When you hear the word Bimbo, you probably think of a vapid blonde dressed in pink, with you know what the size of her head and sequins where her brain should be. This feminine caricature of a woman is being torn down and rebuilt by the “New Age” of Gen Z Bimbos on TikTok that are taking the app by storm. This resurgence of the Bimbo aesthetic, also known as Bimbofication, attempts to reclaim the term and empower women by unapologetically being themselves, reveling in hyper-feminine preferences, and rejecting societal standards surrounding academia and what it takes to be “taken seriously”. This mentality is of course coupled with all things pink, pretty, and hyper-feminine. However, with strong historical ties to Eurocentric beauty standards, a borderline trivialization of issues, and pro-capitalist consumerism, this trend and lifestyle toes the line between transgression and regression.
The word Bimbo comes from the Italian word bambino, which translates to baby. The term can be traced back to the 1800s when it referred to insignificant or foolish men. Throughout time, women began being associated with the word Bimbo and the meaning changed forever. Unsurprisingly, this shift in narrative has been seen before as high heels and the color pink were originally characterized by men.
The next spike in Bimbofication was in 1987 which, was named “The Year of the Bimbo”. At this time, many scandals surfaced surrounding promiscuous and attractive young women. During this time, Bimboism was also making its way into mainstream media through Hollywood stars like Pamela Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith, and Marilyn Monroe. These figures paved the way for the bimbos of the early 2000s with their femininity, personality, and love for the luxurious. However as Hollywood and society demonizes ultra-feminity they were seen as the quintessential stereotypes for dumb blondes, mean girls, and girly girls all rolled into one. There was even a meme portraying the eroticization of smart women turning into air-headed hotties perpetuating stereotypes that intelligence and attractiveness are mutually exclusive. This characterization and attitude was popularized through Karen from Mean Girls, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian.
The New Age of Gen Z Bimbos
The resurgence of Bimboism is a rising trend, aesthetic, and lifestyle choice popularized through Tik Tok. #Bimbo has amassed over 664 million views on TikTok and thousands of new videos pop up every day. However, Gen Z is attempting to reclaim the term to promote female empowerment. Chrissy Chlapecka, arguably the most famous TikTok Bimbo, has 3.5 Million followers and 122.8million likes. She states that the new age of bimbos are not the inherently dimwitted and unchaste women of the past but self-assured women who do what they want for themselves. Women should no longer be bound by the societal expectations and judgments that criticize Bimbos for being comfortable in their bodies, sexualities, and themselves. She also asserts that bimbos are politically knowledgeable and stand up for what’s right, turning away from their mean girl stereotypes. She states, “the Bimbo is pro-sex work, pro BLM, pro LGBTQ, and will always be there for her girls, gays, and theys.” These traits serve to subvert the demonization of femininity and showcase that any femme can be confident and politically mindful no matter what they’re wearing, how they act, or whether or not they fit into societies expectations of what a woman should be.
hope this helped y’all during your bimbofication process MWUAH!
Bimbos are also increasingly inclusive and strive to cultivate a community of sparkles, safety, and self-acceptance with a surge in himbos, bimboys, and thembos (referring to male or nonbinary bimbos). Although most bimbos do tend to be white, there has also been an increase in bimbos of color. Syrena, also known as @fauxrich, is a Mexican-American Bimbo that has gained popularity on TikTok. She uses her platform as a WOC, anti-capitalist, and self-proclaimed “intelligent Bimbo”. She is a prominent figure on Bimbotok and stands by the beliefs that “ we [women] don’t have to ‘be’ anything to be taken seriously, as women should be taken seriously in all spaces regardless of how they look, part of Bimbofication is saying I’m not going to do it all, I’m just going to care for myself, feel good, and look pretty…” This rejection of societal norms empowers her and many others in several social circles.
Although Syrena refers to herself as intelligent, she explains that the very idea of intellect and academia is rooted in patriarchal and ableist norms. Syrena states that Bimbofication is “not a protest against intelligence, it’s kind of a protest against academia and how elitist and classist it is.”
