OPINION: We hate the basic girl because we are her

Kat Hurd enjoys a cup of tea at the new Public Hall coffee house in Aggieville, Sunday afternoon. (Kate Torline | Collegian Media Group)

It’s October, which means social media has released a cacophonous, collective groan over the “basic girl.” We all know her crimes. She posts a picture of her drink on Instagram, she tweets about how she loves sweater weather, she drinks out of a Hydroflask and she wears her hair in a scrunchie.

Honestly, it seems like there’s nothing that people love more than to make fun of the basic girl. I should know, I’ve done it too. She’s young, and because of that, we assume she’s stupid. We’re not like her, not at all. There are very few of us who haven’t mocked her. It’s really easy to make jokes about the basic girl because she’s everywhere.

What isn’t as easy is admitting we share some of her interests. Cliches are cliches for a reason, and that’s because they’re genuinely good things. They’re so universally liked, that eventually it becomes fashionable to dislike them.

There’s a sense of shame that builds when you make fun of someone for the things that they like. People start to hide bits of themselves, call the things they genuinely enjoy ‘guilty pleasures,’ whether it’s a corny movie or a popular joke. A bit of their joy is taken away.

Our distaste for the basic girl affects men just as much as women. Guys are afraid that their masculinity is threatened if they get a pedicure, or wear a shirt with flowers, or order a latte because it’s something that the basic girl would do, and it’s ridiculous.

I’m not blameless in this. I made fun of her for so long, eager to distance myself from the butt of the joke, that I never really questioned it until I got older, until I realized there are so few things that make me feel uncomplicated joy. Pretending to hate those things reduced that number even more.

I was so worried about being accepted that I didn’t realize the acceptance of my peers wasn’t worth the joy I lost in the process.

So here’s to the basic girl. Here’s to pop music and pumpkin spice lattes. Here’s to sweater weather and TikTok. Here’s to the things that make you happy, even if you think they make someone else cringe. If we let up the pressure on the basic girl, and on ourselves, maybe we can make life a little bit easier, even if just for a little while.

Leah Zimmerli is the community desk co-editor and a junior in journalism and political science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Hi there! I’m Leah Zimmerli, community desk co-editor, relentless optimist, and lover of big and small dogs. I’m a junior in political science and journalism from Overland Park, Kansas. I hope to bring you pieces that challenge you, that broaden your mindset, and help you learn more about your K-State community.