My reaction to “The Nature of the Basic Bitch”

Hoodwinked Films, a comedy team from Vancouver has created a video called “The Nature of the Basic Bitch.” It’s funny and all, but is extremely insensitive to women who may relate to the persona they’re mocking. Not to mention, the video continues to enforce traditional gender roles – depicting women as objects and unequal to men.

Watch the video first and then read my commentary, below. Leave a reply and let us know what your thoughts are.

The Commentary:

– “The Nature of the Basic Bitch” compares a woman to an animal, dehumanizing them, showing they are not equal to what a standard person would be (i.e. a male).

– The first classification of a woman other than an animal the comedy filmmakers give: She is beautiful. The four minute and 55 second video focuses entirely on how the “basic bitch” is so into her own appearance…and nothing else. Thus, this person they are dehumanizing cannot be smart or intelligent or attempt to get anything done in her life, because she’s too focused on her selfies. And duck face.

– Obviously, this woman has such little self-esteem! So, she needs to get 11 likes on her Instagram photo ASAP to feel any real satisfaction with herself. Even someone who is pretty “Plane Jane” does have other hobbies besides taking selfies or saying the word, “Literally.” This video just takes gender stereotypes to a whole new level of awful. I thought we were making progress here?

– Why is the space in which this woman lives considered “the wild?” And why does it matter if this woman wants to change her clothes a few times before heading out? Sarcastically, this video mocks how a woman might feel uncomfortable in her own skin because of society’s standards on feminine beauty – something this video is not doing anything to help eradicate, either.

– Basically, a basic bitch only cares about three things: Her bestie, Grey’s Anatomy and her appearance. She doesn’t care about school or work or family or having a child one day or her favourite book or learning how to write poetry or becoming a doctor. Why’s that? This image of a basic bitch hasn’t been constructed by the person – on which this video places the blame of this character and persona – but it has been created by society. This video amplifies that.

– Apparently, basic bitches just dress up as cats on October 31 (as per this case study, I must also be a basic bitch, since I love to dress up as cats during Halloween…even though I have a degree, a diploma and a certificate as well as a full-time career), apparently basic bitches just cry all the time after a night of too many drinks and apparently basic bitches also puke because they can’t control their alcohol consumption. All these three characteristics of this woman portrayed in the video show that women basically have no intelligence or creative abilities, they are dependent on alcohol, they are extremely sensitive and cannot party hard or control their liquor because they’re weak and unable to function alone.

– Overposting on Instagram can be a problem – #SOCIALMEDIAABUSE! With that said, though, if a woman wants to post five pictures of her nail art or five pictures of her final grades showing how intelligent she is, what’s it to you? Let her be herself and express herself. If she’s proud of her lipstick or proud of a journal article she has had published, let her be proud and share it with the world.

– You can be classy and still like the poop emoji. Women poop. Even classy women.

– “If she tells another female she hates them, it’s probably because she thinks they’re beautiful.” As Beyoncé emphasizes in her song Flawless, we always tell women to be competitive for the attention of men, but not for jobs or for accomplishments.

– “She almost never uses the word [literally] in its correct form.” Oh, so now people who enjoy exaggerating or being overly enthusiastic are also stupid and incapable of basic comprehension?

– Why is everyone always hating on Taylor Swift and people who like her? Clearly, the woman can sell a record.

– “She has a full emotional breakdown every time she sees the Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial.” Is this a bad thing? I’m certain the commercial was made to pull at the heart strings. It’s also not as if men or people who identify with other genders don’t cry when this commercial is on.

– Cute cat videos are the only thing a dumb girl like this could be interested in, I guess? And of course, the basic bitch loves to shop – because all girls love to shop? #INACCURATEREPRESENTATIONOFWOMEN

– “Ninety per cent of her sexual encounters are a direct result of this place,” the host of the video says as he stands in front of a liquor store – portraying the mediocre/basic young adult woman as someone who has no control of her sex life. Should I leave the correlation between society’s gender standards and appropriation of power to unequal power distribution in all relationships for another blog post?

Whether for the purpose of making people laugh, poking fun or joking around, Vancouver comedy team Hoodwinked Films has some serious making up to do. Thousands of people are going to watch this video and be pulled even further into gender stereotypes because if a mainstream video like this (though satirical and comedic) can emerge, it gives off a vibe that its content must be somewhat true.

Instead, media makers need to start creating content that is not a sole representation of gender differences, but also gender similarities – of which there are actually more. We need to stop blaming women for being emotional, sincere or nurturing and we need to continue to encourage women to feel comfortable in their skin and express their smarts in whatever avenue they see fit. We can’t keep depicting women of different personas as dumb. It isn’t going to do any good.

What are your thoughts? What can we do to challenge thoughts on gender stereotypes?

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2 Comments

  1. I think this video definitely intended to be satire, but I think there is a lot of room for discussion and social commentary. It was great to get your feminist perspective on the “Basic Bitch”. I think initially the “Basic Bitch” term has developed as a response to growing “Hipster” trends and views. Culture vs. anti-culture.

    I’ve also seen “Basic Bitch” used positively amongst self-identifying basic bitches as a term of endearment, which I think is great – it’s always nice to see a negative turned into a positive. Coming from a place of first world entitlement and privilege, it is also interesting to see what the basic bitch adopts, accepts and buys into as many of these stereotypes double as successful strategic marketing, public relations and corporate business plans.

    Like

    1. Hi, again!

      Thanks for your comment :). Always great to have your feedback. We apologize for the delay in replying. After the holidays, which were full of food and fun, we’ve received a lot of great notes and are taking some time this month to reply to each one.

      Yes, it’s very clear this video was made to be satirical and we agree – there are a lot of positive representations of the “Basic Bitch,” as well. You’re right when you say the “Basic Bitch” concept has definitely become a stereotype that marketers and businesses use to sell their messaging and/or products.

      Though Hoodwinked was poking fun at the “Basic Bitch” we may see in line at Starbucks wearing Uggs, we’ve decided to act as the feminist devil’s advocate. You and I may know it’s satirical and can poke fun at it, but if we don’t ask questions about how media like this portrays a certain “type” of woman, then others may not ask those questions, either!

      Happy New Year!

      Stop by again soon!
      L

      Like

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