Sylvia Plath Was Saying “Basic” Way Before You Were Drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes At The Mall
One of 2015’s most popular slang terms may be more literary than we thought; a tweet has just revealed that Sylvia Plath used the word “basic” back before Pumpkin Spice Lattes were even invented. This makes total sense. The tragic, talented, and complicated Plath was anything but “basic” — but if she caught you crying over One Direction, she probably would have rolled her eyes and called you exactly that.
It was Twitter user Alana Massey who first noticed the term “basic” in Plath’s personal diaries — and freaked out. This is what she discovered: back in the 1950s, two decades before Starbucks started serving up any kind of latte, Plath was at a party with a load of “good-looking vacuums and shallow socialites.” So she tried “to be basic” — and an idiom was born.
In 2015, the term “basic bitch” is basically what white girls call each other after they confess their Diet Coke addiction, but the term has a history that’s largely been ignored. Writer Madeleine Davies admitted to Jezebel that her use of “basic bitch” may be cultural appropriation, as the term was actually made popular through its use in hip hop over the last five years. So before we take ownership of the term, we should respect its roots — and we now know that its history goes even deeper than we knew. Sylvia Plath was calling people “basic” decades ago.
Images: Marco Simões/Flickr; Wifflegif