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4A --- Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Wednesday, October15, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

*I

C4C fithigan &{{ i
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.

The history of the basic bitch

An exercise

curiously little-kno
baseball history is
during a 2011 game
Angeles Dodgers, a moth
flew into the ear of Cardi-
nals left-fielder Matt Hol-
liday and refused to fly
out. Holliday was led off
of the field and into a dark
room by his trainers, who,
according to team spokes-
man Brian Bartow, shined
a powerful light into his ear
in an unsuccessful attempt
to lure the insect out before
finally retrieving it by
means of an unspecified "u
returned to play in the foll
moth lived.
This story, for some unkr
bothered me consistently in
first read it. In consideringi
raise several questions, whi(
in no particular order:
1. What brought the moth,
Common wisdom holds that:
to light sources. There were
inside Matt Holliday's ear.
2. How did Holliday beco
moth? Did he feel it craw.
skull, or did he hear it? If
so, what did he hear? The
fluttering of wings? Or was
the moth so close to his
eardrum that he could hear
its breath?
3. If the moth hadn't
flown into Holliday's
ear because it had been
looking for a light, then
why would his trainers
think that a light might
have encouraged it to fly ou
more likely that the moth w,
the sort of darkness, which
the stadium, gould only be f
Holliday? Wouldn't shining
be counterproductive?
4. What was the nature
employed to remove the mo
of tweezers? A dental pick? A
"utensil?" Was it too emba
Bartow to admit that the St
had operated on their star sl
of chopsticks or a lobster fort
5. In what condition wast
was finally delivered from its

awn episode in know that it was still alive, but was it injured?
he one in which, Disoriented? Did it flutter about the room in
against the Los confusion - or joy, or fury? Can a moth feel
fury? Is it even appropriate to speculate on
the emotional state of a creature whose inner
life is so different from our own? Or, to put
it another way, are moths beyond the realm
of empathy?
Empathy, wrote author Rebecca Solnit,
finds its verbal manifestation in storytelling.
One reason to tell a story well, or to listen to
one, is to attempt to "know" another, to share
AVERY in an existence outside your own. Ihave been
DIUBALDO granted a single life, this one, and, as far as I
can tell, I will not be so fortunate as to have
another. I am not a young girl living in China,
utensil." Holliday and I never will be, nor will I be a man born
owing game. The with one eye, nor will I be the Shah of Persia.
But I can listen to their stories, and in doing
town reason, has so, take glimpses into their lives. It's all that
the years since I I can do.
it, I am forced to I am not Matt Holliday. All I know of
ch I will list here him at this moment is his story, the story of
Matt and the moth. The above questions,
to Holliday's ear? while almost certainly unanswerable, are an
moths are drawn attempt to elaborate on that story, an exercise
no light sources in empathy.
It is possible that the following question
me aware of the does not have any answer at all:
ling through his 6. When Holliday laid himself to bed later
that night, did he feel
different?
A trapped moth is no
All I know of him at good company, and to
pretend that Holliday
this moment is his felt any kind of loss at its
story, the story of Matt removal is to reach for a
meaning or a moral, where
and the moth. nosuchthingcanbefound.
But it is worth noting that,
in all the years before that
evening, Matt Holliday
t again? Is it not had been the only occupant of his own body.
as in fact seeking He was, as Dickens intimated, the solitary
, in the blaze of passenger of his own separate carriage, never
ound inside Matt to enter the carriage of another.
a light in his ear And then, suddenly, he was not. His skull,
the skull that had always held only one life,
of the "utensil" only one mind, now held two, and an alien
th? Was it a pair breathed alien breath in his ear. Where once
nd why the word you could point and say only "Matt," you could
rrassing for Mr. now say either "Matt" or "moth" and be cor-
. Louis Cardinals rect both times.
ugger with a pair Then it was gone. And he was alone.

