You may have heard a term lately, “basic” or sometimes “basic bitch.” I’ve seen this crop up in multiple places, and I have even had friends refer to themselves as “basic.” Behaviors that are considered “basic” include buying Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, wearing Ugg boots, posting lots of selfies on Instagram, leggings, using Pinterest, shopping at Target and Forever 21, Taylor Swift, mason jars, bagels, music festivals, and countless other criteria. Does that all seem pretty normal to you? Then you’ve probably been called “basic” at some point.
The problem with “basic” is that there is nothing wrong with liking these things, and yet the term is filled with a derogatory and dismissive undertone. It implies that you are nothing of value and lumps a vast majority of women into a category of being inconsequential. “Basic” is a term that implies that the person you are deeming to be basic is not worthy of a more creative insult because they are so boring. It goes beyond just being called boring however, as it also implies apathy towards the person being called basic. I find this term particularly grating when “basic” is applied to the average geek girl.
There is no denying that being a geek is cool nowadays. Kids used to be bullied for reading comics and liking Star Trek, but now that’s the norm. This is not at all a bad thing as publishers, writers, producers, and studios are taking note and we are getting better and better content all the time. Comic convention attendance is at an all time high, with the larger cons selling out in seconds. Even our major blockbuster movies are all based on comic books.
In spite of all of this acceptance, we still have the “fake geek girl” myth. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably noticed that being a geek girl online has been hard lately. The “fake geek girl” myth is alive and well, and I know countless women who have been subjected to it. It assumes that the only reason a girl would be into anything geeky is to appear cool to the opposite sex. You can see it with how women are treated in the gaming communities. You can see it in the countless stories of abuse at cons. You can see it in the comments section of anything posted by women on a subject considered geeky.
I recently came across a t-shirt from American Nature, an independent comic, that says “Basic Bitches Buy Marvel”. It took me a few minutes to figure out why I had such a strong, immediate, objection to that statement. Marvel Comics is the largest comic book publisher in the world. A statement like that made by an independent comic implies that someone who is a “basic bitch” is also automatically a fake geek girl due to purchasing mainstream comics instead of independent presses.
Geek culture should embrace any fan of any level, even if someone never seeks out independent artists/comics and contents themselves with the mainstream publishers. These women are so much more than “basic” and are as valuable and important as someone who buys only independent comics. This type of attitude coming from independent presses is more likely to alienate women and prevent them from seeking out independent comics. Its a enough that so many independent comics are written for men by men and feature themes that do not appeal to women in the slightest, but to insult a large portion of your potential fan base is uncalled for.
So please, don’t call yourself or anyone else “basic”. It is not cute or funny, its offensive. All women have value to the community, and all women are unique and worthwhile.