Stop Basic-Shaming

I’m putting my white-Converse-wearing foot down!

By Rachel Baker (Duke University ‘19)

A great fitting pair of jeans. A Hanes white v-neck. The essential LBD. When did “basic” go from meaning an everyday staple to the most insulting label a girl could wear? Defined as “A total follower; a person that cannot make their own decisions or think for themselves,” ‘basic’ has become not only a snub on one’s tastes and styles, but on a person’s very ability to formulate original thoughts and opinions.

Well I’ve had enough with this Basic Shaming, and I’m putting my white-Converse-wearing foot down!

Let’s just take a moment to think about how a trend earns this demeaning label in the first place. Usually it’s by being just that, trendy. In the eyes of Basic Shamers, anything that a large cohort of people take a liking to acquires the lowly label.

But here’s what gets me; if a certain article of clothing, delicious new food or freshly discovered artist is so awesome that masses of people are vouching for it, then clearly it’s doing something right. So why am I then punished with hipster eye-rolls everywhere for wanting my own share of the fun?

Take leggings for example, the key basic in any Basic’s wardrobe. Any girl who’s ever been victim to this label probably has an entire drawer designated just to these magical leg sweaters. And do you know why every “Basic” female loves these stretchy pantalones? I’ll give you a hint, and it’s not because they lack the decision-making division of the brain and therefore resort to simply mimicking the females in closest proximity. It is because they’re really comfortable.

Plus, they make our butts look great, our legs look toned, and society has somehow miraculously honored these thick nylons as a form of acceptable apparel. That is why we wear them, and we refuse to be shamed because of it!

What’s even more ridiculous in this epidemic is the scrutiny one undergoes for savoring widely enjoyed food products. Everyone knows that if found toting a Starbucks drink of any kind, you may as well have told the barista (whom you probably know on a personal level) to label your takeaway cup with an all caps “BASIC”, although she’ll probably spell it wrong.

Worse yet, the obviously coffee-haters of society have designated an entireflavor as worthy of judgment. Have you ever tried a pumpkin spice latte, you haters? ‘Cause it tastes like a damn pie in a cup. Yet now, due to shaming, and possibly also the enlightenment of the fact that the calorie count is equivalent to that of a Big Mac, I have been shooed away from a delectable fall treat all because too many others enjoy it, as well.

Which is the perfect segue to exhibit C in the fight back against Basic Shaming; ridiculing the admiration of an entire season. We only have four to choose from, people! The offbeat, mainstream-intolerant, and trend breakers of the world have deemed fall, an entire quarter of the year, as only loved by the opinion-less females that are The Basics.

Well I will not accept scrutiny for enjoying three months of the year just because other girls do, too. Autumn is the birthday of new school years, new tailgating seasons, and new episodes of returning guilty pleasures. Am I a bandwagon fan because I enjoy the smell of bonfires, the changing of the leaves, and a nice infinity scarf?

It’s time we refuse to be labeled for adoring a season, a flavor, or a piece of clothing that frankly, gained popularity for good reason. I raise my PSL high as I vow to say no to Basic Shaming.