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In Defense of Fall

In Defense of Fall

I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m pretty basic. I’m a Pinterest master. I can talk through the Kardashian family tree. And most of all, I LOVE fall. I love leaves and pumpkin patches and hay rides and scarves that suffocate my face. Although changing leaves and candy corn makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I feel like it’s a guilty pleasure. Like I’m somehow dumber talking about apple cider. Fall is basic, and basic girls are stupid and shallow…right? I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve rolled my eyes at other women in public. I’ve immediately judged their character and intelligence on nothing more than their Michael Kors watch and Tory Burch flats. But I’m saying here and now that I’m done, we’ve had enough. Women don’t need to be ashamed to love the things they love or try to hide the things that make them happy. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING BASIC!

We’ve all been there. You’re in line with a friend at Starbucks and she orders a pumpkin spice latte or out at the bar and orders a Strongbow. She turns to you shamefaced and say, “…Sorry I know, it’s so basic”, like she’s admitting a predilection for something terrible. Why? Why do we beat ourselves up for loving something so simple?

 Growing into adulthood, I’ve let myself enjoy the simple pleasures a little more. A bag of candy corn. A Bravo Marathon. A pumpkin cupcake. A plaid scarf. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with these things individually, but they carry a connotation that I’ve worked so hard to avoid.

In middle school, I tried desperately to be like everyone else. I wanted to be skinny and athletic with shiny stick-straight hair. I sometimes wished that I didn’t love to read so much, that I didn’t care so much about my grades, that I wasn’t fascinated by history and literature. In high school, I discovered my personhood. All the things I used to hate about myself actually made me super rad (I also discovered Bumble and Bumble curl creme, which was a total game changer). With the memories of middle school bullies ringing in my ears, I refused to buy into anything endorsed by the “popular crowd”. I think that’s really where the instant judgment developed. It’s easier to dismiss than to understand.

 Growing into adulthood, I’ve let myself enjoy the simple pleasures a little more. A bag of candy corn. A Bravo Marathon. A pumpkin cupcake. A plaid scarf. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with these things individually, but they carry a connotation that I’ve worked so hard to avoid.

So does loving these things that put me in the category of “basic white girl” mean that I’m giving in to the Plastics? Am I giving up my uniqueness just by enjoying things that other people like? Absolutely not. There’s a trend among us millennials to be as idiosyncratic as possible. The weirder and more off the wall our interests, the more intelligent and superior we feel. You know what though? No one is saying you can’t have both! You can read your New Yorker and have your Nora Roberts too!

I recently went to a Dixie Chicks concert, which admittedly is a pretty basic white girl activity (even though the Dixie Chicks are badasses and the concert was amazing). Standing in that concert, singing and laughing with a couple thousand other basic bitches, I remembered high school sing alongs and our far away home towns…I’m so glad we were all able to love and feel all together. I didn’t know many of them (2 out of 17,000), but I felt empowered by them. The power of shared experience and memory is one of the things that makes being a woman so undeniably wonderful. When you belittle the “basic” and the “girly”, you teach the women around you to hide the things that connect them. Don’t deny yourself the experience of crying alongside a friend during One Tree Hill or crafting the perfect pumpkin patch Instagram.  

As women, we are constantly told that we have to bend over backwards to even be considered sort of equal. Stop! Give yourself a break! We are complex women with varied interests and hopes and desires and sometimes we just want to be a little basic! If you want to pull up your riding boots and watch Hocus Pocus until your eyes bleed, then goddamn do it!

And then there’s this whole issue of “girl” stuff somehow being less. Less valid. Less intelligent. Less worthwhile. Something you have to confess in whispers because people will suddenly find you less interesting. First of all, I maintain that many of the stereotypically “manly” pastimes are just as basic as the Real Housewives. I mean…have you ever watched daytime Sports Center? For some reason, there’s nothing wrong with the things that men like to do to kick back and relax. It’s only women who feel like they have to hide their pumpkin bread in the dark. Well guess what? I speak three languages. And fucking I love my J Crew herringbone vest! Let me live! I know I’m a smart cookie, but it’s completely exhausting to try to do “important” and “stimulating” and “adult” things all the time. As women, we are constantly told that we have to bend over backwards to even be considered sort of equal. Stop! Give yourself a break! We are complex women with varied interests and hopes and desires and sometimes we just want to be a little basic! If you want to pull up your riding boots and watch Hocus Pocus until your eyes bleed, then goddamn do it!

Encourage your lady compatriots to love what they love without judgment or scorn. The power of women bonding together is infectious and amazing, whether it be over equal pay or your pumpkin woods candle. Let fall reign in all its basic glory and take the afternoon to traipse in the leaves. The serious stuff can wait. 

Things I found out the hard way in 2016

Things I found out the hard way in 2016

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