If you are anywhere between the ages of 12 and 25, you’ve likely heard of the term “basic.” It’s exact meaning is unclear, but the word is used to describe anything stereotypical and expected, especially in regards to teenage girls.*
“Basic” has developed into a cultural phenomena: a lifestyle that is both strived after and avoided at all costs.
Recently, I was reading a post from the lovely MyLifeOnline**, in which she lists all of the characteristics considered “basic.” The post is extremely accurate: including the general “breathing” as well as the oddly specific “use mason jars.”
After reading the post, I was again reminded of how much the concept of “basic-ness” plays a role in my life.
As a teenage girl myself, I regularly hear comments like: “that person’s too basic,” “you’re so basic,” “I like basic clothing, etc.”
And I always wonder: Why does this concept exist in our culture?
I’m not entirely sure why, but I do have a personal theory that I would like to share.Teenage years are chaotic and messy, full of fitting in and falling out. Interests change, hormones change; people begin to realize who and what they are. Above all, there is the underlying idea of the “status quo” –what is expected in society.
The choice to adhere to or challenge the status quo ultimately defines a person during this time of their life. Many teenagers like rebelling, both to express their true selves themselves or just to be different. (It’s not a phase Mom!!) However, there’s also the mold of trying to fit in; taking comfort in the security of societal expectations.
I believe that the concept of “basic-ness” is a manifestation of this theme. To be basic is to fit in with the cultural status quo (right now that’s something along the lines “artsy-aesthetic-tumblr.”) People both identify with and shun the “basic” lifestyle.
On the surface, “basic” appears only to be a facet of teenage culture. However, it reflects much more complex aspects of adolescence and society.
Well, that’s my idea. 🙂
Now it’s my turn to ask you. What do you think? How does “basic-ness” affect you personally?