Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Thursday, Feb. 29
The Indiana Daily Student


Be basic

’Tis the season to be a basic white girl.

Pumpkin-spice lattes are back. A popular seasonal fall beverage, they are every basic white girl’s dream in a $4 cup of coffee.

However, the term “basic” has recently been implanted into the vocabulary among students on campus. It is loosely defined as a college-aged female, presumably white, who conform to mainstream or popular social influences. She is obsessed with drinking Starbucks coffee, wearing infinity scarves and UGG boots and enjoys taking selfies.

A basic white girl is superficial, catty and static. She conforms but frequently declares her uniqueness. Favorite phrases include, but aren’t limited to, “literally dying” and “can’t even.” Hashtag, no filter.

This socially based categorization of a person has become inherently problematic. It is a form of stereotyping, another way of trashing and belittling women for following a trend. It’s also just bizarre.

I am constantly running into BuzzFeed articles with generic titles such as “25 Things All Basic White Girls Do During the Fall,” listing random and entirely normal fall activities. It’s growing rather tiresome. The idea was humorous for a while. Now it’s just tasteless.

It is also creating a huge generalization about a very diverse group of young people, and it is certainly not the only one.

As fellow Indiana Daily Student columnist Lucas Burch noted last week, these Buzzfeed lists have been exhausted to no end.

Another recently popular categorization is even broader: 20-something-year-olds. According to various articles from BuzzFeed, EliteDaily and others, people in their twenties are perpetually confused, drink too much and don’t know how to date anymore.

We are being put into a box. It is a small box with no room to grow or air holes to breathe. It is who we are, and we cannot change this.

Another common term used to label our generation is “millennial,” or Generation Y. Though they do not necessarily hold negative connotations, they still attempt to define and generalize the traits and characteristics of an entire ?generation.

True life: I like pumpkin spice lattes. However, that does not directly correlate with my opinion of “Pretty Little Liars” or the frequency with which I Instagram my dinner. My preferences vary and change, just like everyone else my age.

While I could confidently recite the entire “Mean Girls” script, that does not make me any less of an individual. Labeling others, especially young people whose lives are still impressionable, is dangerous. We are subconsciously generalizing about another person based on their coffee preference instead of their character or intellectual ability.

I reminisce a time when “basic” referred to pH balance, not a young woman’s apparent lack of personality. There is nothing wrong with following trends. We all do it, men and women. However, trashing and belittling women simply for this reason needs to stop.

Instead of mocking others, we should celebrate our similarities and our ?differences.

Keep sipping on those pumpkin spice lattes, ?ladies.

Get stories like this in your inbox