Why Does Society Shame the PSL?

Pick up a thesaurus and look up the term “fall” — it is very likely that the terms “autumn” and “Pumpkin Spice Latte” will be listed below.

Type the word “pumpkin” into google and it will auto-fill “spiced latte”.

Look in the direction of any Starbucks to see the line of eager coffee consumers pretending it’s cold outside to justify ordering a PSL, when in reality it’s early September and they are still wearing denim cutoffs to class.

As all of the best things in life are, the PSL has been deemed “basic” due to its popularity. The term basic carries its own negative connotations because society has forgotten that basic things are basic because they are good. When it comes down to it, it’s a loud minority that shames the majority of PSL-drinking, athleisure-wearing, soulcycle-riding, “basic” people who take an advantage of all the great things life has to offer.

iGens, or people born in the year 1995 or later, have been known to put great emphasis on individuality, but even more on the idea that they reject conformity and the mundane. Rejecting conformity means rejecting the PSL.

On Tuesday, August 28th, I opened Twitter to find a meme with a picture of a car that drove through the front of a Starbucks store, captioned “basic white girls when the PSL comes out”.

It was official, the PSL hit Starbucks’ everywhere. At this point, I hadn’t tried the PSL yet, admittedly because I was aware of the PSL-shaming epidemic that hipsters everywhere had succumbed to. I went to Starbucks with every intention of ordering a PSL, came face- to-face with a barista after waiting in line for ten minutes, then ordered my usual salted caramel latte and left. If I had ordered a pumpkin spice latte, was I perpetuating the stereotypes of my demographic—a young, white female? Would I earn myself the same ridicule as a Millennial woman ordering avocado toast at brunch? To the other end, was I going to let the fact that a PSL is a seasonal punchline ruin a perfectly good drink?

A few weeks later and the temperatures dropped enough to make me swap out my iced coffee for hot coffee. I spotted a single leaf on the ground, and immediately it felt like fall. It was PSL day. One sip and it was obvious that anyone who rejects a warm blend of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg is going out of their way to avoid a good thing.

As a whole, the PSL is rejected because it’s popular, but denying oneself the PSL has become just as popular a practice, so rejecting this drink is just as basic as enjoying one (and enjoying one is much more fun). It is important to remember that anything you do, you should do for yourself. Yes, a drink may be a small example, but it shows how much society’s perception of you affects how you live your life—down to the smallest detail. From here on out I will be ordering a Pumpkin Spice latte with my chin up, knowing that every sip is a small act of rebellion against what pop culture says I am based on my choice of coffee.


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