But not before one friend looked at me and said, “What? Why do you follow Kim Kardashian? I didn’t know you were one of those girls.”
I laughed, “What do you mean?”
He smiled, but condescendingly responded, “I don’t know, so basic.”
Maybe I am just too used to hearing it, but the fact that the remark was coming from him made it seem like it was no big deal. So what if a boy laughs at the fact that I literally follow all five Kardashian sisters on Instagram? I wouldn’t expect them to get it, and to be fair, I don’t understand the stereotypical male obsession with sports or beer either.
The problem really arose when I was sitting in class with my girl friend, casually sipping a pumpkin spice latte. “What are you drinking?” she asked.
“A pumpkin spice latte –”
“Oh my goodness!” she laughed, “that’s so surprising coming from you! I didn’t know you were so basic.”
There was that word again – basic. Instantly, I began to take a hard look at myself. Am I nothing more than just a basic girl with no depth or interest?
If you find me in my free time, I might be listening to a Nicki Minaj song or watching makeup tutorials. You also may catch me listening to podcasts, the new Mick Jenkins album, or, discussing my love of neuroscience and biology. But none of these individualistic interests matter because with my freshly bleached highlights and mascara on, I am seen as no more than a foolish girl obsessed with Instagram and selfies.
I always felt fake in my presentation to others. When people would say things to me like “You are so smart” or “You are so intelligent,” they were imagining me as the girl with the glasses on in the front of the classroom answering all of the teacher’s questions. They didn’t know how I was also going to go home and watch the new Fifth Harmony music video. How can I be seen as a professional, “smart young lady” when I’m wearing a pink dress and winged eyeliner?
For a girl to fit into the stereotypical “girl” category is frowned upon; girls shouldn’t want to be happy being girls! The term, “the boys” however is used by groups of men strongly and proudly as they declare their right to “man-caves” and a “night with the boys.” I myself believed that in order to be taken seriously, I was supposed to do all the things the “boys do.” But we as girls can bleach our hair, wear big bows, and sip our PSL’s in the fall. To call us dumb, ditzy, or basic for this is to devalue the happiness we feel when we are ourselves.
Images courtesy of Randee Dawn and Kate Carraway