Why are so many girls wearing cat makeup on Tinder? We explored the phenomenon.
In Defense of the Basic Bitch
A culture war is raging in America, but not the one you see being waged on Fox News and MSNBC in prime time. That neverending conflict has an unintended casualty, a victim that neither side truly wants to champion. This much-maligned minority group needs our respect and our affection. Of course, I am talking about the infamous “Basic Bitch.”
The Basic Bitch is denigrated in music videos and hip-hop lyrics. They’re defamed on Twitter merely for requesting a simple kindness:
Urban Dictionary, the final arbiter of cultural relevancy, defines the Basic Bitch in a variety of ways. The most accurate explanation is as follows:
- Used to describe someone devoid of defining characteristics that might make a person interesting, extraordinary, or just simply worth devoting time or attention to.
- Lacking intelligence and unable to socialize on even an elementary level.
- Annoyingly frustrating because of the above.
What specifically makes one Basic? Not understanding irony or sarcasm, constantly needing to be cloying and sincere, enjoying xoJane articles, reading books about Feng Shui, checking horoscopes, French tip fingernails, gladiator sandals, John Mayer, Gleereruns, and Michael Buble are all pretty Basic.
Only recently has being Basic become such a social faux pas that videos have to be made to shame them out of existence. It wasn’t always a crime to like fast food and How I Met Your Mother. It’s become a form of gag reflex to immediately trash those brave enough to be completely and hopelessly square, but American culture is littered with Basics. Carol Brady from The Brady Bunch was a massive Basic whose sole purpose on the show was to be a fucking nag. Dinah Shore found a way to make hosting a variety show Basic. If you can believe it, there was a time when Julia Roberts was the biggest movie star in the world, and she might as well have “Basic Bitch” tattooed on her forehead (backwards, so she can read it in the mirror, of course).
Talking to Girls About the Good Ol’ Number Two Taboo
The toilet taboo is a widespread Western phenomenon—especially among girls. But the fact that girls take a dump less frequently than boys do is actually a danger to their health. More than 60 percent of women suffer from stomach problems directly caused by avoiding the bowl, according to a report released last year by Swedish scientists. If these issues get too severe, you might eventually end up with rectal cancer. To highlight this, we asked some girls (and boys) how they feel about the good ol’ number-two taboo.
Sindy: I’m cool talking about my toilet habits with friends. I even talk with my boyfriend. I actually just did take a dump, and my boyfriend’s in bed just in front of the bathroom door, so he knows I’m in here. I just turn on the tap and do my thing. But the water needs to be running. If the tap doesn’t work I won’t do it. That’s my cover-up.
Amanda: I’ve realized after saying certain things that I’m more comfortable talking about poop than most people are. But I’m not so cool with taking a dump outside. I’ll pee anywhere, though. I’d probably be uncomfortable if my partner didn’t poop. My tip is to turn really loud music on while you’re at it.
Sara: The weirdest place I’ve taken a dump at is either when I’ve been at some festival in some bush with loads of tents surrounding me or, when I was younger, I liked to poop as I was hanging off that pole you tie your boat around on a pier. I grabbed the pole, put my bum out, and hung over the water. My best friend and I used to do that together, but that was a pretty long time ago. And once I sat in the lap of my boyfriend when he was doing it. I guess you can say I’m pretty open about it.
Peter: I think it’s rather abnormal for girls to pretend that they don’t do number two. But I have noticed that girls avoid doing it until much later when they’ve eventually dared to tell me. I’m the same, which is pretty silly really. Just do it!
Amanda: I’m comfortable talking about my toilet habits with my friends, but I wouldn’t talk about them with a guy unless we were in a really tight and good relationship. I don’t really have much to say about it to be honest.
