Zipper’s Guide to Bimbofication

By Mark Hay

In 2020, influencers on platforms like TikTok started extolling the virtues of bimbofication, the act of embracing and adopting the classical characteristics of a bimbo. Ever since, “BimboTok” and other communities built around the cultivation and celebration of hyper-femme aesthetics, intentional empty-headedness, and sexual boldness have grown rapidly in size and visibility.  

Dissecting Bimbo Archetypes

 

Think pieces galore have attempted to puzzle out where this broad interest in identifying with a traditionally derogatory term, lowbrow look, and supposedly regressive vibe came from—and what it means for society. Cultural critics have linked it to the ascent of celebrities like the Kardashians, who have helped to normalize the sorts of heavy makeup regimes and hyperreal body modifications that dovetail into bimbo archetypes. They’ve situated it within wider social reevaluations of pop depictions of bimbos—discourse that’s playing out at both the abstract academic level and in pop sensations like the Barbie movie—and the notions baked into them that femininity is frivolous, intellect ought to manifest in so-called respectable and marketable forms, and female sexuality ought to be shackled. They’ve suggested that the movement to mainstream bimbofication is part of a wider Gen Z clap-back at stolid social conventions—that for all its outward vapidness, bimbofication is a savvy radical political statement, tinged with overtones of queerness and overt anti-capitalism.

 

But almost none of the bimbofication advocates in the spotlight now, or the reporters covering their garish gospel, have acknowledged that communities built around the enthusiastic pursuit of bimbofication long predate the emergence of this mainstream movement: fetish communities

 

This oversight is somewhat understandable. Bimbofication-as-a-fetish is “pretty niche,” as Ruby Roberts, an adult content creator who’s chronicling her own kinky bimbofication journey online, puts it. “It’s not a massive community.” In fact, the world of bimbofication kinks is so small, and until recently so fragmented, that many folks involved in the wider fetish-sphere don’t know much about it. But it’s still an oversight worth correcting, especially for those seeking a fuller picture of the precedent for and context of bimbofication-writ-large’s current cultural moment. So Zipper reached out to a handful of bimbofication fetishists, including content creators who’ve observed or participated in this world for decades, to put together a guide to the basics. 

 

Becoming a Bimbo

 

In many respects, kinky bimbofication looks a lot like mainstream bimbofication. It’s a process of changing aspects of your appearance and person in order to embody “bimbo” ideals. These may be temporary tweaks, only adopted during play, or permanent alterations. They may involve “changes in clothes, makeup, speech patterns, behavior, and body modifications such as cosmetic surgery” to hyper-accentuate every traditional feminine trait of one’s body, explains Roberts. As with mainstream modern bimbos, there’s a great deal of variation in how far bimbofication fetishists pursue these alterations. At the far end, they may engage in practices like daily mental training and exercises to fully empty one’s mind, and surgeries like rib removals to starkly narrow one’s waist and highlight key curves. 

 

The big difference between mainstream bimbofication and bimbofication-as-a-fetish is simply that most folks on the fetish side of the fence get something sensual out of the process.

 

We know that the concept of a bimbo, which stems from the Italian word for baby, bambino, first emerged in the 1920s, but only became a consistent and widely recognizable archetype in the 1980s. Even at that time, the image of the bimbo was already highly sexually charged, and that’d likely long fueled people’s pursuit of or interest in the aesthetic—but there wasn’t yet a clear fetish community built around the process of bimbofication.  

Bimbofication’s Appeal

 

The bimbofication fetishists Zipper spoke to for this story mostly suspected that the seeds of bimbofication-the-kink gradually developed within the wider transformation fetish ecosystem. That’s where Mr. Phoenyxx, an adult comic artist who specializes in bimbofication content, stumbled upon the fetish nearly three decades ago. While exploring breast expansion content on the early internet, he encountered and got into art and stories depicting wider transformations that all converged towards the bimbo vibe. By the 2010s, bimbofication was an established tag within transformation fetish art communities.

 

Part of the potential appeal of bimbofication certainly overlaps with the appeal of transformation art and play writ large: Mr. Phoenyxx notes that he and many others are drawn to both bimbofication and other types of transformation because they love the idea of seeing what they already consider sexy traits amplified past the point of reality. Sortimid, another longtime bimbofication artist and enthusiast, explains that bimbofication is one of many types of transformation content they used to explore elements of their sexuality that they’d repressed in response to their upbringing. Roberts adds that as a trans woman, the idea of transformation kinks are appealing as a manifestation of bodily autonomy—of the reality that “we don’t have to accept nature and can change things to how we want them to be.” She and Sortimid both pointed out that a significant portion of the bimbofication fetish world seems to be trans. 

