How simple word singles out gender for liking stuff

This past year, one “basic” term took misogyny to a whole new level.

Before you flip the page or say I’m a femi-Nazi man-hater, let me preface this quickly. As a feminist, I believe in the social, economic and political equality of men and women. I don’t hate men, at all, but I do hate the way our society treats women.

In case you stayed away from the Internet during 2014, the term “basic” was given a new use: to make fun of women for liking things. It has been most commonly used in the phrase “basic bitches” to degrade girls who like things such as Starbucks, pumpkin flavors/scents, Ugg boots, Chipotle, North Face jackets, scented candles, Pinterest and so many other things.

I use the word “things” because most of these aren’t necessarily gender specific.

The problem is, from what I’ve noticed, the term basic only ever applies to women, even though I know men who like most of the things I’ve listed here – Ugg boots and Pinterest aside.

Last time I checked, coffee and burritos weren’t necessarily masculine or feminine. Chipotle has yet to come out with a pink tortilla, and I have never heard of someone, man or woman, running from a house because it smelled too good.

You hardly ever hear the term basic applied to a guy. My boyfriend loves Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the fall and I’m one of the few people who make fun of him for it, because I’m not about discrimination.

If you ever go to Chipotle or Starbucks and quickly survey the crowd, I guarantee you that at least half of the people are men. Some of them are probably even wearing North Face jackets.

The way I see it, if we can make fun of women for liking basic interests, then we can make fun of men, too.

The only other option would be to let people like what they like and leave them to it, but most of us know that’s probably not going to happen.

I’m not even sure why people get flack for liking some of these things. There’s a reason Erie has five Starbucks locations. It tastes pretty good, and so does Chipotle. Plus, Starbucks is close to campus, so there’s a reason you’ll find a lot of college students there.

Scented candles – or candle warmers, if you live on campus and aren’t allowed to have open flames – make your room smell good. If you are OK with your apartment smelling like pizza and beer, that’s your own business.

Like I said earlier, it’s ridiculous for me to think that people will stop using this word in the near future, but if we are to reach an equal, nonchauvinistic use of this word, I say use it liberally. Who knows, maybe once other parties find it irritating that they’re made fun of liking things, it will phase out on its own.

Or we could just always live happily ever after making fun of each other. That will be the way the world ends – not with a fizzle, but with a laugh.

 

KHADIJA DJELLOULI

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