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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: A reminder to embrace the "basic"

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The first time I remember becoming conscious of the concept of “basic” was 2019; it was the age of the VSCO girls.  

You might remember these girls from the halls of your high school, rocking their messy buns, puka shell necklaces and scrunchies up to their elbows. You might also remember that as quickly as they began, the VSCO girls were snuffed out, suffering an almost immediate death at the hands of the internet. The trend, mannerisms and iconic accessories became a target for a mass digital persecution. And for what? They weren’t problematic. all they wanted was to save the turtles and look cute doing it.  

The death of VSCO girls is a microcosm of a much larger issue on how our society views women’s interests. The term "basic" is often used to describe someone or something that conforms to mainstream trends, lacks originality, or adheres to popular and stereotypical behaviors or preferences.  

 However, it doesn't take much research to find that this term is almost exclusively applied to women and feminine interests. This reinforces the idea that women and their interests are inferior to those of men and that such interests are somehow less worthy of attention.  

It also sends a clear message to women everywhere. Your ideas are not worth pursuing. Your love is trivial. It all comes down to one thing: you don't matter! 

For example, men who loves sports and fantasy football are allowed to find joy in those activities, but when thousands of women sell out the same stadiums for their favorite artist, it's suddenly a problem.  

Basic isn't bad; there is nothing wrong with liking trendy things. After all, they are trendy for a reason. 

We should embrace different interests and styles of expression, rather than trying to shame them. Everyone should be free to express themselves however they choose, even if that style is considered by some to be “basic.”   

Supporting and empowering women means examining the prejudices within ourselves. Women, this starts with us. Every day, we have the choice to uplift or discourage the other women around us. In a patriarchal society intent on demeaning women, reducing us to stereotypes and disparaging our interests, it's time to flip the script. Being “like other girls” isn't an insult, because other girls are awesome. Don't buy into this notion that your fellow woman is somehow inferior just because she wears Uggs or carries a Stanley Cup.  

 It's important to recognize that while every person is unique, being "like other girls" doesn't detract from a person’s individuality or worth. It's essential to acknowledge and appreciate that the strengths, talents, and qualities that make each person special do not make that person “different” from other girls because other girls have their own awesome qualities too.  

 On the same note, don't be afraid of doing or liking something just because someone might perceive it as “basic.” Embrace all parts of yourself; the things that make you special, but also the things that you might have in common with someone else. As women, we need to find ways to celebrate our similarities and differences, without demeaning one or the other. Remember that no one wins the comparison game. Uniqueness and similarity are not qualities at opposite ends of a dichotomy, and they are an essential part of the complexity that it is to be human.  

Ainsley Foster is a sophomore studying elementary education.  

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