Written by Dahlia Chase.
Art by Dahlia Chase and “AK”.
It took me a long time to hop onto the bimbo train. As someone who loves the aesthetic and everything to do with dollification, I was reluctant to actually identify as a “bimbo.” I felt specifically resistant to the anti-intellectual aspect of it. The thing is, I’ve struggled with my sense of intelligence for most of my life. By the time I learned that my issues were actually reflective of ADHD and a learning disability in math, my identity was already severely impacted. I felt hesitant to call myself a bimbo because most of my life has been marked by desperate attempts to minimize and conceal these impairments.
I found myself increasingly drawn to the fluid, interchangeable language of “bimbo” and “dumb bitch.” During quarantine, I saw a wave of bimbo, dumb bitch themed tweets, and I loved the silly, ridiculous nature of it all. I’ve always taken comfort in people’s use of the absurd in order to cope with a chaotic, often senselessly cruel world. But aside from the comic relief, these tweets made me realize a lot about myself.
I found myself increasingly drawn to the fluid, interchangeable language of “bimbo” and “dumb bitch.”
Proliferation of pro-bimbo culture online validated my love for “created” beauty, while soothing an insecurity I didn’t want to admit I had. After reading a tweet describing the many types of dumb bitch that exist (and how dumbness in one area doesn’t necessarily translate to dumbness in another), I jumped up and down and thought “That’s me! I can keep a houseplant alive, but I can’t count without my fingers!” I was ready to buy the ticket and take the ride, but my social circle seemed less than enthused to see me board the bimbo train.
The word seems to evoke such an immediate, visceral response in people, which might explain my initial resistance. “Slut” can be empowering, but “bimbo” has yet to be reclaimed, and I wonder what it is about the bimbo archetype that unsettles people. I think it’s about time we support the word’s place in feminist vernacular, or at least start an open dialogue discussing our hesitation to.
I think there’s an interesting irony to the bimbo archetype: she meets society’s traditional, gendered demands by adhering to her femininity, but she crosses a line with the almost comically exaggerated, overtly sexual and confident manner in which she expresses that femininity. It’s almost as if her reinterpretation of femininity signals too much bodily ownership, or her blatant rejection of humility offends patriarchal expectations of good natured, “feminine” women.
The word seems to evoke such an immediate, visceral response in people, which might explain my initial resistance. “Slut” can be empowering, but “bimbo” has yet to be reclaimed, and I wonder what it is about the bimbo archetype that unsettles people.
As womxn continue to battle these archaic social pressures, we also find ourselves in a world where we are expected to do it all; to be the mother and career woman, to encompass beauty, intellect, and ambition whilst never letting one characteristic outshine any other for too long. These days it can be difficult to avoid feeling like you’re disappointing any one side of the feminist aisle by choosing a lifestyle that doesn’t represent some effort towards balance.
The freeing thing I realized is that the bimbo doesn’t care about balance. The bimbo is comfortably open in sharing her dumb bitch moments. Simultaneously she disrupts the patriarchy and offends the “modern feminist” take on the intellectually balanced woman. To me, the bimbo archetype represents a sort of self-imposed social exile. The bimbo is unphased by the ever-changing ideas of womanhood. She knows what she’s about; she knows what pleases her aesthetically and she cannot be bothered to prove her competence to others. She is sippin’ margaritas in a Catherine D’lish robe and contemplating her next manicure, while the world around her invents the latest catch-22 for women.
The bimbo is unphased by the ever-changing ideas of womanhood. She knows what she’s about; she knows what pleases her aesthetically and she cannot be bothered to prove her competence to others. She is sippin’ margaritas in a Catherine D’lish robe and contemplating her next manicure, while the world around her invents the latest catch-22 for women.
When I started thinking about what “bimbo” meant to me, I realized it meant accepting my shortcomings in an exaggerated, unapologetic, humorous fashion. Before I had the validation of a diagnosis, my ADHD and math disability had me constantly questioning my intelligence. I knew I wasn’t “stupid,” but goddamn if my dumb bitch moments didn’t lead me to feeling truly inadequate at times.
I was terrified to speak up in class because I didn’t want to call attention to my slowness when everyone else seemed to be breezing through. I was constantly berated by my family for losing track of my thoughts so easily, or for how difficult it was to translate my thoughts into coherent, intelligible speech. I had friends do double takes at my sheer inability to subtract double digit numbers in my head. I felt so much confusion towards the way I excelled in some types of intelligence, while proving to be astonishingly inferior in others.
To clarify: I am not necessarily proud of my shortcomings, but I’m also not ashamed to admit that they exist. I’m advocating for the kindness that comes with recognizing that we all struggle in different ways, and that we all demonstrate intellectual strengths and weaknesses in different, equally valid ways. I reconciled the parts of myself that felt in opposition with one another when I realized that we all have an inner dumb bitch, and that we all manifest our dumb bitch moments differently. It doesn’t detract from our overall intelligence, and it doesn’t make us any less deserving of dignity. I’m working on my areas of incompetence, but I’m embracing my inner dumb bitch while I do it.
And I’m realizing it’s a lot more fun this way. My identity feels a lot more whole. It feels more accurate to proclaim to myself: I’m a graduate student with aspirations for a career in research and I’m a bimbo bitch who will live and die with her titties out and false lashes intact. My aesthetic indulgences don’t reflect upon my professional abilities; and I can take comfort in knowing my identity that isn’t limited by binary language or stereotypes. This has helped me make peace with the fact that my diagnoses cannot be cured, only treated and worked on. In a world where my disabilities have felt like a cruel life sentence, hopping on the bimbo train has allowed me to respond with levity instead of embarrassment or bitterness.
About the Author
Dahlia Chase is a former sex worker who studies psychology in California. When she’s not tending to her rooftop garden, she can be found swimming in the ocean, titties akimbo.