Basic Bitches?

The title of this post is posed as a question, because like other Basic Bitches I think Carrie of SATC is good at “think pieces.” Basic Bitches are my new obsession. The elegant summary of the concept in New York Magazine is a must read, possibly the most important cultural analysis since N+1’s thesis on the hipster. I hope that there will be an entire issue of N+1 devoted to the Basic Bitch, the perfect description of a particular synthesis of middle class aspiration and feminine mediocrity.

Pumpkin Spice lattes, Sex and The City, and Pure Barre fill their twitter feeds and thus they are basic in the sense of being pop culture’s unquestioning consumers. An excellent podcast on The Double X explored the relationship of Basic Bitches to individuality. The more radical critique of Basic Bitches comes via Kreayshawn, the generator of the term’s popularity, and she defines them by their inauthenticity:

But after my busy day of making myself protein pancakes, attending a trendy workout, sipping a celeb-associated smoothie, then watching the first 10 episodes of Sex in the City (which are just as awkward, biting, and weird as Girls), I have been wondering . . . am I a Basic Bitch? And more importantly, what is the relationship of Basic Bitches and Ladies of Habit?

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I think that writing this blog has essentially been an exercise in coming to terms with my own “basicness.” But despite the overlap, here is why ladies of habit are not basic bitches:

1. A lady of habit wishes a friend would accompany them to their trendy workout but never convinces her friends to come because her friends have the good sense to keep exercise and friendship separate.

2. Ladies of habit don’t wonder if they are a Carrie or a Miranda because they are too busy wondering if they are a Leslie or a Liz.

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4. Ladies of habit acquire their first purses after the age of 27.

5. Ladies of habit secretly wish that they belonged to a weekly gathering of single lady friends who all get so drunk that they can’t get home and have to sleep in a cuddle puddle on the ground, but they DON’T because they are so worried about waking up early in the morning and sticking to their routine. We are too neurotic to enjoy the sorority of Basic of Bitches. Sigh.

 

-D

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3 thoughts on “Basic Bitches?

  1. 1) You are def a Leslie. Only a Leslie could consistently post as much killer content as you do.
    2) So like, is basicness mostly a young woman’s thing? Does basicness cut across generational boundaries? Because I feel like there’s another category, one related to basicness that has to do with being a 40-something mom. Like, this basic mom posts complaints about her children’s homework on Facebook, is a little *too* into soccer practice, can’t wait to test drive that new minivan that comes with a vacuum cleaner attachment, etc.
    3) Part of me wants to interrogate this type of dismissal and typing of a certain kind of woman. It feels unsisterly, somehow.

    • 1) Thank you.
      2) I think it is. I think we have a different set of identifiers for mothers that you have beautifully laid out. So what do we call this “Basic Mothering”?
      3) It is super unsisterly, super mean. Even my revelling in my basicness is patronizing. But I would like to point out that that interrogating might be exactly what basicness lacks.

  2. 2) I think “Soccer Mom” used to cover this type of basic mom. However, I feel like there’s a blog-ier, consumerist version of the soccer mom that has recently come up. So yeah, a new term is needed.
    3) Re-reading my comment just now, I realized that I failed to make clear that I don’t think your reading of the basic bitch is in any way unsisterly or mean. In fact, I think it’s really insightful and generous.

    But you’re absolutely right, I think the part of basic bitch that deserves criticism is her–as you put it so eloquently–unquestioning consumption of pop culture.

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