Since my favorite time of year is upon us once again, I would like to refer you to this BuzzFeed article that I stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago. Before you roll your eyes and exit your browser, please just hear me out.
When the stereotype of a basic white girl first hit the Internet, I thought it was hilarious. I made fun of the typical white girl just like everyone else—and had fun doing it. Finally, one day, I read something on Urban Dictionary about what a basic white girl is and does and realized that I nailed it. I absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one. I own an absurd amount of leggings, can’t go a week without Starbucks, and I Instagram every remotely interesting thing that I do. So at this point, I decided to do what I do best and started making fun of myself. I figured this was better than projecting this stereotype onto other girls, right?
After awhile, it got old. I was tired of all the comments. People love to point out all of the characteristics of a common white girl in her “natural habitat.” I just wanted to enjoy my coffee in peace without hearing about how basic I looked holding my iPhone in one hand and my Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte in the other. I was sick of it.
At this point you’re probably wondering why a privileged, educated white girl just spent so much time whining about being stereotyped. I can promise you that I understand that my problem here is barely a problem at all. There are far worse stereotypes out there, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m lucky that this is the extent to which I’m stereotyped.
A couple of months into my senior year, my best friend (who is the exact opposite of basic and is actually quite hip—but don’t tell them I said that) was approached and told that our friendship was so unexpected because I’m so “basic” and they’re so “not.” When they told me about this, I became flustered and immediately started protesting. “I know but I do have some interests that aren’t typical and stuff—” I remember that they cut me off and said, “You’ve defended yourself about this so many times, but you don’t have to tell me that. I know who you are.”
And that’s a good point. I know who I am too. As much as I love Starbucks and leggings, I love politics and books more. I like Instagram because it’s a chance for me for be slightly creative every once and awhile. There are many things about me that would surprise people because they don’t exactly fit on the list of characteristics of the basic white girl. I wish that it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realize that I don’t have to be confined by the categories people put me in.
I’m not complaining just to complain here. I think it’s important to draw attention to the fact that we’re not doing anyone any favors when we make assumptions and stereotype people. If we continue to perpetuate stereotypes, we’re only teaching people to be ashamed of what they like, where they’re from, and who they are. And these are all things that everyone should be proud of. If this small insult impacted me as much as it did, imagine what it does to someone whose beliefs or background is constantly generalized. I don’t want to cringe with embarrassment and shame anymore, and I don’t want anyone to have to either. In my last blog post I wrote that the number one thing I wish I would’ve been told before college is to be nicer. Since arriving at Butler, I’ve been searching for ways to change my behavior and become a better person. Even though they’ve been telling us since the elementary school not to judge people, it finally hit home that making assumptions about others has negative impacts on absolutely everyone. I finally realized that nobody deserves to be treated as if they’re just a part of a category. Keep that in mind.
That’s all for now.