The negative perception of bimbos in popular culture has always been a mystery to me. A bimbo is by definition an “attractive but unintelligent or frivolous young woman”, we see countless bimbos in various types of media, whether she be a socialite like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie or an influencer like Kim Kardashian. The main similarity that all of these women have is the fact that they have found a way to profit off of their hyperfemininity. To many they are seen as feebleminded and dense but I view them as marketing goddesses and advertisement aficionados.
It is almost illegal to talk about bimbo culture without bringing up the quintessential bimbo and blinging crowned ruler of all airheads, Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton is a cultural phenomenon and an icon of the early 2000s who was notoriously famous for being a glamorous, overtly sexual, remarkably messy, socialite. I could go on forever about Paris and the slightly unhealthy obsession I have with her but I would like to specifically focus on the comedic aspect she possesses. If you have never seen the show The Simple Life you desperately need to brush up on your early Y2K culture and enlighten yourself with its presence. The Simple Life is a reality tv show in which Paris and her best friend Nicole Richie try to do “normal people” things in order to understand the “real world”. This, of course, leads to pure catastrophe and chaos because of their complete idiocy and inept nature. They do things such as hijacking the sign of a Sonic Burger restaurant they work at, changing the lettering to say “ANAL SALTY WEINER BUGERS” and when confronted by their manager, who is trying her hardest to stifle her laughter, Paris simply replies “I’m not a good speller”. If you need further evidence of Paris’s hilariously comedic nature just look at one of her tweets from 2017 below:
I am a firm believer in the sheer comedic skills that a bimbo possesses and believe that The Simple Life is a notable example of this. Some people may think that the show is a real, unscripted depiction of what Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are really like, despite Paris literally discussing in her recent Netflix documentary This is Paris that she was playing a caricature, but I have always known that the show is complete satire. It is meant to be a criticism of the extraordinarily wealthy and their sheer inability to comprehend how working class people live. Paris and Nicole might be real people but they are in no way as idiotic and clueless as portrayed in that show. The reason they receive so much criticism is because of the fact that they are confident, sexual, and hyperfeminine. The comedian Eric Andre has a show called The Eric Andre Show in which he is an absolute ignoramus and as destructive as he is absolutely random. In this irreverent piece of television he interviews celebrities, making them extremely uncomfortable by staring at them directly in the eyes and asking questions such as “Do you believe in God?” while moments later having random men in the shadows of the studio, breathing heavily and eyeing the guests. He also does skits, a famous one being “Kraft Punk” in which he dons a cheese themed costume and vomits American cheese onto bystanders. The reason I bring up Eric Andre is because people watch his show and know its satire. They laugh along at his jokes and know that when they are watching his interviews that he is an entirely different person in real life, and nothing like his character in the show. Why is it that Eric gets to be off the hook from playing a character with the same name while Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and countless other famous bimbos are taken at face value and treated as if they are the same as their personas? I believe it is because, you guessed it, misogyny. A woman acting unintelligent and sexual is extremely dangerous to the society because women need to be virginal, quiet, unassuming beings. Not actual people who are complex and dirty.
Kim Kardashian is another famous bimbo that I think deserves more respect and understanding than people are willing to give her. Some people are quick to utter the exceptionally idiotic statement that she “got famous off of a sex tape.” According to Pornhub’s insights “Pornhub’s amateurs, models and content partners uploaded an incredible 4.79 million new videos” in 2018 out of all of those people who made these sex tapes, how many of them have a net worth of 900 million dollars, a successful, long-running, television show, a shapewear company, cosmetic and fragrance brands, and even a popular mobile app (which I am extremely embarrassed to say I was addicted to when I was 14). I would like to clarify that I am not advocating for her disgustingly corrupt and capitalistic lifestyle, I am simply stating the fact that she did build an empire through good marketing skills and managed to keep her relevance which in turn made her and her family millionaires. The character Kim plays in her show is, much like Paris and Nicole, the stupid spoiled rich girl trope. There are countless moments of hilarity throughout Keeping up with the Kardashians such as the iconic time that Kim was having a mental breakdown because she lost her diamond earring or the time she was taking selfies when her sister Khloe went to jail. The show is crammed with these immensely hysterical moments and, much like The Simple Life, is a satire of the rich frivolous family and how separated from the real world they truly are. People have a hatred for the talent of being talentless but won’t stop watching because of the captivating nature of these women.
As much as I do celebrate hyperfemininity it is true that it is not always peaches and cream. Hyperfemininity can be defined as “extremely or excessively feminine”. It can be criticized as being just as harmful as toxic masculinity. Of course I do not agree that it is the same amount of harmful because toxic masculinity has roots in violence while hyperfemininity can be linked to more of an emotionally charged negative effect, but nevertheless hyperfemininity can also hurt people:
Murnen and Byrne described the hyperfeminine woman along three dimensions: (a) the importance of relationships with men, (b) the use of sex to gain or maintain a romantic relationship, and (c) the preference for traditional male behavior in partners. The hyperfeminine woman is portrayed as someone who is committed to maintaining a relationship, will manipulate men and expect and tolerate coercion to stay in the relationship, and would rather seduce a man than communicate openly about the relationship.
This, of course, is the more toxic side of hyperfemininity and should not be embraced or perpetuated as an okay way of being. These traits ultimately hurt both women and men and are incredibly unhealthy. However, with that being said, I would like to counter this with my earlier point: the bimbo, to me, is a character, a complete fabrication, and the existence of the bimbo is to critique society’s negative views and assumptions towards feminine women.
The lesson that Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian can teach people is how to use a corrupt society’s negative views on hyperfeminine women in order to profit off of the capitalist world they live in. They have managed to generate and keep their large platforms, make their fortunes, and secure their luxurious lifestyles through the use of scandal, sexuality, and outrageous behavior because they know those are the things that the public craves to see. People want to read about sexual sins and glamorous life styles because it is an escape from their normal, typically monotonous lives. All of the women that I spoke of were playing the character of bimbos in order to profit off of the hatred people held for them. The bimbo is not actually real because people cannot be simply categorized as dumb, frivilous, and simple, even if society is quick to do so. I think that the bimbo deserves celebration, not ridicule and most definitely deserves a lot more credit than she is given.
Some (specially men) may disagree but I firmly believe we still live in a chauvinistic society. Judging women just for having a lot of the same feelings or desires that men do. And agreeing with Elis, this is the only reason why these girls made it this far. Unsecure men watch them and judge them as well as tons of repressed women who are the reason for such high ratings. I personally wish women would t have to use their sexuality to make a living but hey, that’s what makes our world diverse and unique.
Eloquently written and completely agree, Simple life is the best show on Television