A Zillenial take on modern femininity and embracing bimbo-ism.
(Collage image by me, models are Clermont Twins)
Alicia Amira, founder of Be a Bimbo, has mentioned “fake bimbos” on a few occasions. This got me thinking quite a bit about the dorkiness of the modern Bimbo movement. I’m a Neo-Bimbo. Like pretty much everything else Gen Z has ruined with academic jargon, the “Bimbo” archetype has a million corny think pieces already written about it. I hope you learn something new from this one!
Fashion and culture tend to look to 20 years prior for inspiration. Most likely because girls who grew up in awe at those trends at 5-10 years old are now old enough to buy stuff. As a young grade school kid, I wanted nothing more than a belly button ring like Britney Spears and crimped hair like Lizzie McGuire. My dream car is a Volkswagen beetle solely because of the Y2K Barbie crossover campaign–that is, I ever learn to drive. The Y2K era was also renowned for hyper-femininity being pushed to the media forefront. Media ‘bimbos’ were tabloid darlings and they defined Y2K culture. Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Anna Nichole Smith…our culture loved (and hated) Blonde women with big tits. As the absolute cheesiness of the early 2000s slowly died, Bimbos were first to go. Not only was it “not cool” but this trope become vehemently denounced. It was no longer attractive to aspire to be attractive. It was disempowering for women.
I fall right on the cusp of Gen Z and Millenial. A firm Zillenial. I grew up watching Ali G and Flavor of Love with my young Gen X mom & aunt who were both in their 20s. I saw the PG-13 Mean Girls at age 7 in theaters and was allowed to consume most media besides horror films or pornography. I remember pay phones, but they were pretty much desolate by the time I was old enough to be by myself in public.
Therefore, I get it. I get the repulsion towards hyper-femininity that many Millenial and Gen X women have. In the 1980s(when Gen X had adolescence ) and the early-mid 2000s(Millenial adolescence), the media had strong expectations of traditional femininity towards women. It’s natural that these women would have an aversion. Zillennials and Gen Z, had the opposite experience. We grew up in a time when girls were being pushed into STEM and being “not like other girls” was the aspiration. This is why many of us embrace hyper-femininity because it’s now counter culture.
So, what is a Neo-Bimbo actually? The media’s Bimbo is a sexually attractive ‘slut’ too dumb for her own good. These women were objectified by mainstream society as sex objects and later thrown away by Girl Boss Feminism which says you need to adopt hyper-masculinity to be worth a damn. They also don’t exist outside of caricatures. They’re a cipher for femininity which society loves to collectively shit on. Horror / Slasher is an entire film genre dedicated to brutalizing them. The great equalizer in the “gender war”. Men hate them for being beautiful, confident, and vapid. Other women hate them because their presence allegedly threatens the success of women the world over.
Of course, mainstream society still promoted femininity for women, but it’s very delicate. It’s the demure Girl(boss) next door who has a big corporate job but she always keeps a mani-pedi. That’s cool, but it sucks that any other expression of femininity is frowned upon. Most important, the bimbo aesthetic is usually a signifier of working-class femininity. Long decorates nails, luscious hair extensions, thick false eyelashes, and giant bolt-ons on full display. This is why it’s easy to laugh at. That’s why Britney Spears, Anna Nichole Smith, and Jessica Simpson were laughed at. Because “White trash” and “ghetto” femininity are not worth respect in America. Our country loves femininity—just not in that way.
Neo-Bimboism is a performance with conscious intention. The way that hipsters embraced the American working man, neo-Bimboism has reclaimed working-class hyper-femininity that has long been satirized. A sort of irony in the form of embracing gender stereotypes while simultaneously subverting them. Women can be beautiful, intelligent, sexual, and kind. We reject society’s gender binary where women have to choose between beauty/sex and intellectualism/respect.
Not only is it a cognizant performance, it’s also recognizing the power of femininity. Femininity and Masculinity are to forces within all of us, regardless of gender. I believe people should explore each of these energies as they please. However, in a world that tells young women to act like Gordon Gecko in a skirt suit to get ahead—I say, no. True equality is having absolute autonomy in how we express ourselves. As a women, we deserve rights—even within femininity. Not in spite of it.
Many people critique “bimbo” as appealing to the male gaze. For what bimbo-ism is: hyper “white trash”/”ghetto”/”chola” femininity it’s not accepted in the main society. Much like Japanese Lolita and Gyaru fashion, it’s very much hyper feminine for the feminine gaze. A girls’ girl if I may. However, some women may be appealing to men—who cares. It’s an unfortunate reality but men the world’s power.
I’m a neo-bimbo. I’m a nerd who studied femininity with a lazer focus and have consciously decided to embrace it. I have plenty of woman friends who have embraced masculinity and are empowered by it. I love that for them. True equality is celebrating womanhood in all of its expressions!