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How Long Will Basic Girls be the Villain?

Today Emma Chamberlain holds the crown as ruler of the relatable teen Youtubers. Although, before Emma was filming fast, funny vlogs discussing coffee, spinning classes, and the best thrifting spots, there were the queens of DIY room decor and boyfriend tags; Bethany Mota, Eva Gutowski (mylifeaseva), Alisha Marie, Meredith Foster, and Teala Dunn. There are a dozen more creators I can add to this list that supplied the pre-teen and teenage race of the late 2010’s with reality vs expectation skits, how to survive high school guides, Black Friday hauls, and more. In a generation where trends change by the second, audiences of this genre of content were chasing the new cool aesthetic these creators defined.

These Youtubers at the time often embraced that the aesthetic they were promoting was deemed “basic” and soon, girls from 11-19 were fighting to fit the mold of the basic white girl.

Guides titled “how to be a basic white girl” featured the Starbucks drink orders, lunch spots, songs, instagram feeds, makeup, hair styles, wardrobe, and commonly used sayings the basic white girl aesthetic encompassed.

Conforming was the goal then, and the best thing anyone could say about you was deeming you “that basic girl”.

As social media gained more power and lost its previous casualty, this mindset shifted.

Emma Chamberlin, Ellie Thumann, Summer Mckeen, Best Dressed (aka Ashley), and Hannah entered the scene with new niches pushing different agendas. Thrifting became a popular phenomenon amongst teenage girls. The goal became to find the most unique pieces that nobody else would have, and present yourself as sustainable and “woke”, traits that perhaps other basic teen girls couldn't claim to have. Youtube became less performative and more “real”, creators posting sit down vlogs where taboo subjects were discussed and audiences were no longer just viewers but friends of the creators. Even if this candidness was staged, it promoted the notion that being mainstream was now uncool.

Today, Tiktok has changed the speed of trends and the need for consistency in style to an extremely rapid rate. Songs that were underground two weeks ago have millions of videos under their sound on Tiktok. The zebra tank you bought from Shein just 6 months ago is in the garbage, making room for a whole new set of fast fashion styles to adopt.

You know you’ve failed if someone comments “so basic” or “cringe”. Those words are interchangeable with “you are unoriginal.”

A few months ago, I posted a video project on my youtube channel. A commenter replied the following in regards to my use of the song Apocalypse by Cigarettes After Sex in my video:

To this commenter, the song I had chosen to use was basic, therefore decreasing the quality of my work. The power of being unoriginal has grown exponentially over the last 5 years. Although being unoriginal has been frowned upon since the beginning of time, to what parameters do we define originality, and what is so inherently wrong with conforming?

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