Why employing the term "Basic Bitch" to describe womyn needs to stop
I recently had a conversation with lady friends about the term “basic bitch”.
It took us about 10 minutes to try to explain it to one another and another 20 to to conclude that t’s a dangerous term to use. In 30 minutes, we realized that the best definition of basic bitch is as follows:
"Basic bitch is a term used by self-proclaimed intellectuals, feminists, or conscious-identified folks who normally don’t refer to women as ‘bitches’ (because it’s derogatory) but calling someone ‘basic’ or ‘basic bitch’ makes it okay to use (or assume) calling a woman a ‘bitch.’"
After our conversation, I thought more and more about “basic bitches” (I was not happy about Kreyshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” playing in my head on a loop: “One big room full of bad bitches / Gucci Gucci Fendi Fendi Louie Louie Prada / Basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother”) If there’s one thing I agree with Kreayshawn with it’s my apathy and indifference for designer brands. Putting down women or people who make the choice (conscious or unconscious) to wear designer apparel does not do me any favors, but instead would be a huge waste of my time and energy and mental health.
As Weekend 1 of Coachella wraps up and I scroll through my Facebook and Instagram feeds featuring the occasional mostly drunk white people misappropriating cultures in the name of music, I decide to dig deeper on this “basic bitch” business and run into Noisey’s Kayla Monetta’s very own Basic Bitches’ Guide to Coachella 2014:
If you’re a basic bitch, you LITERALLY LIVE for Coachella. You’ve been shopping on Nasty Gal for like, the past three months and have a shit ton of neon crop tops and probably a shirt that says “90s” on it with a yin-yang or a pizza. Basic bitches love music, but they love music festivals even more because DRUNK! SUN! INSTAGRAM! DANCING!
This is the Basic Bitches guide to Coachella 2014!
The other day, I walked into one of my neighborhood’s relatively new-ish juice places (there are several) to order a smoothie. It was a good decision. The smoothie I ordered was so delicious that as I walked down the block drinking it, I actually wondered why people ever eat anything else.
"There should be a meal plan where this is all you ever ingest," I thought to myself. Yes, in my own sweet and simple way, I had just invented the juice cleanse. You’re welcome, Gwyneth.
But then I had another thought that stopped me dead in my tracks: “Am I …#basic?”
I texted a friend: “Do you think I’m basic?” She replied no, but it was too late. Thinking makes it so. I was — I BECAME, I am — a very basic bitch.
I refuse to give any more press to the men who call womyn “basic bitches”, because they get enough of it, those privileged fucks.
The real threat here is a new wave of lady-to-lady hate and aggression and how putting the “basic” in front of the “bitch” makes it okay for even self-identified feminists to employ it. First came sluts, then came basic.
Before I continue, I needed to find out if my interests/identity would narrow me down to basic bitch according to today’s pop culture:
Chicago Now’s LindsayM provides a handy little quiz where you can find out if you are a basic bitch or not:
If you are unsure where exactly you fit on the Bitchter Scale, take a look, you might be basic if:
1. You think your life is sex and the city. It’s not, don’t pretend it is, it’s not.
Nope, Sex and the City is a Premium Channel mythical story that I could never ever relate to no matter how hard I’d try.
2. You prefer a trolley bus over a night at the club most nights.
Does she mean “party bus”? I don’t know what “trolley bus” means in this context so I’m assuming this doesn’t apply to me either.
3. You tweet the absolute most basic things “11:11 Make a wish!, Dance like no one is watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like no one is listening, and live as though heavens on earth.” How about you silence yourself like no ones told you to shut up.
A commentary on hypermasculinity and homophobia in 140 characters or less, so shallow it’s deep.
4. You get a sixer of wine coolers to pregame.
More like Hornitos or Corralejo reposado (when I’m on a budget, if not Herradura is more like it) I am sooo one-of-a-kind…
5. You beg celebrities for a RT or follow (what does that do for your life?)
George Lopez retweeted me once, we bonded over our dislike for Erick Estrada in 140 characters or less
6. Shameless selfies. Everyday.
1/2 a point, plead guilty of occasional selfies
7. All you listen to and claim you vibe to is the Top 40 on the radio.
I listen to Top 40, not by choice
8. Coach bags.
My non-profit salary could not grant me that allowance, but it works out because Coach does not address my aesthetic or practical needs
9. Claiming your boyfriend is “the greatest boyfriend evvvaaaa!” On Valentine’s Day even though we all know you bitch about him the other 364 days out of the year and everyone knows he cheats on you.
