As the light, crisp air billows around us, the smell of a summer forgotten in the wind, we shiver with anticipation of what the new season will bring. Fall; a time for jumping into large piles of crunchy yellow and red leaves, pumpkin carving, football games, candy corn, and hayrides. At least, that’s a part of it. As soon as October hits, people break out the UGG boots, black leggings, flannel shirts, and, of course the staple of autumn, the pumpkin spice everything. This stereotype, this inaptly named pigeonhole, is a name I’m sure all of us hold near and dear to our hearts: the basic white girl.
If you like looking for fall hair colors on Pinterest and staying stocked up on pumpkin scented candles, body washes, and lotions from Bath and Body Works, you’re probably a basic white girl. If you coordinate Halloween outfits with your friends, you’re probably a basic white girl. If you wear a NFL football jersey but have never watched a game a day in your life, you’re probably a basic white girl. If you take pictures in a pumpkin patch and post them to Instagram with a nice Valencia filter, you’re probably a basic white girl. If you see the words ‘Pumpkin Spice’ in front of any foodstuff and feel a type of pleasure you have not felt since you were a six year old on Christmas morning, you’re probably a basic white girl.
This is what we, as young females, are told. That if we like to take part in these types of fall-specific activities, we are ‘basic.’ Basic: a word that has the connotations of being rudimentary, plain and simple, and uncomplicated. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting a teenage to early twenty’s girl knows for a fact that the last thing we are is uncomplicated. We are given a hard time simply because of the things we enjoy, things that make us happy. And one thing I will never understand is society’s fight to make fun of or mock something that makes someone else happy.
We – young females of all races, all shapes and sizes, all backgrounds – are called basic if we take pleasure in even one of five actions mentioned above, as if to say we are not special at all. As if we are all the same type of people who like the same things all the time. Yes, I know that is not what people – adults, young men, and other young women – necessarily mean when they hit you with the label ‘basic white girl’ but they forget one tiny detail.
They are also basic girls.
Last time I checked, Starbucks allows anyone to purchase a pumpkin spice latte, not just young females. Anyone can watch and quote the entirety of Mean Girls and Legally Blonde. Anyone can whip and nae nae - even if they really have no business doing it.Anyone can have a bonfire on a chilly, autumn night. And they do. Even boys have begun taking part in the basic white girl stereotype, though they might even go so far as to take offense to the title; the title they have so thrown on to the young female population.
No, at the end of the day, we as young ladies do not care about the stereotype. We will continue to drink our apple cider with our names spelled wrong on the side of the cups and strut in our leggings and riding boots with pride. But to say that we are all the same – not just young Caucasian females, but all young females in our generation – is somewhat of a corruption. Some of us prefer haunted houses to hayrides, and some of us are allergic to pumpkin. We are vibrant, unique young women in the best time of our lives and we should not ever be made to feel as though we are not special in our own way; as though we just fade into the background, because we don’t. We live in a time of great expression, where we are given the tools, the technology, and the opportunity to be whomever we want to be if we seize it. Because of that, the last thing we should ever do is take a second glance at the Starbucks menu when we all know what we want: a trenta mocha frappucino extra whip. That may make us the stereotype, but young women are never ‘basic.’