In Defense of the Basic Girl

Caroline Molloy

Most teenagers in the 21st century are familiar with the term “basic _______ girl”. You can add any descriptor you please in the blank. It all insinuates
the same thing: a girl who has no identity of her own and blindly follows the trends. A “Basic Girl” today has a hydro flask covered in trendy stickers, a Kanken backpack, and a scrunchie addiction. The term is intended to shame girls for enjoying products that have been specifically marketed to them.

An example of this bias is the hate the Twilight series received. It is clear that the Twilight books and movies are not masterpieces. The plot is second to the love triangle and the book doesn’t exactly have an empowering female role model. Nevertheless the series became a hit among teenage girls. What transformed the “Twilight series into the pop culture phenomenon was the backlash it received when it was first released.

The series became even more unpopular because of the fandom of mostly teenage girls. Though this demographic represented many fans of the books and
movies, female teenagers were also the demographic that hated it the most. In an effort to not be lumped in with their female counterparts, girls trashed the
series and anyone who enjoyed it.

This need to be unassociated with basic girls appears in movies (typically teen movies) where one female character tells her male counterpart, “I’m not
like other girls”. This trope is extremely damaging to the young girls watching these films, telling them that they are only worthy when a man finds you to be special. Girls are constantly reminded by society what they need to buy and who they need to be. Yet, products marketed to females are seen as lesser than products marketed to males.

Professional football is treated as a time-honored tradition, while shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” that have won multiple Golden Globes and feature a cast of intelligent, driven women, is brushed off as nothing more than a silly romance. Sports Illustrated is a prestigious magazine while fashion magazines like Cosmopolitan, which feature articles on social issues as well as fashion, are seen as women’s guilty pleasure. Products marketed to women are often depicted as overly saturated distractions.

The problem has never been girls clinging to trends in hope of finding an identity. The problem is that girls cannot enjoy TV shows, movies and brands that are marketed toward them without being shamed because of the stigma of being a “basic girl”.