He is, but he can be a real shit sometimes, just like everyone else. I really hope he doesn’t cheat on me, that would really suck.
10. If you say YOLO in a non joking, legitimately serious way.
11. Yoga pants more than twice a week. Yoga pants are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but let’s not forget there are other pants that need attending to.
Yoga pants are great for yoga. Other than that, I work with kids, I’ll spare them the visible granny panty line.
12. You don’t pay attention to your eyebrows. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR EYEBROWS.
I pay too much attention to my eyebrows and when I don’t, someone in my family will pin me down to pluck them when I come visit #Mexicana
13. “I don’t do drama.” Oh honey, you do drama. You do it all day long.
I do talk about and address my drama with myself and loved ones and give myself the space to process with my therapist.
14. You idolize Taylor Swift.
15. Your Tiffany Sterling Heart Tag Toggle necklace from 2005 is still displayed on your neck.
16. You’re a band wagon sports fan. One Stanley cup win in 2010 and suddenly @DrunkKane has 7k followers.
17. You are not making any daring outfit/accessory choices.
18. You pimp out cars such as Sunfire, Civic, or Neon.
I’m thinking of pimping out the mileage on my Prius to earn extra money on Lyft
19. You update social media on Saturday with BLACKIN OUT TONIGHT, LETS GET IT POPPIN, and then updating quotes from the bible on Sunday. “Thinkin’ singin on Sunday gonna save his soul, now that Saturday is gone.”
What’s “the bible”?
20. Drink pumpkin spice lattes when you DON’T EVEN LIKE THEM.
My brain hurts…what was the question? A beverage choice? Really?
21. Snap pics of your meals daily. Your lunch isn’t THAT visually stimulating. Cool it on the uploads.
Too busy eating…what’s an iPhone?
22. Being rude unwarranted. Especially when your wearing matronly clothes when your in your young twentys. See example:
Actual text from last night. This Basic shoved my friend who was working at the venue.
I’m dying…slowly and painfully.
23. You think Wrigleyville is the end all be all most fabulous night out destination of Chicago….psh, man, you already know.
Not in Chicago, wait is there a Basic Bitch quiz specific to my city? I hope not.
24. Your pregame music includes something along the lines of “John Mayer Pandora.” Unless this is an intimate gathering or a potluck dinner then change it to something with a little more OOMPH. (or mmmce, mmce.)
Insert gun emoji adjacent to face emoji
25. You go out before the sun is down. You are home by 12:30.
Does it fucking matter?
26. Wearing flats to a club with a bandage dress. Unless your ankle is fractured and physically dangling from your tibia, suit up.
Again, does this fucking matter?
A Basic Bitch is one who likes what everyone else likes, because they think it’s cool to like what everyone else likes. A Basic Bitch is a manipulated pawn of media and everything advertisers want you to be. You are a marketers DREAM. Sure, some bad bitches have basic tendencies, don’t get it twisted, but having majority of those listed qualities, qualifies you as a BASIC.
Let me resuscitate my soul for a minute…
Womyn and pop culture have becomed OBSESSED with defining and policing basic-ness. It’s so conflicting because yeah, fuck corporations and fuck capitalism and fuck pumpkin spice lattes and John Mayer but do I need to put other womyn down to establish being a contrast to the loathed “basic bitch”, bad bitch/boss bitch? Must I choose a type of bitch? What if I don’t identify as any type of bitch?
As a Chicana, I’ve lived with bell hooks’ kind of “Killing Rage” towards all the white people who have treated me like a piece of shit and enjoyed many privileges I never will. As I began to address my own craziness and mental health, I learned that being angry at those who have wronged me is not going to make me any better. Sure, I get pretty fucking irate when I see another white girl wearing a huipil, am I going to rip it off her back and spit on her for misappropriating my beautiful culture? No, cuz my ass will get thrown in jail for assault. Will I stop enjoying my beer and glare at her all fucking night? No, because her whiteness is part of a bigger systematic problem beyond her unaware ass and that isn’t even worth my fucking beer and friends sitting in front of me. Same goes to these self-proclaimed and accused “basic bitches”, do I need to call other womyn basic? No, because their taste, although mainstream capitalist-endorsing and different than mine does not make me a better womyn.