t all started in Walgreens last
week while I waited in line to
buy Vaseline for my dry eyes.
The girl in front
of me was yapping
into the phone
about this girl in
her anthro class
who always wears
sweatpants with
"JUICY"plastered -
all shiny on the
butt. "She's such YARDAIN
a basic bitch," she AMRON
said and laughed.
Her friend's laugh
cackled through the speaker.
I had heard the label around the
block, but never gave it too much
thought; a Basic Bitch was just one of
those silly slang monikers trending
these days - like 'Flapper' did in the
'20s, or'Valley Girl'inthe '80s (thank
you Google). But as I smeared fresh
Vaseline over my eyes that night as
per usual, my mind was filled with
Basic Bitch thoughts - I mean ... shit
... thoughts about Basic Bitches. Let's
just say Ihad a weird Fall Break...
Using a godly tool called Google
Advanced Search, I traced the ety-
mological roots of Basic Bitch back
to its origin. As far as I can tell, the
first reference is an August 2009
YouTube bathroom rant by a Black
comedian stage-named Spoken Rea-
sons. For almost three minutes, the
then-21-year-old offers a frustrat-
ingly specific list of ostensive defini-
tions for a Basic Bitch - all while he
is crouching on the toilet. Like: "if
you bend yo ass over in all yo pictures
just to make ita lil bigger knowin you
ain't got one, you a basic bitch."
Or
"if you sing any Beyonce song all
day erryday, somethin' like "upgrade"
and ain't nothin upgraded about you
since high school in '92 ... u a basic
bitch." (Transcription credited to
urbandictionary-wonder "thekay-
two").
Some definitions made me laugh
and more drew the feminist out
in me. But I still couldn't picture

her exactly, that quintessential
Basic Bitch.
Then during the game on Sat-
urday, a girl I didn't know walked.
through my living room wearing a
blue tutu. Because I plan to make
use of a tutu in my Halloween cos-
tume, I asked her where she got it.
She said, "MDen," and I didn't hear
her right and said something stu-
pid like, "What's Mdone?" and then
she said, "Yeah, I know, I'm a basic
bitch." She walked out before I could
say anything.
I felt kinda bad, but then real-
ized this was a semi-breakthrough:
If Basic Bitches shop at MDen, and
the opposite of MDen is like a thrift
shop, and thrift shops are for Indies
(and Hipsters trying to be Indies, but
no one likes those kids so who cares),
and Indies are non-conforming non-
conformists - then Basic Bitches are
"... unflinchingly upholding of the
status quo and stereotypes of their
gender without
even realizing-
it." (Fifth defini-
tion credited to Why has
the other-urban- blown up jU
dictionary-won-
der "Cee Gee"). Or, why dc
Ergo, tutu-girl
was by definition women us
not a Basic Bitch m
in view of the more th
fact that Basic
Bitches never
call themselves Basic Bitches. It's
like The Game, you know, that we all
played back in middle school; once
you think about The Game you lose.
Some crude amount of Vaseline
later, I hit more gold. College Humor
had directly solved my problem six
months ago with the gem: "How
To Tell If You're A Basic Bitch." I
learned that Basic Bitches "experi-
ment with North Face," "have full-
blown 'Sex and the City' brunches"
and are "into scented candles"
(among other things).
It was at this point that I finally
realized how late to the game I was.
A good chunk of my audience would

probably already know everything I
just wrote. But, I wasn't about to just
scrap this whole column because Sm
not up to date or whatever.
So I went looking for some signifi-
cance in all this Basic Bitch business.
Like: Why has the term blown up
just recently? Or, why does it seem
women use the term more than men?
Aren't its inherent misogynistic
and sexist undertones obvious? Or,
can men also be Basic Bitches? And
if not, is there a male equivalent to
the phrase? And if not, can someone
think of one please and make a video
about it? Pleeease.
But all those questions feel too
heavy, so I'll just leave them there.
Sure,mostgirlswouldprobablynever
want to be called a Basic Bitch. But
there's something about the phrase
that I just can't take seriously, some-
thing cheeky about the way Wal-
greens-girl and tutu-girl said it. The
phrase is too silly. That quintessen-
tial Basic Bitch

