With emo having a revival, there’s been a lot of talk about accountability in the scene; bands are being called out for alleged inappropriate behaviour or enabling predatory behaviour. When I was growing up, bands allegedly sleeping with young fans was an open secret.
At the time, we were too young to know any better. We just thought that was something rockstars did. Now as adults, we can see that a grown man in a band, has no business pursuing a teenage fan. So, is bimbocore making the alt scene better?
TL;DR: Since Scene Queen started promoting her song 18Plus, it feels like there’s been more momentum than ever when it comes to calling out inappropriate behaviour. Although, there has been a few #MeToo moments, it never quite took off in the alt scene like it did elsewhere. So, I really hope this is the start of a better era.
Plus, for a subculture that – ironically – hates individually, it’s giving women permission to dress how they really want.
What Is Bimbocore?
Bimbocore definition: Bimbocore embraces pink and Y2K aesthetics. It’s about women embracing their girly sides, because it makes them happy and confident.
Isn’t Bimbocore Anti-Feminist?
I’ve seen other women argue that bimbocore isn’t progressive at all. Since you’re presenting yourself in a hyperfeminine way, aren’t you just playing into the male gaze?
Although, I can see where people come from with that, I don’t agree. I don’t think feminism is about women covering up or diluting ourselves because we’re afraid men will like how we look.
Plus, a lot of how these women present themselves isn’t even in a way the “male gaze” approves of. Think Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad vs. Birds of Prey; one is for the male gaze and one is bright and fun.
It’s hypocritical to suggest you can’t be a feminist because you shave your armpits, wear pink, and like sex. Feminism is not about hating men, or wanting to put men down, it’s about levelling the playing field. We want to elevate women and minorities.
If you want to dress like a bimbo for no other reason that it makes you happy, confident and comfortable, why let hypothetical men ruin that?
We should all be able to do what we want. If you like to dress conservatively or wear unconventional clothes or don’t shave or wear makeup, good for you! Likewise, good for the bimbos if that style makes them happy and confident. As long as you’re doing what you do for the right reasons, I don’t see a problem.
Where Did Bimbocore Come From?
According to, CR, “bimbofication” came about in 2017, when people online reversed the infamous “de-bimbofication” graphic. The original graphic depends a stereotypical bimbo picking up a book, and slowly changing her style until she was brunette and dressing more conservatively.
I remember seeing the original graphic in the early 2010s on Tumblr. There was a lot of “I’m-not-like-the-other-girls” going on in those days. So, people made fun of it, but not as much as they did in 2017.
Through the late 2010s, a lot of women started embracing stereotypically girly things more, after the 2000s and first half of the 2010s was rife with pick-me attitudes. I used to intentionally walk around my university campus dressed like a goth Elle Woods to piss people off.
I wanted to prove I could get a university degree and look hot while I did it.
Since I’m introverted and like reading, people are always disappointed when I take an interest in more “frivolous” things, like cute clothes, makeup, cocktails and pumpkin spice lattes, and reality TV. The thing is; women are complex human beings. You can be smart and keep up with the Kardashians.
People were even disappointed when I saw 5 Seconds Of Summer in 2015, because I “used to like cool music.” The truth is; I am like the other girls. There’s nothing wrong with the other girls.
Pick-Me To Girlboss
As far as feminism goes, isn’t doing some “shero” Legally Blonde cosplay petty and privileged? Yes of course it is! There are more important things going on. But, I also used to hang up consent posters, write articles about feminism, and go to protests, so I was doing things more productive than “girlbossing.”
Believe me, my biggest problem was not people thinking I was just a “dumb slut” for wearing heels and short skirts every day. Rape culture and misogyny are systemic issues across college campuses. It was also rife in the emo and pop punk communities. I wish people thinking I was a bimbo was my biggest problem in those days.
I’m also well-aware of the privilege I have as a white woman.
Enter Scene Queen: What Is Bimbocore Music?
Although Scene Queen is not the sole reason women embraced being bimbos, she is the face of “bimbocore.”