I used to highly participate in this differentiation of “Us vs. Them” as a coping mechanism. Because I was always the awkward nerdy girl before awkward and nerdy were considered acceptable. Because I was not white enough, or blonde enough, or because I didn’t wear “cool expensive clothes” and because I never drew much male attention and because I’m invisible and people don’t move out of the way in a crowded place after I say “excuse me”. Instead of channeling my anger towards other womyn and continuing this never-ending cycle of lady-to-lady hate bullshit, I decided to look within myself and address what the fuck is really going on.
Having a college degree and drinking craft beer does not make me better than someone who took a different course in their life. It is not fair for any two human beings to compare themselves to one another because our paths are unique. If there’s anything I’ve learned about working on my own mental health, figuring out why I’m so angry and striving towards real and meaningful relationships with those around me is to be empathic towards myself and towards others regardless of how different we are.
To clarify, I am not compromising myself for others, but I am able to have meaningful conversations with them, and recognizing when to let go when the other person(s) isn’t/aren’t willing to hear me out. I’ve learned that always having my guard up because I have been hurt and wronged so much has kept me from having potentially awesome friendships with people I never even gave a chance to.
That being said, people can be wack, real fucking wack. But that doesn’t make me a better person. And I won’t truly know if they really are wack, if I refuse to give them the time simply because I don’t agree with something as shallow as music taste or because they religiously attend Coachella. As womyn we still need solidarity with one another and no womyn should be dismissed as “basic” because of who she is on the outside. I believe that we should uplift each other and create a culture where we just fucking stop putting each other down.
Who the fuck are we to tell teenage girls to stop being jerks to each other when we do the same shit as grown-ass ladies?
Until recently, I had been extremely unfamiliar with death. The last death in my immediate family happened 18 years ago when my great grandfather died.
I used to live in fear of getting a phone call where I am informed that a loved one died. It was a phobia more than anything. I had no idea how I could cope with someone that I love no longer being physically present.
I want to play a drinking game where I take a drink every time I hear the world "alien" but I can't because it is only 10:00am on a Monday and I am in a federal building
This topic isn’t really about me. Yet it is.
I am sitting on the 14th floor of a courthouse for reasons that go beyond the scope of this post and reasons that are not really the focus of this piece.
I hear a well-known federal judge, “Alien this aliens that. Alien-Alien-Alien-Alien!”
I cringe at the thought that this educated and trained man chooses to employ such unacademic language. But is it really ignorance? Is it just the way the law is worded and there is no point to updating the jargon? My initial (and lazy) reaction when somebody, formally educated or not uses “illegal” and/or “alien” to refer to a human being who is an undocumented immigrant in the United States is to say, “They’re ignorant. Don’t mind them, they don’t know shit.”
"A meltdown later, I resolve to begin addressing painful experiences that I have put aside and to truly make the transformation to and commit to healing my soul, body, and mind. I know I need to make so many changes and I begin to feel overwhelmed because I have no idea where to start or how to start making all the changes I want to make. I have another mild panic attack and realize that I need to change my strategy. Consistent panic attacks and meltdowns are not good for the soul nor body.
I begin with a list. I begin to write a list of specific things that I can transition into…”
It’s been a little over 2 months and I am proud to disclose that I have achieved the following items on said list:
1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night 2. Exercise (not really, but I do take my hyper dog on really long jogs every day) 3. Yoga (Ginseng has this awesome new student deal 10 consecutive days for $20, I’ve been trying out all sorts of classes to see which ones I like best. I like them all! Monthly membership is $115 which is kind of out of my budget. I am trying to figure something out so I can continue after my trial is over) 7. Eat more fruits and veggies (Cherries are in season! I fucking love cherries. Also, the farmer’s market is a few feet from my house every Saturday. How much easier do I want it?) 9. Meditate (goes hand in hand with yoga) 10. Drink more water. Goes hand in hand with me being more physical 15. Go outside. (One Saturday I was REALLY outside. Going on walks every day and realizing that I take my neighborhood for granted. All of its lush trees, plants, flowers and trails) 16. Open the blinds. (Although my neighbors hate us because our dog would bark during the day and they don’t have jobs. I should really hate them for having a crying newborn baby. Don’t live in an apartment complex in Golden Hill if you are trying to quietly raise your offspring.) 18. Get rid of things I don’t use/need (Here you go, Goodwill!) 19. Reorganize my house. (I can actually find shit I am looking for now!) 21. Wash my face (I have to wear eye cream now! AHHHHHH. But seriously I used to go straight to bed with full-on makeup after going out. No more dirty pillowcases!) 22. Moisturize. 23. Wear sunscreen
That’s 13 out of 31. I definitely feel so much better. I no longer get headaches, Don’t take allergy pills anymore, and feel more calm and at ease when handling challenges either at home or at work. Plus, my alcohol tolerance has gone way down and I no longer need to drink 5 IPAs to feel a buzz, but 2 suffice. Hell yeah. It’s also pretty awesome to rediscover the crazy awesome shit I can do with my body through yoga.
