It only took one photo of Ryan Gosling as Ken to raise the himbo from the ashes, like a phoenix with a shaved and well-oiled chest. The male version of the bimbo, worshiped more for her physical qualities than for her intellectual qualities, is in itself a mass of stereotypes of all kinds that nevertheless try to deconstruct all the clichés surrounding masculinity. Explanation.
Ryan Gosling as Ken for the movie Barbie, it ‘s something ! The first snapshot revealed on social networks did not leave anyone indifferent. We discover the Canadian actor as we’ve never seen him before: platinum blond, fully muscled, the bare torso (tanned and oiled, that goes without saying), dressed in a sleeveless denim shirt and exposed boxer shorts with his own first name stamped on them. A kind of walking stereotype, posing against the beams of his candy-pink villa. He brings the himbo back to life, this handsome, somewhat dim-witted boy who transports us back to the golden age of the bimbo, his female alter ego that has been a staple of film and television for decades.
The Washington Post would be behind the first appearance of the term himbo in 1988, in the course of a paper on the Cannes film festival. A few weeks later, the bimbo’s male counterpart, much more famous and well-known, will be entitled to its own praise – or criticism, it depends – in the same paper. ‘Let those bimbos go! Hollywood has blessed us with the himbo”, we can read. A new archetype was born, without making much noise, as the clichés surrounding masculinity were far too entrenched to propel it to the fore. More than three decades later, the himbo may (finally) be making a place for itself in the sun, participating in shattering – certainly with new clichés – male stereotypes.
What is a himbo?
According to the Urban Dictionary, the himbo would be “a stupid or naive man, who, despite appearing to be an alpha male bastard, is actually gentle, respectful and kind. Typically tall, stout and relatively handsome, but friendly. Big teddy bears, if you will”† Online dictionary describes Kronk from the animation film Kuzco, the Megalo Emperor as the perfect example of the himbo. Strong, tall and stupid, the character also turns out to be nice, respectful and innocent, oblivious to what is going on around him.
in 1988, The Washington Post classified Arnie Becker, character camped by Corbin Bernsen in the series Los Angeles Law, as a potential himbo, just like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Powerful testosterone, as the American newspaper indicates. But the himbo has evolved, just like the codes of masculinity, and now reveals itself as gentle, respectful of the fairer sex, and friendly, but still very naive, seductive and not necessarily very smart. What changes compared to the past decades is that the himbo does not play with its charms, it is the self, everything in spontaneity and… self-affirmation. A groundbreaking criterion, it reveals masculinity in a new light – or gender.
Nate Archibald aka Chace Crawford in the series gossip Girlwould count among the himbos, just like Channing Tatum in magic MikeFred Jones from the franchise Scoobie DooJoey Tribbiani, character from friendsplayed by Matt LeBlanc, and of course our international Ken who should crack the screen in the feature film Barbie, due in 2023. A somewhat clichéd new version of masculinity, but one that can undoubtedly help to destroy stereotypes that are thousands of years old. Case follows.
(ETX Daily Up)