Scene Queen’s music goes hard, but she uses to to celebrate female sexuality and joy, while calling out abuse and misogyny in the metal, emo, and pop punk scene.
Scene Queen’s music goes a lot harder than pop punk. She drew a lot from metal and hard rock. I’m just referencing emo and pop punk the most, because she’s well known in those communities too – and they’re the ones I have the most experience with.
Why Is Bimbo A Bad Word?
Bimbo was seen as a bad word, because it was a way to put women down. It was to suggest they were vapid and unintelligent.
Is Bimbocore Making The Alt Scene A Better Place?
It’s too early to say. Scene Queen signed to Hopeless records in 2021, so she’s still up-and-coming.
The #MeToo Era
As I mentioned earlier; for the past few years, allegations against bands have steadily been coming out, but there hasn’t been a proper #MeToo moment, just little ones.
Throughout these moments, I kept an eye on social media to see if any major players condemned it. I didn’t expect anyone to name names, but a general “abuse isn’t tolerated in the scene” statement from someone well respected would have been appreciated. It felt like no one cared.
I really appreciate how Ben Langford-Biss, formerly As It Is, regularly speaks out, but I’m yet to see anyone else match his energy.
Now, I think things are finally starting to change.
Even aside from allegations against bands (which is serious enough) fan attitudes in the scene are changing for the better too. It’s not just because of Scene Queen, but at least she’s talking about it.
When I was a teen, people used to submit scandalous band member stories to a Tumblr page I can no longer find. Even though I would imagine a lot of the stories were made up (as was the culture on Tumblr at the time) in hindsight, the response to the stories was worrying.
People didn’t criticize bands for allegedly making lewd comments to teenagers at signings, they thought it was funny. Now, as, adults we’re realizing how inappropriate it was and want to ensure the new generation have a better time than we did.
We were young. I don’t think anyone talked to my age group about what consent and domestic abuse really look like. Honestly, when you’re an emo teen, you end up desensitised to people almost in their 30s pursuing your peers. Being an abuser was never okay, but I can understand why a group of uninformed teenage bystanders wouldn’t know how to handle abuse or grooming allegations being made.
I’m on the cusp between Gen Z and Millennials – my age group are drastically different than the younger side of Gen Z. They were far more progressive and informed at a far younger age than we were.
You grow so much each year when you’re a kid. 15-year-old me and 16-year-old me feel like different people, but 25 and 26 feel like the same year. That’s why age gap relationships are more acceptable the older you get. So, of course there’s an inherent power imbalance between a 16-year-old girl and a 25-year-old man in her favourite band – and even just regular 25 year olds.
I’m 26, and I even see 20-year-olds as babies, in what world is hanging out with teenagers when you’re drastically older not weird?
I wouldn’t hold it against my peers for not always knowing the right thing to say or do back then, or not understanding power dynamics – I didn’t either. How could we? We were kids. But now that we know better, we should do better.
Victims Of Conformity
But, there is a lot of pressure when you’re in the scene, as a fan or band member, to sacrifice your femineity to be taken seriously. There’s even pressure to throw other women under the bus because you might think, if you get people to respect you, you’ll be saved. Acting like a pick-me doesn’t protect you. Don’t underestimate how powerful other women coming to your aid is.
Although these are music based subcultures, gatekeepers expect you to dress the part. So, a woman could be the biggest fan of an artist but because she’s blonde and wears trendy clothes, people insist she’s a poser.
I want to stress; it’s okay to be a tomboy. I’m not shaming the girls who just aren’t girly. Power to them – trust me, tomboys get flak too. Nor am I talking about those who dress the part because they want to. I’m shaming those who engage in misogyny, racism, and gatekeep.
The problem is this is a scene claiming to be about individually, not conforming, sticking it to “the man,” but really, you’re expected to conform to another set of rules. Listening to the music should be enough.
So as far as I’m concerned, seeing Scene Queen and other up-and-coming figures in the scene refusing to dress the part, will help other fans feel more comfortable doing the same.