6

that I was look-
ing for - she's
the term the stereotype
.st recently? of a stereotype,
the Basic Basic
)es it seem Bitch.
We all gener-
e the term alize each other
an men? to make sense of
this ridiculously
complex planet.
And that's OK
to an extent, if we didn't, we would
still be drooling toddlers. But there's
something condescending about the
way Basic Bitch is thrown around by
people, like s/he doing the throwing
actually thinks s/he's better than the
Basic Bitch just named, when actu-
ally s/he's just being extremely sim-
ple-minded, and, well, basic. Come
on, can't you think of something
more original? Maybe the most Basic
of Bitches is actually s/he who calls
others Basic Bitches. Whoa, I need
more Vaseline - my eyes are crusty.
- Yardain Amron can be
reached at amron@umich.edu.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVERSATION
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 words.
Send the writer's full name and University affiliation. to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MiEMBERS
Devin Eggert, David Harris, Rachel John, Nivedita Karki,
Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Allison Raeck, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm,
Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Linh Vu,
Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
RACHAEL LACEY J
I n th ickne ss or in healt

0

0

k?
the moth when it
hiding place? We

- Avery DiUbaldo can be reached
at diubaldo@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be fewer than
300 words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. We do
not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
SHERRIE A. KOSSOUDJI I
Tackling sexual assault on campus

Football is the bad boy of abusive behavior
right now and it's no wonder, many people
say, since the game itself is so violent. But as
we excoriate the NFL for lenient decisions in
the face of domestic violence we expose our
willful blindness to the simple ubiquity of
violence against women. Why is it front-page
news that there is a history of lenience in the
NFL when there is also a history of lenience
in police departments, dean's offices, the
military and the workplace?
Blaming the NFL is an easy out. There
are so many articles in newspapers about
violence against women that the real news
is that we still won't acknowledge that it
is thoroughly pervasive. Violence against
women is an inconvenient and ever-present
virus and, like the common cold, we do not
take it seriously - whether the perpetrator
is an NFL athlete, a TV star, a millionaire, a
boss, a college student, a politician, a date, a
stranger or a husband.
I am a football fan. I think of it, at its best, as
conflictballet. What a beautiful sport. The NFL
personal conduct policy should be as complete,
well-thought-out and practiced as a team's
plays when it is six points down and there are
only 30 seconds on the clock. But it's not. When
the indictment of bad behavior goes up against
making money, justice almost always loses. We
need to make ignoring this problem hurt the
bottom line. Change from the inside is easiest,
but there just aren't enough NFL players who
are victims of violence against women to push
for change from the inside.
I am also a professor. College is not a
violent sport. Yet sexual assault and other
violent acts against women commonly take
place and are commonly ignored. College
and university administrations are just
beginning to acknowledge that they should

deal more forthrightly with sexual assault
on campus. A history of protecting athletes,
paying attention to the bottom line in athletic
revenue, covering up allegations against
other students and professors to protect the
university's reputation and paying attention
to the bottom line in tuition receipts helps to
maintain higher education as a big business.
But we can make change from the inside
on college campuses. Women are often
more than 50 percent of the student body
and they, along with their fellow male
students, have the power to quickly change
behavior and attitudes about violence against
women. College students, demand that your
university create and consistently act upon
a sexual assault policy. If it doesn't, stop
attending sports events, stop purchasing
college logo items and consider a transfer
to a school that does. High school seniors,
ask the university where you plan to attend
to provide you with university policy and
actions on sexual assaults. Inform them that
you will not attend if they lack a reasonable
and enforced policy. Mothers and fathers,
don't pay for your children to attend a
school that is cavalier about violence against
women, and tell it why you choose to pay
instead for attendance at another college or
university. With the power of our numbers,
an acceptance of violence against women
would be accompanied by a serious dent in
reputation and revenues.
Maybe we can expect to begin to change
behavior in places like the NFL when
violence against women is unacceptable on
college campuses.
Sherrie A. Kossoudji is an associate
professor of Social Work and an adjunct
associate professor of Economics.