Next steps: getting an eye exam, finishing unfinished projects and finding a therapist I can afford.
You have a peculiar way of unfolding yourself for me. In some ways all too obvious, in other ways it takes some work out of me to get the hint.
A few weeks ago, I was having a drink with Kat and through processing and talking, I reached (with her help) the realization that the main men in my life have been polar opposites. Abusive and/or abandoning or extremely nurturing ones who stick around for the long run. There’s no in-betweeners.
Which explains why I have such a fucked up relationship with men, most of them I never reach the point of being able to trust them. Men freak me out y’all.
The past few weeks have features a series of events where I have faced past abusive men. A meltdown later, I resolve to begin addressing painful experiences that I have put aside and to truly make the transformation to and commit to healing my soul, body, and mind. I know I need to make so many changes and I begin to feel overwhelmed because I have no idea where to start or how to start making all the changes I want to make. I have another mild panic attack and realize that I need to change my strategy. Consistent panic attacks and meltdowns are not good for the soul nor body.
I begin with a list. I begin to write a list of specific things that I can transition into. I open my purple Slingshot planner and out pops a business card. it is the card of a woman whom I met in my playwright workshop who is a Reiki Master/Healer/Reader/Life Coach. Ah-ha.
I contact her and we spend an hour on the phone and she is reading my energy. I notice how extremely intuitive she is and I begin to tell her where I am at emotionally, physically, spiritually. She also shares some of her experiences with me which enable me to trust her.
I will be working with her as my guide through my healing journey.
It’s gonna be an intense one and it’s gonna require me to take more risks than I have ever taken in all my 26 years of my life, it’s gonna be scary, and I am going to allow myself to for once feel vulnerable. It might also mean less public writing, since I am so scattered and my writing is going to be shit, and not make any sense to anyone but me. Also, because I am strong believer of not disclosing every insignificant detail that might trigger some people who might be struggling with something that I may not know about (eating disorders, body image issues, thoughts of suicide, sexual assault and rape survivors, etc.) I will only disclose what I feel is necessary for me to share with loved ones (both on and off the internet). They will reflect my thoughts about myself and my own process and in no way are they intended to reflect on others, their choices, or their lifestyles. I will be glad to share any resources I have been utilizing should anybody feel like said resources will benefit them. I promise you I will not post pictures of some sadass salad or pictures of my belly or disclose explicit fitness details. What works for me, might not work for you.
For lent I am giving up comformity, and not just for lent but for good.
I am not what you would call an “ideal Catholic” but I’m more of an “I was born Catholic” Catholic. There are certain elements of the Catholic faith that I truly believe in. For example: being kind to your neighbor, not judging, caring for others, being humble, the spirituality aspect that is so comforting about a loving God. But then there’s the non-conventional Catholic side of me where my definition of God is not a patriarch, but a loving deity with no human semblance. As God as a higher being but not a “sole” creator because I believe in evolution. It’s complicated.
What I really just cannot see eye to eye with Catholicism are a few things:
Most Catholics are anti-choice. I firmly believe in every woman’s right to choose to do what she pleases with her body.
Priests are getting away with rape and child molestation. Now there’s some down priests who would never commit such atrocity, BUT the ones who are doing it, are getting a slap in the wrist. Those dudes need to be kept away from kids.
The gay-bashing. People who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gay, queer, transexual are demonized by most Catholics. Totally contradictory and fucked up. I’m not down with that. Be kind to your neighbor, that includes LGBTQ (and everything in between) neighbors.
I also just straight up reject the hypocrisies that take place in the church.
There are things about the religion that I embrace (love, compassion, humility, striving to be good people) and things that I reject (hate, ignorance, hypocrisy, patriarchy).
