Why CollegeHumor’s “Basic Bitch” Skit Hit a (Pop) Cultural Nerve

You know, we never really discussed the actuality that men can be just as “basic” in their interests and concerns as women right? Truthfully, if we are going to take this dissection of the mean term a “basic bitch” so seriously, we might as well break down why CollegeHumor’s “How to Tell if You’re a Basic Bitch” was such a hit and touched a cultural nerve.

In viewing the skit, I found the original commentary pretty hilarious and insightful on how popular culture has a tendency to take the most shallow attributes way too seriously. A “basic bitch” is basically the opposite of being a “bad bitch” and both terms are degrading on women since it’s merely based on looks and, basically, nothing else. No woman has ever been called a “bad bitch” because of her articulate disposition and love for science. The term has always been used from a superficial standpoint. There’s no need to deny that physical attraction plays a major part in our initial gravitation to someone in the first place, but if your only defense was ever being titled a “bad bitch” you might as well be a prop. Stay pretty to look at, but please, according to your “bad bitch” master, stay inanimate. The CollegeHumor skit also went on to hint on the banal interests basic women, and that they often had and were more than happy to share their first world problems with anyone that would listen as mini tragedies. I suppose the only problem for a bad bitch is keeping up appearances, yet in both cases sound exhausting and why do we feed into it? So far, we’ve gathered that basic bitches are loquacious people pleasers and bad bitches obtain little substance and are also people pleasers, with maybe a slighter higher sense of obvious style (ocassionally).

The CH video seemed popular from the jump, but it was The Cut’s (the fashion and love division of New York Magazine) very unnecessary brief history of the term, that pushed the term and skit closer to being officially adopted into the white, mainstream popular platform. The piece was lambasted for its research however as they choose to include very white-washed credentials and no mentioning of…let’s say “urban”, “hip-hop” or “street” culture in where both derorgatoy terms of “bitches” have been heard regularly in passing and music. Not that individuals of these cultures should be proud of this one, but hey, if Ice-T said it first, can he get a shout-out?

As always in Internet-land, the think pieces soon followed. Black women sites denounced The Cut’s article, with The Clutch even adding if white people suddenly wanted to keep this one aspect of black culture, they can keep it. VICE defended the basic bitch, and StyleBlazer asked, why do we suddenly care about this. Good question. In black American circles, the term is old school and while often said in a joking manner, CollegeHumor’s mildly brilliant take on why is it so important to be a “bitch” regarding how “basic” or “bad” you are, is just another detrimental factoid women everywhere do not need to be bothered with. Does being one or the other get you further in life?

Now about men being basic…I brought this up because there was such an emphasis on women being average or under Svengali expectancies of being perpetually sexual, alluring, and oddly enough, docile, when it comes to men being basic, there is a shortlist, and it’s been compiled through various conversations I’ve had and heard and they include:

  • being obsessed with Air Jordans
  • being matchy-matchy with your outfits (like your Jordans match your Bulls hat and your Adidas sweater. Eeeeecccch)
  • actually using the term a bad bitch
  • feeling the need to sleep with as many girls as possible
  • talking about how “great” your d-game is (aka giving yourself sexual props, like obsessed with yourself much?)
  • using 6 “gift card” credit card to make purchases in one store
  • trying to clown another for wanting to do something with their life because you’re too narcissitic, embarrased, chicken shit, or negative to follow your own dreams.

Basic bitches. Basic douches. And the funniest part is that we all have a little bit of basic in us. I educate myself by going on The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and The Root regularly, but then I’ll promptly visit salacious gossip sites Bossip right after as if it was my necessary intake of WSJ soundbites. CollegeHumor’s input was great because we’re all guilty of little or very basic sometimes.

Basic bitches may be predictable in their love for LC and the only Nicki Minaj song they know by heart is “Super Bass” as they claim Miley Cyrus is everything, but at least they’re being themselves. I mean what’s worse? Loving Starbuck ventis and raving about it or essentially just being an Instagram model that ain’t never gonna walk a runway, not even during LA Fashion Week.

