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Monday, 10 July 2017

Why has it become socially acceptable to label women as 'basic bitches'?

Over the last few years, the term 'basic bitch' seems to have sprung up and somehow become a part of popular social media culture. I have seen it over and over again in various online clips and articles, even in my Facebook feed, even in articles in my favourite magazines. Can someone please explain to me how on earth is this massively insulting and derogatory term is regarded as appropriate in the media? Seriously?

So, what is a  'basic bitch' exactly? Wikipedia, interestingly, has filed 'basic bitch' in a similar category to 'airhead'  (of course!) and defines it as:

'middle class white women who predominantly like mainstream products, trends or music.'

So what does this mean? Any western woman who follows trends is somehow a bitch?   How is this acceptable?  Aren't we just consumers who are using our hard-earned wages to purchase products that have been designed, manufactured and marketed to our needs/interests?  Does that really make us 'bitches'? Honestly?

I decided to delve deeper so I tried to find out the typical habits/symptoms of a 'basic bitch'.  The Internet responded with: women who like pumpkin spiced latte, ugg boots, scented candles, reality TV, Sex and the City,  Zumba classes, sweatpants with words on the bum, star/astrological/feather tattoos, North Face clothing and Diet Coke.

Now, confession time, I can relate to some of these likes: I like Sex and the City; I think it  empowered women to be honest about their sexuality and encouraged people to be creative with fashion. I have enjoyed going to Zumba classes for over 5 years.  I have more than one tattoo with stars and I like the smell of some scented candles.  Am I 'basic'?

But here's the thing, I've never tried pumpkin spice, I don't watch TV on a regular basis or drink fizzy drinks.   However, I have a degree in two foreign languages,  I have learnt to play the violin and have taught myself piano, guitar and ukulele to varying degrees of success. I regularly enjoy a number of sports and have participated in several races and events for charity. I have been fortunate enough to travel to and live in other countries around the world.  I donate to charity and have been a vegetarian for around 11 years now.

The point I'm trying to make here is that my choices as a consumer do not completely define me, my intelligence or my creativity. I don't think I follow trends to the letter and I haven't caught myself using derogatory terms for women that do.  I would like to think that I understand that people are individuals and truly complex beings. I would hate to be labelled as just one thing when,  in reality, my skills and interests are constantly changing and evolving.

Furthermore, why is there no male equivalent? Or if there is, why is it not as prevalent in online articles? Why has it not become as popular as the term 'basic bitch'?   Let's just take a moment to address some of the choices the Internet has decided to criticise in women...

Feather tattoos (seen here on Dave Grohl, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer)
Image via Pinterest
Is he a 'basic bitch' then?

Star tattoos  (seen here on David Beckham; OBE, footballer, UNICEF Ambassador, first British footballer to play 100 UEFA Champions League games)

Image via Newsround

Sex and the City (Which, by the way, won 55 awards for costume design, acting, directing and comedy, including 7 Emmys and 8 Golden Globes.)

The series featured some notable male talents:

Mikhail Baryshnikov ( often named as one of the greatest male ballet dancers in history)
Image via Ikin Dance

Matthew McConnaughey (The actor went on to star in 'Dallas Buyers Club' many years later, a role which earnt him 18 acting awards, including the Oscar for best actor.)
Image via YouTube
Are these actors really basic/simple? So why are we labelling the women who enjoy watching them?

So let's buck the trend, let's not call women 'basic' for their lifestyle choices and purchases. Let's agree that women have the right to wear whatever clothes they like and buy whatever products they want with their own money. These choices may not echo our own but they don't necessarily make women dull or unimaginative. They are choices, that is all.  In addition, let's not label these women as 'bitches'. If we really need to stick a label on people  (I say people, not only women) who follow trends religiously and who spend a lot of their money on products which they perhaps don't need/use, let's go with materialistic.

But in all honesty, aren't we all consumers to some degree? Particularly in the 'developed' countries of the western world. Couldn't the money that we spend on mobile phones/tablets/ music/
computers/monthly subscriptions/ food/alcohol be better redistributed to developing countries?

I think we all have some way to go before we are well-informed, globally-considerate consumers. Or indeed from no longer being consumers and being entirely self-sufficient.  No-one I know (including myself), is perfect in this regard.

To conclude, after considering all the information that I found,  I'm inclined to agree with one of the definitions for 'basic bitch' that I found on Urban Dictionary:

'A socially accepted way to demean and denigrate women for the choices they make.'

