Rebranding the “Bimbo”
In 2022, young people have abandoned traditional theories of feminism and equality. Instead, they’re concentrating on something far more optimistic and unexpected: “bimboism.” But what exactly is a bimbo? Isn’t “bimbo” a derogatory term? And what does this have to do with mental health? The answer is, shockingly, quite a lot.
Traditionally, “bimbo” was defined as an attractive but insipid or “dumb” woman. Nowadays, young people are looking to reclaim the word. Feminist Theory has been prevalent in mental health counseling for decades; The work of Karen Horney comes to mind. But Millenials and Generation Z have a new take on feminism. Shot into the zeitgeist by Tiktok and Generation Z, the modern “bimbo” is the lovechild of social media and third-wave feminism. She stands for equality for all and, surprisingly, self-care & mental health. Syrena, a Tiktok creator known as @fauxrich, defined a bimbo as a traditionally or hyper-feminine woman often villainized for her love of traditionally feminine things, including self-care, caring for one’s physical appearance, and being in touch with one’s emotions. Griffin Maxwell Brooks, a Tiktok content creator, expanded on “the study of bimbology” in a video, saying, “nobody can tell you how to be a bimbo, since it isn’t about how people see you.” They continued, “There is no gender, class, color, or ability in the bimbo. The only prerequisite for bimbofication is embracing and reclaiming your body in the name of independence.”
For years, psychologists, therapists, and other mental health workers have worked for equal rights for both men and women. Unfortunately, in modern media and Western culture, traditionally feminine interests (such as watching romantic comedies, enjoying a spa day, or participating in any form of feminine activities as self-care) were seen as superficial, shallow, and for the unintelligent. Even in medical and mental health fields, the deep disdain for female emotions can be seen. For example, the verbiage of Histrionic Personality Disorder, with “histrionic,” originating from the Greek prefix hystera, meaning “womb” or “uterus.” Extreme emotions, attention-seeking behavior, and even being excessively consumed with grooming are all female-coded symptoms of HPD.
While the sub-culture of the new-age bimbo is relatively new on social media, what she represents is clear: a new, radical acceptance of all things traditionally feminine, including the full spectrum of her emotions, interests, and preferred self-care.
Written by Victoria Baker, Graduate Student in Mental Health Counseling