The bimbos are back. Did Meghan Markle miss the memo?

Jhere is a bimbofication recovery. Almost two decades ago, bimbo was used to describe your everyday 2000s ‘it girl’: Elle Woods, Regina George and the ‘Bimbo Summit’ that were Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan pictured in the front seat of Hilton’s Mercedes. Benz. Today, however, bimbo has taken on new meaning – one that is inclusive, hyper-feminine, anti-capitalist and an act of resistance. How did we get here and did we lose Meghan Markle along the way?

This week, the Duchess of Sussex interviewed Paris Hilton for her hit Spotify podcast, Archetypes, in an episode called “Breaking Down The Bimbo”. It was a gesture one would not expect from the Duchess, and one that I appreciated. The podcast episode acknowledged that Hilton simply took on the “bimbo” caricature to assert her own power over a media narrative, but bimbos are so much more than meets the eye.


During the podcast, Meghan admitted she was nervous about speaking with Hilton, mainly because of the American socialite’s closeness to bimbos. “I was that nerd, so it was so hard for me to think about what you and I were talking about when so much of the identity – whether it was imposed on you, or whether you adopted it, or kissed, or used to build a career – was not to bend over to be smart,” the 41-year-old royal told Hilton.

Earlier in the episode, Meghan admitted that she had her own experience of feeling like a bimbo during her time as a briefcase on the game show, Agree or disagree. She explained that other women were made to “queue” for beauty treatments, including having their bras padded, getting false eyelashes and receiving spray tan vouchers every week. Meghan said she left the show mid-season because she “didn’t like feeling pressured to be all looks and little substance”. More specifically, she didn’t like being reduced to the word “bimbo”.

However, Whoopi Goldberg claimed that was the nature of the job Meghan had signed up for. “The objectification can come from you and how you felt about how these women were portrayed, and that’s what you need to change, because we are performers,” Goldberg said during a recent episode of View. “When you’re an artist, you take the gig.”

“I don’t think Meghan is critical of anyone’s expression of femininity – or at least I hope she isn’t,” said Robin Lee Riley, assistant professor in the Department of Human Studies. Women and Gender from Syracuse University. “Criticism is not about focusing on appearance or on certain types of knowledge over others, but rather on being perceived as only your breasts enhanced or your skirt short, not as a thoughtful, interested and qualified person.

A long time ago (and if you’re Gen-Z like me, 2006 was a long time ago), bimbos were a wrong thing. Bimbo, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is a young woman considered attractive but not intelligent. She wears short skirts, lots of makeup, and is generally white and slim. She is seen as an oversexualized object, shaped by the male gaze, which works hand in hand with heteropatriarchy. All things considered, yes, it’s probably not something one should aspire to. I mean, there’s literally a bimbofification meme that depicts a woman wearing simple clothes and holding a book transforming into a bimbo version of herself, after first dropping the book on the floor. It’s like the cover of Animorphs series but for bimbos.

But, just like many derogatory words over the past decade, whose power has been taken over by the communities it once sought to marginalize, the word bimbo has been reclaimed. And it all started on BimboTok.

The hashtag #bimbo has amassed nearly two billion views on TikTok. This is largely due to TikTok creator Chrissy Chlapecka, who leads the new age bimbo movement. With blonde hair, pink outfits, quirky makeup and an Ariana Grande voice, Chlapecka had everything it takes to be a Grade A bimbo – until she defined what that actually means. to be one.

“Who is the Gen-Z bimbo?” Chlapecka asked in 2020, in a TikTok with over 2.4 million likes. “A bimbo is not stupid. I mean, she kinda is, but she’s not. this dumb.”

“She’s actually a radical leftist who is pro-sex work, pro-Black Lives Matter, pro-LGBTQ+, pro-choice, and will always be there for her daughters, gay and them,” she said. . For her, being a bimbo is about embracing her own version of femininity, being confident, staying away from toxic men, and accepting that the world is going to end one day, so might as well be yourself.

Of course, one could argue that a deliberate acceptance of the hyperfeminine traits that heteropatriarchy perpetuates, despite using them to your own advantage, is still a reflection of the male gaze. But bimbofification is not the first feminist movement on the Internet to toe this line.

Dissociative feminism – a term expertly defined by writer Emmeline Clein – refers to the type of feminism that is darkly comical, deadpan and nihilistic. It is categorized by women who are openly aware of the structures that oppress them, but who use intellectual detachment to avoid doing something about it. The younger, more chronically online sister of dissociative feminism is the dissociative pout, coined by cultural critic Rayne Fisher-Quann. Fisher-Quann writes for iD magazine: “…the dissociative pout is a detached feminist with a tongue-in-cheek meme page. She still cares about being sexy, but knows there’s nothing sexy about caring too much. And in times of discord, chaos and fear, a cultural descent into nihilism makes sense.

Bimbo recovery is in direct opposition to today’s current online feminist movements because it is not passive like dissociative feminism. It subverts once harmful stereotypes of femininity that were used by men to degrade women. Be careful, there is not only one way to embrace femininity. In fact, the term bimbo can also be used as a tool for queer liberation.

“Nobody can tell you how to be a bxmbo because it’s not about how people perceive you,” TikToker Griffin Maxwell Brooks said in a video, in response to Chlapecka. “Bxmbo has no gender, race, class or ability. The only requirement for bxmbofification is that you embrace and claim your body in the name of independence. No one can tell you what to do or how to label yourself. All that matters is that you are physically and mentally hot and sexy on your own terms.

In his TikTok, Chlapecka also added an important addendum to the bimbo clause. “It’s about emotional intelligence at the end of the day,” she said. Much of the bimbification in the past has been tied to this idea of ​​intelligence, or the lack thereof. Even the Duchess of Sussex said she projected “judgment and envy” towards Hilton, as Hilton was the “pretty” and Meghan was the “smart”.

For so long, women had to prove that they deserved to be taken seriously by men, and one of the ways to do that was to outdo them intellectually or financially. Thus was born the “girlboss”, a hyperambitious form of feminism that infiltrated in the 2010s, and focused on the individual successes of women in the male business world. But with the rise of left-leaning politics and Gen Z’s general distaste for late-stage capitalism, bimbos everywhere began to criticize the girlboss for her lack of inclusiveness. The bimbos recognize that there are many other things to worry about besides money or academic intelligence, such as mutual aid and the creation of networks of collective care. Plus, girlboss cringes.

Importantly, in her conversation with Hilton, Meghan highlights how the socialite embraced the ‘bimbo’ label as a defense mechanism – from the years of trauma she endured at Provo Canyon School in Utah and of the public frenzy surrounding his life. By embracing the media narrative of a bimbo, Hilton was able to find her own power in the word. But today’s bimbos have an ability that Hilton never had: identify as bimbos, rather than have it imposed on them.

Meghan Markle says she was treated like a “bimbo” in Deal or No Deal

Whether you’re a bimbo or not, everyone can benefit from bimbofication recovery. And before you ask, no, identifying as a bimbo or dressing hyper-feminine will not be the “end of feminism” as some might say. How can one individual dismantle an entire movement that has been going on for decades, with hundreds of iterations and new ideas forming on the internet every day? Bimboisism expresses femininity, without pitting one person against another for the way they choose to do so. Bimboisism says that women can be both pretty and smart. Did Revenge of a Blonde teach us nothing?

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