PSL Season: A Time to Check Yo Privilege and Stereotypes

Now that it’s fall, it’s officially the time for pumpkin spice everything, and with that comes an abundance of misused stereotypes. The term “basic white girl” annoys me year round, but the seasonal resurgence of privilege grinds my gears, and I gotta let it out.

Urban Dictionary of a Basic White Girl: A female who conforms to her surroundings and claims she is unique. She often drinks Starbucks, wears Ugg boots in August, and posts selfies on social networking sites every. single. day. Also uses hashtags that don’t have anything to do with the picture itself.

Last year, Starbucks generated $21.3 billion in sales. Don’t try to tell me that young, white girls are responsible for all of that. The Uggs example is outdated. And social media and hashtags? LOL that is a worldwide phenomenon doN’T GET ME STARTED.

Other than blatantly wrong stereotypes, there’s a larger issue. I get that a “basic white girl” refers to a teenage/early college student with Daddy’s money that allows her to wear all of current trends and be oblivious to the world other than pop culture. However, the overgeneralized use of this term looks an awful lot like racism.

A few weeks ago, I attended a book exchange. Secret Santa style, everyone shared a book of their choice. One person brought White Girl Problems. I did a quick scan to double check that yes, there were ~30% guys in attendance and there were multiple races of girls. Did she really think this through?

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

If you live/work in a privileged, white setting where the only people you see drinking Starbucks and wearing trendy brands, then yes, you probably associate it with “white girl-ness.” However, outside of your sheltered bubble, there are millions of other people drinking Starbucks who are also in touch with pop culture. Just because your community does not contain diversity that can afford such luxuries or simply does not contain diversity, that does not mean that those behaviors are exclusive to white girls.

I’m not trying to say that privileged white girls with disposable income can’t enjoy Starbs and their favorite pop culture trends. I’m saying that we shouldn’t refer to all pop culture as exclusively a white girl thing.

Check yo’ privilege, and at least be accurate when using stereotypes.

++ Mary K

 

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