Basic Christians: Labels and meaning

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We’ve all heard the term “basic b___”, from here on I’ll use the word “basic” because I have no need to refer a woman as a b___. If you haven’t already become familiar with the pejorative, the simplest definition of a basic is the woman who, “like(s) popular, mainstream products or music.” (Source: Wikipedia) 2014 was the year online media took to defining the term with various qualifiers for being a basic.

You were labelled as a basic if you owned or have ever owned Uggs, Michael Kors handbags, love your seasonal Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, or wear brand named yoga pants even though you don’t attend yoga classes.” The list of criteria is never ending and will never cease because people love trends and long to be part of whatever has been deemed popular.

I’m not ashamed to say that for a non-basic woman, I sure do engage in a lot of basicness. I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I wear yoga pants almost every day of the week, I posted a picture to Facebook of an Aromatic Chai Tea Latte that I had tried for the first time in a local vegan restaurant frequented mostly by non-vegans, and a host of other faux pas that make a woman basic.

I don’t pay too much attention to what is considered basic because I don’t follow trends; I’m not in a financial position to live like that, but when I do pay attention it is because I’ve grown tired of basic behaviour. Lately I’ve been craving a more spiritual and deeper level of Christian community among other females, but instead I’ve encountered one too women who want to bring their basic behaviour into sacred spaces such as bible studies, workshops, and times of prayer, to name a few.

When I gather with other females for times of biblical uplifting, edification, and character strengthening, the last thing I want to do is talk about trendy, mundane topics. I’m all for having fun, but not when it is time to be serious. Being basic can be a problem if you’re not able to stop being so basic when necessary.

If women don’t learn to make time to put aside their basicness and enter the world of depth, they run the risk of delaying their spiritual growth. I was made aware of an example of this while in the midst of a conversation with some other women from church where the shallow conversations revolved around stories about being drunk on vodka mixes, wanting to take pole dancing classes, and going out to a local Latino bar for Salsa lessons because the men make them feel sexy and sensual while dancing. One of the most annoying parts of the conversation went something like this,

Married Christian Woman: “I love Black men.”

Me: “Oh you’re married to a Black man?”

MCW: “No, but Black men like me because I have a big booty.”

Me: “Oh, I’m not sure if that’s a compliment. Are you comfortable with being big?”

MCW: “Well, Black men tell me they like my booty, so that’s a compliment.”

Me: “Oh. O.K.”

I had an issue with this particular person because I know that as fellow Christians we could and most likely never would sit down together and have a spiritual conversation about things such as Ferguson, the role of socio-economic status in racism, and the cultural impact of absentee Black men in single family households. The shallowness of these conversations isn’t only related to race. I have never been able to engage with many women at my local church about a variety of issues facing our society. In other words, these women are not only basic in their taste, but also in their Christian walk.

You're Basic!

As I venture towards a new phase in my walk of faith, I remind myself and encourage others not to fall into the trap of being Basic Christians. It’s perfectly alright to be a basic woman, you are free to wear, watch, and eat what you please, but to do so in your relationship with God and within your Christian community is never a spiritually healthy way to live. Jesus was never basic about his journey of faith, if he was, it would have meant thinking and living just like everyone else, and he never did that. Instead, Jesus listened to our Father and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide him towards his calling in life which was to show us the way to a godly relationship with God and others. Let’s not allow a basic way of living prevent us from venturing towards the deeply spiritual, unique and meaningful life that God has gifted each and every believer with. God and His Holy Spirit has never been basic and that means our relationship with God will never be like that either. Peace.

QUESTIONS: What areas in your life show signs of being ‘basic’? (Follows trends, likes what everyone else likes, focused on social status, limited in authenticity, lacking in depth or thought, etc.)

Does your faith (relationship with God and relationship with others) reflect basic behaviour?

This month think of one thing that you’d like to do/see/purchase/try that is not considered mainstream or trendy. Examples might be: going to see a documentary on a topic of interest, reading bible verses in less familiar English translations you’re not used to, listening to a sermon from a pastor that has a different ethnic or cultural background from yourself, reading a book that never made it to the best sellers list.

ACTION: Pray and ask God to reveal areas where you have stopped giving thought to why you do the things you do? (e.g.

Different Christian woman

 


 

Below is extra reading for those who want to explore the topic further. The quote is from the comments section of an October 2014 article on NYMAG.com.  

“ 2. For what it’s worth, to me the word “basic” expresses a frustration with the culture deeper than an overprevalence (sic) of lattes. It’s about when one’s highest aspiration in life is to be… comfortable. This is what I mean by a “basic b__”:

  • doesn’t read
  • listens to dumbed-down, repetitive, feel-good music, if any
  • has little to no knowledge of anything that happened before her living memory
  • has little-thought-out opinions on complex issues, which she probably got straight from someone/ somewhere else
  • has a comformist (sic), average appearance- hair, clothes, make-up, everything
  • almost never challenges the status quo
  • almost never expresses or acknowledges deep/complex emotions, even to those she is close to
  • lacks a sense of larger-scale empathy with humanity- from not caring about events in other countries to being extremely self-absorbed in day-to-day human interactions; usually arrogant to service employees and an obnoxious driver
  • spends an inordinate amount of money on unnecessary consumer products
  • attempts to reference pop culture trends in a shallow, uninvested (sic) way
  • ultimately, takes no interest in learning about or accomplishing anything of significance in life; just wants to be entertained, get new stuff, and fit a certain image

This is not an attack on femininity- which can be intelligent, sophisticated, powerful, creative, subtle, and clever. Men can be “basic” too… But there is a historical and cultural stereotype that women should be childlike, or simple-minded.

Ironically, “basic” women (as I have defined them) are actually the ones who are submitting to a male hierarchy of culture. Most significant aspects of culture- politics, academics, economics- have traditionally been the province of men. Women who only care for frivolous things perpetuate the equivalence of femininity with a juvenile status.

Being “basic” is not about being feminine. It’s about being a child.”

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/10/what-do-you-really-mean-by-basic-bitch.html?mid=pinterest-share-thecut (comments section, Oct 16, 2014).