Can The Word "Bimbo" (And Trump) Go Away Already?

Donald Trump has proved once again that not only is he horribly sexist, but his insult game utterly lacks imagination and wit. After Megyn Kelly returned to the air after a vacation, the real estate tycoon turned election circus performer didn't waste any time resuming his Twitter feud against her. Besides a few of his own unoriginal insults, Donald Trump suggested Megyn Kelly is a bimbo by retweeting someone else's unoriginal insult directed at the Fox News host. Besides the fact that Kelly couldn't be farther from what Trump thinks of her, for a laundry list of reasons, the term "bimbo" itself needs to be retired possibly even more desperately than Trump.

After a 10-day vacation with her family, Kelly returned to The Kelly File on Monday night, but her job wasn't the only thing waiting for her. Like a schoolyard bully with no friends and nothing better to do, Trump was lying in wait to pounce on the host. First, he made a couple of his own jabs. In one tweet, Trump suspects that Kelly "must have had a terrible vacation" because "she is really off her game." In another, he says he liked The Kelly File much better without its namesake host. But the gloves really came off when Trump had the opportunity to hide behind someone else's words — a tactic he employs quite regularly.

When a Twitter user called Kelly a "bimbo," Trump retweeted the message, clearly expressing his concurrence of the term.

There are so many things wrong with this picture, it's hard to believe we're not in some kind of waking nightmare. First of all, Trump is 69 years old, but he's still throwing around terms that high school kids these days would find juvenile. Second of all, he's basically helping to perpetuate what amounts to sexist online harassment — the "bimbo" tweet is one step behind the kind of virulent and oftentimes violent online abuse that was seen in Gamergate. Third, this man is running for president.

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But I've already dignified Trump's name-calling too much by addressing it at all, because labeling Kelly with that term is absolutely asinine. Regardless of whether your political views align with hers, the woman knows what she's talking about. Besides having a near-decade law career and a 12-year ongoing journalism career under her belt, Kelly truly illustrated her chops — and gumption — when she put Trump in the hot box without hesitation during the 2015 Republican debate. She asked Trump point blank to address the misogynistic names he's called women in the past, like "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals," a question that might have been decidedly pointed, but necessary.

Naturally, in classic Trump style, instead of addressing the many sexist remarks he's made in the past, Trump started a public feud with Kelly filled with more sexist remarks. Kelly's response? She told viewers on The Kelly File:

I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism, so I'll continue doing my job without fear or favor.
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Boom. There's nothing about Kelly that would fit the hateful image that Trump tries to paint of her. And, yes, the term "bimbo" is a hateful one.

Merriam-Webster defines "bimbo" as a slang term used to describe "an attractive but stupid woman." In popular culture, "bimbos" are often depicted as overtly sexual women — usually blonde — who wear revealing clothing, have loose morals, and can't form an intelligent thought. The problem with terms like "bimbo" is its predominant usage in describing women. In order to apply it to a man, one would typically say "a male bimbo." This gender bias implies that these vacuous qualities are more intrinsic to women.

The term further pigeonholes women by distinctly separating a woman's intellectual content with her physical traits, perpetuating an assumption that if a woman is attractive, then she must not have much going on upstairs. There are hardly any comparable terms for the male gender — they either pertain to his looks or his aptitude, but never both. In other words, the term "bimbo" is completely antiquated and needs to go away. In a country that continues to strive for gender equality, there's no room for such a term.

But there is one interesting fact about the term "bimbo" — it wasn't always about looks, or women. According to an op-ed in The Globalist, the original definition of "bimbo" was used to describe men. As early as 1919, the Oxford English Dictionary defined the term "bimbo" as an "unintelligent or brutish male" or a "stupid, inconsequential man, contemptible person." Who does that describe? (Hint: His name begins with a T and rhymes with lump.) Yes, Trump is far more deserving of the label, but I'm not going to resort to name-calling.

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