I have a big secret.
(Hint: it's not that big).
But I'll get to that in a minute.
First, let me tell you about myself.
I am a runner. And when I say
runner, I mean someone who
genuinely enjoys the act of running.
I don't do it for the competition,
I don't do it so that I can fit into
a size two (I can't, by the way), I
do it because it gives me real joy
that keeps me relatively sane. I
train for marathons because to me,
going for a 16-mile run is an act of
meditation. Being a runner, I have
great legs. Yeah, you heard right.
My legs are awesome. But it's not
because I think they're thin (what is
a thigh gap?). I don't consider myself
skinny. I don't consider myself fat
either, because, well, obviously
there's a middle ground. But I think
somehow there has emerged this
binary of skinny and, as many label
it, "curvy" that we have created.
And the weird thing is, "we" is
usually women, typically fueled,
sadly, by a resentment that tends to
follow body image insecurities. And
it is absolutely ridiculous.
Take, for example, two of the
most popular songs right now: "Ana-
conda," and "All About That Bass."
Both express resentment toward the
group of women formally referred
to as "the skinny bitches." Although
I do not personally identify as a
"skinny bitch," I still think that the
underlying messages in these songs
are both immature and damaging.
Nicki Minaj sings (sings?) "Fuck
those skinny bitches," and ends her
message there, celebrating her "fat
ass" by insulting those without one.
Meghan Trainor also attempts to
celebrate her body and her booty,
saying "I'm bringing booty back /Go

ahead and tell them skinny bitches
that." She then adds the incredibly
condescending remark, "No I'm just
playing, I know you think you're
fat," as if body image issues that so
many women face should be taken
lightly. As if it is some sort of joke
that by age six, girls begin to be con-
cerned about their weight, and in
the United States alone, 20 million
women suffer from eating disorders.
Saying, "Every inch of you is perfect
from the bottom to the top," is then
just a nice backhanded compliment.
One of my friends recently posted
a picture of herself on Facebook that
juxtaposed a picture from about a
year ago and a picture from a few
weeks ago, clearly showing how
much weight she has lost. It got
138 likes. People that she hadn't
talked to in years, or that she had
forgotten she was even friends
with on Facebook, were liking this
picture. Compliments rained down.
Yes, the change is quite remarkable
and damn, she looks great. But do
any of these 138 people know that
she is takingmedicine that all but
obliterates her appetite? That she
sometimes goes entire days without
feeling any desire to eat, and
sometimes finds herself physically
weak after completing simple tasks
like sweeping the floor? She knows
it's not healthy, and we've talked
about my concern for her health.
And she's really trying to change,
to eat more, eat healthier and to
remind herself that even if she
doesn't feel hungry, she needs to
give her body fuel. But other people
don't see this. They don't see health.
They see curvy and they see skinny.
Because I hold the uncommon
combination of being both a runner
and a vegetarian, maybe I am more

aware than many women of basic
nutritional needs. I must pay closer
attention to how much protein,
iron and calories in general I am
eating; luckily for me, I get to make
sure I'm getting enough. I eat when
I'm hungry, I stop when I'm full
(sometimes) and I do my best to
eat as many fruits and vegetables
and natural foods as I can. I am
hyperaware of my health because I
have to be. You can't run marathons
on (only) mac and cheese.
This is where the secret comes in.
I weigh about 150 pounds.
There, I said it.
Andthethingis, Ialways feelkind
of ashamed to admit that number.
Although this is a perfectly
healthy weight for someone my age
and height, it does put me at the
80th weight percentile. And the
funny thing is, you'd never guess it
if you saw me. In fact, my friends are
actually comfortable joking about
how "fat" Iam, becausetheythink it
is absurd that I or anyone else would
ever consider me fat. Which is why
the only time I ever bother stepping
on a scale is when I'm at the doc-
tor's office - it's just not something
I worry about.
Does my weight matter? God,
no. I am healthy, and that is what
matters. Do I sometimes (OK, maybe
more than sometimes) supplement
myblack beans and kale with a large
quantity of chocolate? Definitely.
But rather than focusing so much
on "skinny" or "fat," or numbers on
a scale, we need to start focusing
on health, and how we feel. On the
health scale, I'm doing great. Hell, I
can run 26.2 miles. And then eat as
much as Idamn well please.
Rachael Lacey is an LSA junior.

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