The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Embrace tradition, reject ‘girlbossification’. Multitudes of TikTokers are joining the trend of becoming a ‘bimbo’ and taking other ironic measures against the girlboss era. This rejection of past radical feminism that encouraged the hardworking woman opens the door to more questions about feminism and what strategy of fighting for equality works.
TikTokers are using irony and humor to combat the everyday struggles they face when dealing with misogyny, such as embracing ‘basic’ interests and openly discussing their ‘fleabag era’.
“Bimbofication” is a term coined in the early 2000s where women transitioned from striving for the smart and serious aesthetic to a more faux ignorance and blatantly hot demeanor. Icons like Paris Hilton, who feigns a sort of air-headed look while also wearing the title of a very successful business woman, thrived. Paris Hilton is the perfect example of a feminist who doesn’t have to give up on looking glam or change for the perception of others. She publicly embraces who she is and encourages other women while still being successful.
This ‘bimbo era’ contrasts with the modern girlboss era, where feminists chose to fight for equality by strengthening their power in the work place. What originally started as a genuine fight against the patriarchy was diluted into what The Cut calls an infantilizing, toxic and inevitably sexist movement. Women pit themselves against other women to fit into the corporate environment. They weren’t working together to break the glass ceiling, rather the patriarchy convinced women to compete against each other as enemies and look down on traditionally feminine interests.
Refining the roots of feminism took a long time, as the girlboss era developed deep internalized sexism in many women. But now, TikTokers such as Glamdemon2004 have sparked a new revolution for feminism by questioning these motives and encouraging cynicism. We’re witnessing the rebirth of ‘bimbofication’ where women accept the feminine aspects of the early 2000s.
Besides ‘bimbofication’, the revolution started another TikTok trend where women post their feminine urges. These posts consist of simple things like the feminine urge to get iced coffee all the way to the feminine urge to roam free in wild flower fields. This reclamation of tradition and rejection of modernity has shifted the feminist conversation from directly challenging the patriarchy to passively refusing to put others down.
The idea behind the feminine urge is to radicalize the concept that women don’t have to water down their interests or urges in order to fit into society.
Another way for feminists to question their past values is by posting their ‘fleabag era’ TikToks. This originates from the tv show “Fleabag” that documents the ups and tragic downs of one woman, regarded as Fleabag, who plays off every situation in her life with her own sense of humor.
This type of show is popular for the extinction of ‘girbossification’ because in the past, women blamed their environments for their downfalls, (think of Hannah from the HBO tv show “Girls”), but this show explores an internal blaming method. Fleabag laughs at every embarrassing part of her life like it is a bit in a comedy show. It makes her a more palatable and relatable character because more often than not, taking responsibility for the things that happen in the world is hard and painful. But Fleabag makes it seem glamorous and nonchalant.
A niche concept from the show is the break of the fourth wall when Fleabag looks at the camera, sometimes rolling her eyes, sometimes laughing and sometimes explaining to the camera the inside scoop of the scene. This creates a strong connection between Fleabag and the audience, sort of mimicking the looks you would give your friends across a high school classroom when something funny happens. This ‘look’ that women share with each other appeals to the anti-girlboss TikTokers. They understand Fleabag’s expressions because many have been in the same position. Viewers see this glance as Fleabag’s way of criticizing misogyny and the pitfalls of the world around her, a reflection of their real-world experience.
This acceptance of internal issues and the inability to solve them is a progressive thought process for audiences. So now, women laugh off their problems, blame it on themselves and move on with the same air-headed demeanor as the ‘bimbos’ of the past. This new wave of feminism doesn’t care about conforming to misogynistic standards, the new wave cares about defining oneself.
Many are embracing this cynical feminist era, while others are calling this attitude unproductive and selfish because it doesn’t proactively solve misogyny. And though it seems like this new era gives up the fight for equality, feminists are actually trying to subliminally express how tired they are of explaining themselves to the patriarchy. Women don’t want to compete with each other anymore under patriarchal standards. This new wave of ‘bimbos’, inspired by TikTok, are connecting with each other and embracing their commonalities.