 

“Bimbofication proudly embraces femininity, which is so often looked down upon, and seen as lesser than masculinity,” adds Roberts. “Ideas of femininity and autonomy are all tied up together because often women aren’t afforded the same level of bodily autonomy that men are. Bimbofication takes the power out of the negative framing of women’s sexual autonomy”

 

Giving Up Control

 

Like other forms of transformation, while bimbofication can be a self-propelled journey, it can also involve giving up control of some or all of the process to a trainer, or a community, often as part of a wider D/s power dynamic. Imposed or guided transformation play can involve aspects of sadomasochism and humiliation, Sortimid points out—in the case of bimbofication, playing with the stigmas around the image of the bimbo. Or it may involve hypnosis, Roberts adds, to draw a person deeper into their transformation. (Bimbofication transformation hypnosis drew critical press coverage earlier this year, when several women accused a trainer of using the practice on people who weren’t familiar with erotic hypnosis safety practices in order to manipulate them. This has led to a degree of backlash against all bimbofication kinks.)  

 

Bimbos are not all submissives, though. Some use their hyper-feminine appeal to dominate the (typically) men who’re obsessed with them, in the process subverting the idea that bimbo aesthetics exist solely to serve the male gaze. A few use the concept of this power to create dynamics in which they financially dominate or humiliate their male partners as well. 

 

But bimbofication also taps into desires that other forms of transformation fetishes don’t. Pink, a prominent bimbo trainer, points out that for some fetishists the transformation process itself isn’t appealing—it’s embodying, or seeing someone else embody, the unique character of a bimbo. Roberts says she’s always liked the gestalt “fake” look of bimbos in and of itself, so achieving that borderline unreal overarching aesthetic is a big part of the appeal for her. 

 

There’s a unique “appeal to the ‘dumbing down’ aspect of bimbofication” too, Roberts adds. “I’ve recently started studying for a PhD about bimbofication, so I’m not stupid” in everyday life, she explains. “But often, being perceived as intelligent can put a lot of pressure on me, which can leave me feeling anxious or overwhelmed. To be treated as if I’m not intelligent, even for a little bit, can be nice.” 

 

As awareness of and interest in bimbofication expanded within both transformation porn circles and the wider world, communities dedicated solely to bimbofication art, or to chronicling real-life people’s bimbofication journeys, started to pop up around 2013. By 2016, Pink developed “a much-needed framework for the whole process of bimbofication and the idea of what a bimbo is,” which he published via his Pink Bimbo Academy training platform, in an effort to centralize the increasingly visible and vibrant dedicated bimbofication fetish space. (That same year, the kink and fetish platform—and Zipper‘s publisher—Clips4Sale created a bimbofication content category.) And in 2017, adult bimbofication content creators broke through into wider cultural awareness—albeit via confused tabloid tales of aspiring bimbos and Twitter drama about whether or not bimbofication art is misogynistic. Pearl-clutching about the social implications of bimbofication fetish content at the time perfectly predicted the hand-wringing about the purported prospect setting feminism back decades by (supposedly) endorsing female objectification that swirls around mainstream bimbofication social movement today. 

 

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2019 me… versus 2023 me!

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Bimbos, Himbos, Stepford Wives, and Dolls

 

Despite centralizing efforts like Pink’s, the nascent bimbofication fetish space has always been fairly fragmented—to the point that many people used radically different terms for it, Sortimid recalls, like bimboization, bimbotization, and bimboification, before selling on bimbofication. (“Finding content was harder” before that terminological convergence, they recall.) So it should come as no surprise that “bimbofication means different things to different people, like most fetishes,” as Mr. Phoenyxx puts it. Or that “there are certainly all kinds of bimbos now.” 

 

Most subdivisions in the bimbofication kink space align with varied ideas about the specific characteristics that define a bimbo. 

 

Pink argues that many facets of the bimbo, like the focus on makeup as a tool for the hyperreal accentuation of key physical traits, are ancient and near-universal. But he and most others also acknowledge that “the bimbo as we knew it today was mostly formed by Western beauty standards,” as he puts it, especially those rooted in mid-to-late-20th century American feminine ideals: Hourglass silhouettes. Bleach blonde hair. Pink apparel. Although this archetype has spread across the world, and spawned regional offshoots, arguably including Japan’s Gyaru subculture, it originated in, and was always most accessible, to white, cis women with conventionally attractive body types—especially straight women with disposable income. This is still the image of bimbo-hood that most people involved in bimbofication pursue. And it’s probably no coincidence that, as Pink notes, the bimbofication fetish world is overwhelmingly white.   

