Basic Bitch

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Basic bitch (or simply ‘basic’) is a slang term in American popular culture used to pejoratively describe people who like popular, mainstream products or music. Interpretations of the term vary and its use has been criticized for being an overly vague and a misogynistic insult. Their male counterparts are usually termed ‘basic bros.’

The term was created by comedian Lil’ Duval in 2010. Over the next two years, it appeared in several American rap songs. In the songs ‘Hard in the Paint’ by Tyga and ‘I’m a Human Being’ by Lil Wayne, the singers insist that they are not basic bitches, while in the song ‘Basic Bitch’ by The Game, the singer warns others to avoid basic bitches because they are ‘fake.’ In 2011, rapper Kreayshawn debuted her song ‘Gucci Gucci,’ which included the chorus: ‘Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi, Fendi Prada … basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother.’

Referring to an object or a person as ‘basic’ has a variety of connotations. When used to refer to people, it can mean a criticism of shallow materialism; popular luxury brands like Gucci and Prada are referenced to suggest that the people who wear them are buying rather than earning their fashionableness and social status. Decrying the basic bitch’s love of bland, boring products like Ugg boots and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes is a rhetorical technique that allows the singer to appear cooler by comparison. According to Kreayshawn: ‘A basic bitch is just someone who likes what’s typical to like. The radio puts stuff on the radio that they think is typical and you should like it, and that’s something a basic bitch would like. She likes those normal brands and wears them all the time because that’s some basic shit.’ Lohanthony, who made a ten-second viral video in 2012 in which he said ‘Calling all the basic bitches, calling the basic bitches, there’s a new announcement: You’re basic,’ describes basic bitches as ‘someone who does what everyone else is doing and isn’t their own person at all.’

In an article in the ‘Guardian’ titled, ‘Why I’m proud to be a ‘basic bitch,” journalist Daisy Buchanan has criticized the cultural trend of using the term as an insult, pointing out that those who call out other women for being basic bitches are ‘dismissing all cultural feminine signifiers’ and ‘make assumptions about a woman’s interests and habits based on her gender.’ According to Michael Reid Roberts of ‘The American Reader,’ widespread usage of the term to mock the behavior and interests of girlfriends or wives ‘conforms to the most bland and uncreative stereotypes of late capitalist femininity’ and suggests a misogynistic attitude toward all women.’

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