Style and Shopping as a Means of Expression and Self-Realization
by Kate Carraway
Girls and women (it feels so corny to consider girls and women as these separate classes of experience, right?) have, more so than guys and to our great benefit, style and shopping as a means of expression and self-realization. As problematic as it is to get super-excited about spending money toward, like, selfhood, it’s a socially and emotionally safe way to have some stripe of identity-adventure, to tell ourselves stories through our choices and things, and, more and more, to share those adventures and tell those same stories online. (This is why I don’t hate it when a tween buys a pee-quality body splash for $14 and posts about it; I know what she’s doing when she’s choosing, when she’s having, when she’s showing.)
The online show-off experience could have been about sex—some of it is, obvi—but girls tend to do the show-off parts of the internet the way they do clothes, which is mostly for themselves and for each other. This way of doing the internet, our way, converges as an inward “me gaze.” The aspects of performance and intimacy are all there, but are for us, and for an audience of us-es.
The Motorcycle Girl Gangs of Morocco
Everyone says Copenhagen and Amsterdam are bike cities, but what about Marrakesh?
London-based Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj tapped into the bike culture of Marrakesh in his latest series of photos, Kesh Angels, on display at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York until March 8. Hassan’s version of Hell’s Angels comes from a personal tale: He once worked on a photo shoot in Marrakesh in the 1990s. Everything about the shoot was foreign—the photographers, the clothes, the models. Nothing was actually Moroccan. The artist’s latest shoot can be interpreted as a response to whatshould have happened back in the 1990s: A super pop North African photo shoot with everything that nods to local tradition fused with a twist – from the polka dotted abayas to the camo djellabahs. The photos here capture Moroccan girl bike gangs with smug looks, intimidating sneers, and badassness short of a rock video. They’re not “real big gangs,” of course. The girls are the artist’s friends, who usually paint henna tattoos on tourists in the main square; but you still wouldn’t want to run into them in a dark alley. These girls are tough, speak up to five languages, and are full-time moms who work ten-hour days. I spoke with Hassan about bike culture in Marrakesh and his definition of badass.
VICE: How did you come up with the idea to photograph your friends this way?
Hassan Hajjaj: I’ve been working in this way for years now. I want to show something particular to Marrakesh, and to show that even though we have different cultures and religions; we share a lot in common as people. There is a group of women who work painting henna in this main square in Morocco that is popular with tourists. One I know was an inspiration for this series, Karima, she wears a veil and these really amazing textile abayas and djabellas and also rides a bike to work and back, she’s a normal woman who works eight or ten hours a day. She speaks about four or five languages, is a housewife to two kids, [and] built her own house.
It feels like a North African fashion shoot, did you want to honor roots with style?
I was working on a fashion magazine photo shoot in Marrakesh in the 1990s when I realized everything—all the models, the photographer, the clothes—were from the west and Morocco was simply the backdrop. From then I said it’d be great to present my people in their environment in their kind of way of dressing, and play with it on a fashion level.
What is the bike culture like in Marrakech? Generally speaking, do bike gangs even exist there? How big are motorbikes?
Marrakech is really a bike city; everyone rides them. Women, kids, old men, families, everybody. It’s transportation; it’s really used for work. A few of the bikes in the photos are from friends of mine we borrowed, but most are their own bikes. There are no real bike gangs.
Are your friends often dressed this way? Are these badass, colorful outfits easy to find?
Moroccans have a strong sense of tradition and we are a very colorful nation. But I design the outfits: These traditional Moroccan djabellas and abayas and babouche with traditional prints and knock-off brand-name fabrics from markets in London and Marrakesh. I also build the frames for the photographs using products or objects I find in markets: cans of Fanta, tins, or boxes of chicken stock. This came from when I was growing up in Morocco as many things are recycled to be re-used, and this has somehow come into my work. I wanted to use the repetition of labels in a slightly humorous context, often directly relating to something happening in the photograph, but I also wanted to create a repeated pattern in the frame to evoke the mosaics of Morocco in a modern context.
What was the goal of this shoot and what was the best moment of shooting this series?
I’m impressed with their strength and really aim to show their independence as normal. If these photos were taken in Paris or Rome I imagine I wouldn’t be asked what is so unique about women’s biker culture.
