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The Pumpkin Spice Stigma

Quiana Criales, Contributing Writer

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The first week of September officially marks the beginning of pumpkin spice season, and individuals are already being condemned for their love of pumpkin spice. While some people look forward to this season, whether it be for their favorite fall beverage or the cozy sweater weather we usually receive, other, specifically, because of the pumpkin spice craze. When the fall season rolls around, I am that person who devours anything pumpkin flavor related: pumpkin pie, coffee, pop tarts, you name it.

As individuals, our taste buds prefer different foods and flavors, it’s a fact of life, so it is okay for people to have opposing views on the pumpkin spice flavor. While, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, why should anyone judge me for liking a specific flavor?

Better yet, why is person’s a love for said flavor, automatically labeled as “a basic white girl?” Let’s say that it is somehow an actual social group in society, why is being “basic” something that is always followed by a negative attitude and remark.

As you can probably tell, I have a lot of questions about how pumpkin spice is associated with what society has deemed to being “basic.”

Even before the fall season began, people were ranting about how “it was too early for the pumpkin flavor”. When I would express my excitement for the fall season and my love for pumpkin spice, the snarky comments and peers crowned me as “a basic white girl,” but that was just the beginning. I never understood why people felt so strongly about this flavor.  

I would go on my Facebook feed, or scroll down Instagram, and the memes about “basic white girls” being associated with pumpkin spice were endless. On one post a person had commented with a meme that read “picking up white girls just got easier” and below was a picture of a pumpkin spice condom. Some may find humor in this, but I’m a Hispanic female and I’m even a little offended by this.

Yep, reinforce the idea to men that putting on a pumpkin flavor condom is going to make women want to sleep with them, because that makes perfect sense.

I guess my ultimate question is why do we care so much, and why is a respectable newspaper, like the Washington Post, generating articles that reinforce the label? In Maura Judi’s, Washington Post article “Put on your leggings and brace for nutmeg. Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte is back,” she comments “And while there’s something casually cruel about labeling legging-wearing, PSL-drinking white girls as “basic”— well, you have to admit, the drink has a type. She contradicts herself. While she recognizes the problem of the label in that it’s “cruel,” she then states that it’s apparently, blatantly obvious. Is it?

This creates a whole different set of questions. First off, why do we stigmatize certain things within a cultural context because of its association with a specific group of people? Secondly, why do we accept these labels and why do we feel like it is okay to judge others for their choice in spice preferences?  Sometimes I come across the occasional, “I’m a basic white girl and I hate pumpkin spice.”

While I understand, you don’t like other people labeling you as such, by a person responding in a way that combats the stigma, they are reinforcing the label of “basic white girl” and its negative association with the pumpkin spice flavor. As if it should be something people frown upon.

My opinion has always been “You do you!” Yes, the appreciation post for the season do exist, and people embrace the label, but why should they have to wear that label at all?

Love what you love! Ignore the haters, because they are missing out on something that is super delicious. It’s not conforming, its making your taste buds happy.

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The Pumpkin Spice Stigma