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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Bimbo is a term that emerged in popular English language usage in the early 20th century to describe an often attractive, yet idiotic woman. The usage of this term began in the United States as early as 1919. The 1929 silent film, Desert Nights, describes a cheap female crook as a bimbo. This word derives from the Italian bimbo, a word of masculine gender that means (male) baby or very young (male) child (its feminine equivalent is bimba). The 50’s song “Bimbo”, about a toddler, was one of the early hits for the popular American singer Jim Reeves. Its first usage in English was for stupid men; it now is understood to mean a woman unless modified as male bimbo, himbo, or mimbo. Some still prefer the explicitly female variant bimbette, which has also entered The American Heritage Dictionary. Others use bimbette for a younger bimbo, because the suffix "-ette" signifies a smaller version as in French or Spanish "-ito/-ita" suffix.

The archetype of a bimbo with sex appeal is much used as a stock character in comedies with sexual humor, an example being Christina Applegate’s character, Kelly Bundy, in Married... with Children. Alicia Silverstone’s character, Cher Horowitz, in Clueless is more accurately described as a valley girl, a similar archetype with more laughably unusual priorities and behaviors than are strictly derived from the bimbo themes of comical stupidity and sex appeal.

An older comedy archetype of perhaps more direct resemblance to the bimbo is the dumb blonde—for example, the giggling, naïve characters portrayed by such sultry actresses as Marilyn Monroe or, as she appeared on Laugh-In, Goldie Hawn. Humor depicting all blonde women as stupid is often considered sexist.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bimbo" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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