In fact, I would dare to say: YET ANOTHER socially accepted way to demean and denigrate women....

I could rant on how we still seem to live in a patriarchal society where women are constantly victimised and criticised for their appearance and lifestyle choices. However, I feel like there's not going to be enough room in this post!

What can you do? Stop reading articles and quizzes about 'basic bitches' and don't let this vile terminology creep into your vocabulary. Ever. Let's respect each other more.

Peebreeks xxx

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Anxiety Survival Kit

If you're reading this, the chances are that you, or someone special to you, suffer from anxiety.  Anxiety disorders take many forms and can be sometimes hard for non-sufferers to understand.  It can be incredibly difficult to watch people go through and often,  close relatives and friends are unsure of how best to support the anxiety sufferer.

With that in mind, I scribbled down some steps/tips that have helped me to write this: The Anxiety Survival Kit.

DISCLAIMER! Anxiety has varying degrees, experiences and symptoms so this is probably not a one-size fits all, but it is intended to be helpful to anxiety sufferers and those around them.


My anxiety often affects my sleep patterns, leaving me wide awake at 2am, despite feeling exhausted or as it was years ago, causing me to wake up in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep.  Here are some things which may aid restful sleep:

  • having a bath/shower- sounds so simple but warming and relaxing the muscles often helps me feel more sleepy.
  • herbal sleeping tablets and teas- a warm drink and sleepy herbs can't do you any harm so I take valerian tablets and occasionally sleepy teas like camomile.
  • nature sounds- recently discovered the 'Nature Sound' app. I'm sure there will be many others, I personally like this one as it has the sound of 'Rain on a Tarp' which reminds me of camping!
  • notepad- keeping a notepad by my bed helps me unload a lot of worries before I go to sleep and when I wake up. I tend to stop thinking about them once I have written them down.
  • quiet clock- I had an extremely loud ticking clock which was distracting when already trying to get to sleep. Switching to an alarm clock with 'silent sweep' has made a huge difference. Having an alarm clock also means I'm not relying on my phone so I can switch it off.
  • A camera! Or a project to think about. I am very restless and just need to 'burn off' my anxiety. Suggesting a project to someone to start or joining them is a good way to ease their anxiety.
  • Keeping a notepad/notebook/blog- recording my thoughts/ideas helps me clear out my head space and feel calmer.
  • Try to cut down on caffeine and sugar, I should do this more.
  • Eat more fruit and veg, give your body natural energy and keep it functioning well.
  • Maybe offer your friend a fitness pass/voucher, fitness can be expensive but is really beneficial to people with anxiety.
  • Accompany them on a walk, a cheaper way to get out of the house, get exercise and endorphins.  When anxiety is bad, you may not want to go out at all.  A friend who is keen to get outside and go with you is really great.

Anxiety is horrible, it can leave you in a horrible state, to a point where you don't even recognise yourself. It takes over and pushes your personality and feelings out. Give yourself a break. 
  • Go out for a cuppa with a friend/relative
  • Indulge in films/books/podcasts, ask/search for recommendations
  • Paint your nails/get a massage/your favourite shower gel or bath bubbles- trivial I know, but sometimes these little pamper moments help make you feel human again. Which brings me nicely onto my final category!

At the end of the day, you're still a human being. People around you need to remember that you suffer from anxiety and  try to show their support.
  • Hugs- I am super tactile and love to hug. Hugs make everything better, it just shows you care.
  • Recognise the signs- if someone is not their usual selves,  perhaps seeming more irritable/sensitive/snappy/quiet etc. This is their anxiety showing. Don't hassle them or tell them what they're feeling. Listen and ask what you can do to help. This can be tough when a sufferer's emotions are running high, but they already feel low inside. Criticising them or telling them that they're over-reacting makes them feel even worse and isolated because it can seem like the world is against them. They are not in control of their emotions, it is how they feel at that moment.
  • Ease up- when I'm not anxious, I think I have a good sense of humour and don't take silly insults too seriously.  However, when I am suffering, jokes at my expense and jibes just put me down even lower. Consider what you're saying and whether the person is in the mood or not.
  • Compliments- as I said, hurtful words really can hit a nerve when you're anxious. The good news is that tiny compliments go a long, long way. If I have told myself a million and one bad things in a day, someone genuinely saying just one nice thing brightens up my mind and gives me hope that I'm not so bad after all.
I hope this is useful, it definitely gave me a lot to think about.

Peebreeks xx