If you had a bike gang who would be in it?
My gang would include women like you see in this series; women who just naturally have this strength, swagger, freedom.
German Babies Don’t Need to Be Boys or Girls Anymore
It’s tempting to interpret legislative shifts as progress. After all, plenty of times they are. However, what looks like progress on the surface often masks a much more complicated underbelly. Think about the fight for marriage equality: if marriage is a fundamental right, then everyone certainly deserves access to it. Insofar as the fight for this access has further normalized and entrenched the institution of marriage—itself a problematic tradition with a deeply troubled past—progress becomes trickier to gauge.
This complex relationship between progress and problem is quite clear in regards to Germany’s new third gender option on birth certificates. As of November 1, it is no longer legally necessary for babies born in Germany to be registered as male or female on their birth certificates. Instead—in cases of newborns whose bodies don’t fall neatly into male or female categories physiologically—the male and female boxes on a birth certificate can be left unchecked.
Girls Rule My World
Saturday was Sweetest Day, a holiday you’re probably only familiar with if you grew up in the quietly desperate middle west of the United States like I did. In a nutsack, Sweetest Day is like a fall version of Valentine’s Day, except instead of it being celebrated for hundreds of years by millions of people all over the world, it was created by greedy Cleveland candy companies in the 20s and only people who live near the Great Lakes know what it is.
My girl is from Northeastern Ohio, so Sweetest Day is just as serious to her as an anniversary or a birthday. And that’s fine, because even though I enjoy dick and fart jokes, I’m a pretty romantic dude. I’ve served up some seriously smooth-daddy Sweetest Days in the past… with the exception of last year.
In 2012, I ruined our special day by drinking an entire bottle of Hennessy in front of VICE cameras under the behest of trap rappers Waka Flock Flam and Gucci Mane and ended up in the ER. Although the story is a source of humor to anyone with an internet connection, to the lady who loves me, it was scary. To make it up to her this year, I was determined to cop her some great gifts for Sweetest Day that scream, “I FUCKING LOVE YOU, GIRL. SORRY I RUINED SWEETEST DAY AND THANKS FOR VISITING ME IN THE HOSPITAL AT 5 AM WHEN I WAS IN A BOOZE COMA.”
Through my relentless search on the internet, I discovered three new amazing companies run by people with vaginas that make cool stuff for other people with vaginas. I was so inspired by their very different but awesome missions that I thought I’d share them with you those shopping for lady lovers. Maybe bookmark this article for Chrismukkah? Or, just buy some shit right now. Remember, anytime is the right time to compensate for your inability to express your feelings by buying things.
Check out these cool new companies!
Laura Kim (a project manager here at VICE) and Hally Erickson started Total Pleasure, an online vintage retailer that hit the internet earlier this year. The site is the perfect representation of the collision of style happening on New York’s streets, where ladies rock experimental masculine stuff with traditional garments and pair high-end brands with knock-offs—all to get at something unique, exciting, and new. I had a quick convo with Laura about the her site.
VICE: How’d this whole thing get started?
Laura Kim: Hally and I started thrifting together more and more, getting really weird shit and egging each other on. And then we kind of combined styles and formed this hybrid identity. After awhile, we couldn’t find the pieces that we wanted, because we were looking for really specific things. So, it just made sense to start our own shop that has the stuff we were looking for because it’s not readily out there.
How would you describe the clothes on Total Pleasure?
We buy birthday outfits. We’ll style something that was intended for sleepwear as something you’d wear out. Or put a hoodie over lingerie. Juxtaposition is really at the core of our aesthetic.
Can you give me some tips on buying for my special lady?
If you do right, it’s so good. It’s part intuition and part risk-taking. Get weird with it. But not too weird. My ex-boyfriend once got me a bracelet and drew a bagel on it. It was a shitty drawing and I was really bummed about it. I wore it the first day and never wore it again. That’s the kind of stuff you want to avoid.