And being a bad bitch can be just as tacky. Be honest. It can be. There’s something very plastic about being a bad bitch. Like something obvious and attainable about you to the contrary of being somewhat stunning. Like, no major offense here, but I’m going to use the cover girls of the one time popular (black) men’s magazine KING as a perfect example of the bad bitch arena. When you look at those covers, what do you see? Really? Sure the girls look great. Often oiled up, super sexy, seductive, coequettish, often in lascivious lingerie, but it’s also so supply and demand in pleasing a demographic with such obvious imagery. Do these women particulary come across special however, at all? I mean, KING even maganed to make Tyra Banks and Janet Jackson, despite their abs, butts, and curves on display appear regular, expected, and what else is new about them. It seems so corny, but when a women is truly beautiful, and even better from the inside, she can’t be given the term a bad bitch. She’s too innately original to be labeled such a catering term. A bad bitch is just a basic bitch with a better understanding of lighting, contouring, and a fondness for super tight, body-con, borderline see-through clothes on a constant basis for the attention. Just look at Janet on the cover of KING. Bra exposed, sexy pose…yes, she had her bra exposed in her video for ’98’s “I Get Lonely”, but what made the imagery there less cheesecake was its evident vulnerability and attempt at artistic erocitcism. Here KING made her look standard.

KING, and for white people MAXIM, became the catalysts of black and white beauty that still affects women’s self-esteem today. Don’t got a fat ass? Better get one somehow. Don’t got big breasts? Better save up hunty. Not slender? Oh well…

KING used to defend itself by saying they were embracing their women’s beauty which the media doesn’t do enough. Hey, that’s great! But why is a celebration of black women, or women in general, so marginalized and sexualied? They were no sistas of doctorates or scientific backgrounds in KING. Don’t they deserve accolades for their beauty as well. No? Well, maybe KING wouldn’t be the right place anyway for them (paging Black Enterprise), but hopefully you get what I’m suggesting.

And let me just say that there is nothing wrong with being sexy or switching it up to be so. Wanting to showcase that side is a part of our complexities as humans to get all Darwin, Freund, or Kinsey about it, but who wants to be sexy on someone else’s terms? And as far as being a basic bitch goes, that’s just kindergarten bullying, but I’ll be lying if I never used the term, and I probably should stop. It’s the kind of thing we say to make ourselves feel better. Like, even if someone’s aspirations seems smaller than yours, if they are comfortable with that, who really cares. Thus in looking up the guidelines of basis vs. bad will make you doubt yourself soon after. Hey, I was watching the lackluster romantic comedy Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! the other night. Gasp! Am I “basic”? Oh, and I love Sex and The City, what does that say about me????

Oh, that I appreciate amazing television writing. I’m sorry, NOT SORRY.

THE END.

P.S.

Below are three excerpts from the controversial dating site, BGAE, and its main writer NC-17 offered his thoughts on three separate posts on what being a basic B is and what they do. I included it because theories of the basic bitch have been shared long before The Cut discovered another choice vernacular of the hip-hop nation. Prepared to get graphically schooled:

If you’re going to the usual local places, bar, club, etc… you’re asking for trouble. You know who goes to these places looking to exchange numbers? Basic Bitches.Basic Bitches frequent Basic spots. That’s a part of what makes them Basic. The inability to expand is a quality Basic Bitches cling on to. You see the Basic Bitch is like the Native American. The Native Americans settled this continent, then said fuck it, “We’re good”. They had no desire to sail into the void and see what was out there, so all of their advancements went to waste and they let European douche bags come over and house their red asses. 

Basic Bitches are worse than ratchets because they are arrogant for no reason, their confidence doesn’t come from who she is, it comes from who she thinks she is. Basic Bitches are in denial, they’re like Natalie Nunn screaming, “I run LA“, clinging to some notion that she’s a celebrity because she can get into a club for free.

This isn’t 1941, there are powerful women that any young lady could look up to and use as a blueprint, yet they are so paralyzed by Spinal Basic-itous, that they refuse to go the Oprah route. You know why “Girls (We Run The World)” flopped yet a song about a man putting a ring on your finger was a smash hit? Basic women would rather feel empowered by a man making her his possession than believing that women can do anything on their own. If it was called “Girls (We Phat ta’ Death)” that shit would have crushed the charts. Basic Bitches support basic concepts and aspire to be like that baldhead chick who fucks rappers. This is the world we live in.

 

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