While the Bimbos of past generations like Marilyn Monroe were criticized for their sexuality and femininity, the Gen Z Bimbos are using their looks to their advantage and often promote comeback plots with the rise of the Bimbo characters such as Elle Woods or real-life examples of reality star and now Buisinesswomen and aspiring Lawyer, Kim Kardashian. Gen Z itself embodies the stories of underdogs so it is not a surprise that this has transcended into the resurgence of Bimbofication.
Bimbos are everything but stupid!! Stop letting ur internalized misogyny make u hate girls for being feminine 💖IB: @lady.gaga.luver #bimbotiktok
As the rise of Bimboism and Bimbofication become trendier by the day, the internet has become divided on whether or not bimbos are transgressive or regressive. As much as modern-day Bimbos verbally promote gay rights, feminist ideologies, and political activism, their image and characteristics do not always align with their rhetoric.
Firstly, many have pointed out that the community is not as inclusive as it seems. Tiktokker and writer, @Haaniyah_ voices these concerns with a critical analysis stating that women of color that do not fit into the Euro-centric beauty model are not deemed as attractive and find it difficult to adhere to beauty standards perpetuated through Bimbofication.
Also, the historical ties to a lack of intelligence are not reversed with the implementation of a carefree attitude and confidence in oneself. Women of color are disproportionately seen as under-qualified and they do not have the same privilege as white women to simply “not care what others think”. This decision boils down to choice feminism which promotes empowering decisions on a person by person basis. However, as @Hanniyah_ states these choices do not exist in a vacuum and may disproportionately affect women of color or anyone without certain privileges in place. These women already have to work twice as hard to get half as far and by promoting Bimbofication they are vulnerable to negative stereotypes when they are already institutionally and systemically disadvantaged.
There is also the popular argument that bimbofication feeds into the male gaze. The male gaze, as defined by Laura Mulvey, can be defined as the viewpoint of women from a heteronormative and masculine viewer that sees women as sexual or insignificant objects. This was also mentioned by @haaniyah_ as she quoted author, feminist, and civil rights activist Audre Lord who said, “the masters tools will never dismantle the masters house”. This exemplifies the usage of scantily clad clothing and hyper-femininity used by bimbos to “take back” the meaning of the term while sexualizing themselves and tending to the male voyeur.
Another critique of bimboism lies within their promotion of anti-capitalist values by rejecting the notion that they need “marketable skills’ and academic success. This anti-capitalist agenda is contradicted by their consumption of consumer products, designer items, and life of luxury. This usage of expensive items furthers the exclusivity of bimboism and emphasizes the fact that most aesthetic and designer items are not accessible to everyone, namely those from lower income backgrounds. As long as Bimbos aestheticize glamorous lifestyles and incessant spending on material items then they can not truly be all-empowering.
Lastly, there is a lot of talk surrounding the trivialization of important and serious political issues. Standing up for civil rights, feminism, the LGBTQ, and sex-workers is not a trend and should not be treated as such. Youtuber Jordan Theresa compares this trendy usage of political knowledge to the Hello Kitty “ACAB” trend that waters down the movement against police brutality in the United States.
Without a doubt, the Bimbo is back and not going anywhere anytime soon. Gen Z is attempting to reclaim the term to rid it of it’s historical and negative roots. The New Age of Gen Z Bimbos take pride in what used to be used against them and is simply the next term in a long line of reclamations. Although it is easy to preach about inclusion, positivity, and a lack of judgement there needs to be fundamental changes to the aestheticized lifestyle in order for the movement to truly be all-empowering. With that said, Bimbos are not intentionally leaving out communities and are extremely welcoming and positive in their online presence. With an increasingly mindful outlook and non performative steps to increase inclusion and de-trivialize important issues the Bimbos will continue to make the world a sparklier more positive space.
And if you ever see one in the wild, don’t be shy, they’ll look at you and say “you can sit with us”.