 

But many people are drawn to what they see as the essence of the concept of the bimbo—the general accentuation of feminine traits, pursuit of empty-headedness, and sexual straight-forwardness. These folks have formed sub-kinks around distinct visions of how to manifest those values, according to their own cultural norms and beauty standards. So even within the tiny world of bimbo kink, it’s possible to find communities celebrating efforts to become fit, goth, or princess bimbos—and more. While some communities believe only women can become bimbos, others embrace the idea of men or non-binary folk becoming himbos, nimbos, or thembos. (Unsurprisingly, women can also be bimbo trainers.) Mr. Phoenyxx adds that there’s also variation in what sort of behaviors people focus on, and how they do so. Some bimbofication fetishists zero in on the quest to become ditzy above all else, for example, while others see bimbofication as a purely visual transformation, not a mental shift. Some only embody bimbo-ness during play, or for short periods, while others engage in transformation work and live as bimbos full-time. “If you asked 100 people how a bimbo acts,” Mr. Phoenyxx stresses, “you’d probably get a hundred answers.” 

 

There are also subcultures built around the blending of already hyper-niche bimbofication with other hyper-niche fetishes. Notably: 

 

  • Bimbofication can merge into dollification, or “doll fetish,” a kink all about the quest to become a human doll—whether a lifeless one, or one shaped, animated, and manipulated by a doll maker. Doll fetish may involve role-play as a tin soldier, a robot, or a rag doll, but when mixed with bimbofication it often involves transformation towards the specific unreal beauty standards manifested in toys like a Barbie, or in outright sex dolls. 

 

  • Bimbofication can intersect with fetishes around mid-20th century domestic dynamics in the form of Stepfordization—transformation into an uncanny, subservient Stepford Wife.

 

  • Bimbofication that intersects with gender play can take the form of men, to take one example, transforming willingly, or at a dominant partner’s behest, into a female bimbo.

 

The list goes on and on. 

 

Battling Mainstream ‘Bimboism’

 

It’s hard to say if or how the vibrant world of bimbofication fetishes influenced the recent rise of mainstream, PG bimbofication trend—in part because folks in space like BimboTok don’t seem all that eager to discuss the fetish side of things. Zipper reached out to a dozen mainstream bimbofication influencers for this story. Only one replied, and only to pointedly state that her bimbofication content is not fetish-related, and that Zipper should never contact her again.

 

Some of the earliest modern cultural conversations about bimbofication were sparked by fetish content on social media, albeit this discourse was limited. And a few fetish figures, like the bimbofication content creator Alicia Amira, have clawed their way into conversations about the general mainstreaming of bimbo vibes and values. So it’s possible that bimbofication-the-fetish influenced bimbofication-the-mainstream-social-trend. But Sortimid points out that, in practice, BimboTok and similar mainstream communities “feel like their own separate thing.”  

 

The rapid rise of the parallel world mainstream bimbofication irks fetishists like Pink. He goes so far as to label mainstream bimbofication advocates cultural appropriators, who’ve “invaded, twisted, and redefined” something from fetish world to their own ends without acknowledgment or input. “This is one of the reasons that I see it as my duty to gatekeep bimbofication,” he says. 

 

Others like Roberts simply worry about the risk of confused mainstreamers stumbling into fetish spaces unawares. (One of Roberts’ friends thinks mainstream bimbofication should be called bimboism, to better differentiate these worlds.) About how the narrowness of the mainstream vision of what it means to be a bimbo denies some fetishists their hard-won bimbo-hood. (“I know bimbos who have right-wing views,” she says. “While I don’t agree with them, I wouldn’t say they’re not bimbos because of it,” despite mainstream bimbofication’s explicitly progressive political positioning.) And about the risk of popularization leading, in the inevitable capitalist progress, to a commodification of bimbo-dom that flattens out the idea—and its appeal.

 

“Obviously, this isn’t to say we should gatekeep,” she says. “I’m in favor of bimbofication being open to all those who are genuinely interested in it, whether that be for the kink aspects or not. But the best way to keep the community alive is probably to keep it just weird enough.” 

 

But no matter their trepidations about or consternation with mainstream bimbofication, everyone Zipper spoke to within the fetish world suspects that a growing awareness of bimbofication writ large will draw ever more people towards the fetish. And that it’ll make it easier for people to explore longstanding interests in becoming bimbos, with less fear of social backlash for adopting what is an increasingly acceptable look and persona. “It can only be a good thing when we bring any fetish into the mainstream,” Mr. Phoenyxx argues. “It benefits us when these sorts of things are out in the open, and we can talk about them… That only helps us accept each other.”

 

Mark-Hay-Headshot

Mark Hay is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer who covers sex and sexuality, among other beats. You can also find his work in The Daily Beast, Mel Magazine, VICE, and many, many other outlets.

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