point in the semester). I enjoy abbreviating my adjectives, even if it is just for ironic comedic effect. I watched all of the “Gilmore Girls” revival this weekend (Team Jess forever and ever, amen), and I do have a favorite Kardashian sister (it’s Kourtney, obvi). I’d just like to live vicariously through my Pinterest page in the way that I want to without some irrelevant internet troll criticizing my every move. Is that too much to ask?
I think this goes without saying, but there may be some in need of a reminder. People are more than the products they buy. Your fellow humans have hopes, dreams and desires. They have families and friends who clearly don’t care that they play Beyonce at an earth-quaking volume and even join in with their sad attempts at twerking. There is solidarity in the mile-long line at Chipotle, where the answer is always, “Absolutely, I do,” when asked if they still want the guacamole on their burrito bowl even though it costs an extra $1.80. Everyone deserves deep, affectionate relationships, even if they still haven’t applied to be on “The Bachelor” after saying they really should for four seasons in a row.
This is a message to anyone who has ever been called basic: You do you. Don’t listen to the haters. Go ahead and stream the Billboard Top 20 playlist, watch “The Notebook” if you need a good cry or wear that velvet choker you got at Forever 21 every single day if you really want to.
This is a message to anyone who has ever called someone basic: Stop. We know that pumpkin spice lattes don’t have actual pumpkin in them, so don’t bring that up as a reason for us to not drink them. Quit trying to micromanage culture, as if you were able to do that anyway.