That being said. I will give up something for lent and actually for life I am hoping and that is comformity. Comformity is when we don’t give a fuck about anything and remain stagnant. I want to take more risks. I want to truly believe in myself to continously strive to become a better and more wholesome person. A better educator, a better scholar, a better friend, a better partner, a better sister, a better daughter. I want to continue to be critical of myself and how I communicate, how I do my work, how I treat others. I want to push myself to take more risks, because I am worthy of employment or grad school admissions consideration, I am a loving, caring, passionate being who strives for social justice. I will give up my comformity and always push for more, not in a greedy way, but in a way that benefits my community, my environment, and my character.
So for lent, I will not give up tangibles like a food I really like, or candy or even drinking (although, I do not recommend binge drinking or excessive junk food intake). I will give up comformity and not just for lent, but for good.
Let’s talk about rituals. Usually when I hear the word “ritual” I think of some BBC documentary on bulimia and how the subjects of the documentary are engaging in “rituals” in their bulimia.
I want rituals to be brought to a more positive light. Rituals can be a good thing, in fact, they can be an amazing thing that holds your friendship together and makes it so damn meaningful.
The other day I was in the shower and I was thinking about my friendship with Kat and about how 80% of it consists of various rituals. Only the most amazing rituals!
In the spirit of Sunday, (technically Monday, but eh) let me tell you about
I don’t even remember the origins of lady brunch or even the first lady brunch we ever had but it is a strong solid every other Sunday here and there ritual.
It starts at around 10 or 11, depending on how late we stayed up the night before. I put on my most comfortable (holey) sweatpants, a t-shirt, my black wool Uggs and an oversized sweatshirt with a hoodie to hide the fact that it’s Sunday and I refuse to pass a brush through my hair and walk down the street to Kat’s house. Sometimes I drive, sometimes she drives, and we head to Trader Joe’s for champagne (typicalle Chandon, but the last time we tried Proseco because TJ’s told us it’s a “crowd pleaser” and let me tell you, if you are not having Proseco mimosas with fresh squeezed tangerine juice, you are not doing mimosas right!) juice, and fruits. Sometimes I save a trip and buy my groceries. Then we trek out to Whole Foods for Fakin’ Bacon (smoked tempeh bacon), wheat English muffins, and to see if Earth Balance soymilk is on sale.
We head back with our ingredients to Kat’s. Start cooking. I usually take the potatoes, wash chop chop chop, season with olive oil, rosemary and paprika. Sometimes I go a little wild and add green bell peppers. Kat is in charge of making the “tofu eggand the bacon. I chop fresh bananas, strawberries, apples and oranges and toast the muffins with shredded cheddar Dayia “cheese”. Kat brings a pot of water to a boil and we used to have Italian pressed espresso but now she got this awesome French press and we have the most delicious coffee ever. Sometimes we make sangria using Trader Joe’s blood orange italian soda, La Granja merlot, frozen mango and pinapple chunks and berry medley, and the juice of one lime. MMM. We used to get these awesome vegan little cinammon biscuits from trader joe’s and were disappointed they no longer sell them. Not cool, Trader Joe’s, not cool.
The entire time we are cooking, we are sharing stories, laughing, making jokes and trying not to burn ourselves when we pull out the potatoes or the tofu eggs. Sometimes we play Calle 13 and dance while we cook, other times we let the soothing sounds of reggae fill our soul cooking. One time a bee snuck in through the back door and took us nearly sabotaging the entire meal to lure it outside. Once all the food is ready, we bring it to the living room where we have set up a table, sometimes we have a nice little flower arrangement, the spread is layed out and we carefully select a movie to watch while we eat. There was huge disappointment at the lack of variety among “lady buddy comedies”. Not a lot of those sadly.
We eat while going, “Mmm…yes…mmmm-mmmm”. It’s great when lady friends come out of town and join us for lady brunch because sharing traditions is even more amazing than just the tradition itself. After we take over an hour eating all the food we made, we laze around, finish watching the movie and carry on with Lazy Sunday.
Having that amazing positive lady space and treating ourselves to a delicious meal is something that has become so important and valued in my life and I am very thankful for that. As I navigate through a myriad of friendships, some unfortunately shallow, others deep, some disappointing, it is great to know that there are real people out there who are down for the friendship and truly believe in putting the time to make it work and to make it exist in general.
Cheers to lady brunch and to hopes that other women catch on about the value of female spaces and friendships and develop their own special rituals.