“Basic Bitch”

Marielle Genovesi, Arts Editor

At first it took me a while to notice the term “Basic Bitch.” I guess it could be my lack of amusement by another derogatory term crafted specifically for females, because that hasn’t been done time and time again, right? But this isn’t my only problem with the pejorative term. Urban Dictionary defines “basic bitch” as “A bum-ass woman who thinks she’s the shit, but she really ain’t.” The meaning stretches far longer than this. It most importantly aims to categorize women for the clothes they choose to wear, what they choose to drink and what they choose to do with their time. The origins of the term are unknown, but it has been tossed around for a while (since about 2009), really only rising in popularity within the last couple years, thanks to social media spheres such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. The projection or popularization of stereotypes through media is nothing new, but the fact that the term seems to be passed around as a joke is what makes it so upsetting.


We live in a society that publically dances around creating racial barriers or stepping on the toes of religious groups. Yet when it comes down to generalizing by gender, words like “slut,” “whore” or “basic bitch” roll off the tongue as if they aren’t offensive, but instead endearing. And these are not terms shared only between opposite genders, but among girlfriends, or guy friend to guy friend. But do those who freely poke fun at “basic bitches” even know what it means or what the term is doing?   

Derogatory categorization of females, or anyone for that matter, because of who they chose to be is just not okay. On Urban Dictionary, under “Words Related to Basic Bitch” there are terms listed in the following order, “bitch, whore, basic, ratchet, bad, lame, slut, Starbucks, fake.” All these words do nothing but shame a girl for how she autonomously decides to live her life. How does one person even encompass all of these terms at once? A slut, a bitch and a lover of Starbucks? What doesn’t make sense to me is that because a person might choose to wear certain clothing or act a certain way they deserve to be lauded or considered “lesser” than those who are mocking them. It is frightening to me the way pejorative and demoralizing terms such as “basic bitch” are made to seem funny or get tossed around when it’s just a way to hate. Suddenly, a female is a certain type of female if she is a “basic bitch,” just as she is a certain type of female if she is a “slut.” The reality is, yes, we live in a world that will always categorize others, but that doesn’t mean terms like “basic bitch” are okay, and it doesn’t mean that they have to continue to exist either.

I beg you, people of the universe, before you send that Snapchat to your friend mocking a group of women, or write a funny tweet about you or your friend being “so basic,” just think about what it means and what it is doing. Because as it turns out, being thought of as lesser because of who you choose to be just sucks.

1 Comment

  1. I believe that the problem does not extend to just one or a handful of words, but to our vocabulary as a society. The fact that the word “ratchet” can come close to meaning anything besides a wrench or a wheel that only allows motion in one direction is abhorrent to me. When a person constantly says something was “mad X” or “mad Y,” they are purposely and voluntarily limiting their vocabulary to a few words that don’t carry the same meaning as other words. For example, saying “It’s mad rainy” does not come close to carrying the same weight as “There is a torrential downpour outside.” The more our language becomes bastardized and simplified, we lose more meaning, weight, and coherence to what we say. It’s as if we, as a society, don’t want to be taken seriously when we speak to others.

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