Web3 needs more bimbos

The new internet is demonstrably lacking in vibes. Hot crypto queens could be the answer to that problem.

by Tara Kenny
|
01 August 2022, 1:38pm

If you were asked to close your eyes and conjure up a Web 3 enthusiast, you’d probably picture a white man, between the ages 20 and 40, perhaps wearing a puffer vest and sports cap and shoutily explaining the “disruptive potential” of cryptocurrency to anyone who’ll listen. Indeed, the archetype most commonly associated with Web 3 is the tech bro, a man who is “bullish on crypto” and at best, flush with cash, but lacking cultural capital.

High profile women in Web 3, such as celebrity enthusiasts Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon, and Mark Zuckerburg’s business-woman sister, Randi Zuckerberg — whose Twitter bio claims she is “building Web 3’s friendliest community of curators & creators” — employ the language of the girl boss in encouraging women to build their wealth and beat the bros at their own game. They proselytise at women-focused conferences and on Twitter, make cringy music videos, and align themselves with “diverse” and “inclusive” NFT projects such as Boss Beauties, World of Women and Crypto Chicks, which feature cartoon femmes with green skin, braided hair and clothing emblazoned with “FUTURE CEO”.

In recent years, tech bros and girl bosses who promise to transform the world or dismantle the patriarchy through capitalism have lost much of their inspirational sheen. Yet they are still highly visible on Web 3 due to prominence of true believers such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and the aforementioned lean-in feminists. While there are genuine and well documented concerns about the effects of Web 3, much of the aversion to the space is based on aesthetics and style — or the lack thereof. If all the masses know of Web 3 is Mark Zuckerberg’s avatar awkwardly careening through the Metaverse, Elon Musk’s middling dogecoin memes, or Gwyneth Paltrow’s insistence that women deserve crypto riches as much as bros, there’s no wonder they’re unmoved.

While tech bros and girl bosses are still prominent on Web 3, in pop culture and on TikTok, 2021 was the official “year of the bimbo”, with young people reclaiming a historically weaponised term by leaning into girlie aesthetics and ditzy affects, sometimes to advance feminist and leftist ideologies. Of late, the bimbo has got herself an avatar and entered the metaverse, birthing the “Web 3 bimbo”: a new archetype who approaches technologies such as crypto and NFTs from a place of whimsy, curiosity, humour and openness. She makes no lofty promises of creating a feminist utopia or turning you into a billionaire overnight, but rather, is here to vibe, be cute, create, build community, and maybe make some coin. This new self-aware, cyber femmebot has the potential to revive a Web 3 culture that was dead on arrival. “I think a lot of people are already bored of Web 3 conversations, and the suggestion of a ‘Web 3 bimbo’ has a provocative, corporeal appeal,” explains Biz Sherbert, trend forecaster and co-host of the Nymphet Alumni podcast.

Paris Hilton is the reigning Web 3 bimbo: a self-proclaimed “crypto queen” who hosts parties in the metaverse because she’s “over going out in the real world”, has gushed about the joys of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs on Jimmy Kimmel, and even named two of her prized pooches Crypto Hilton and Ether Reum. Other celebrity Web 3 bimbos include Azealia Banks, who released her audio sex tape with artist Ryder Ripps as an NFT, and Doja Cat, who also released an NFT project but admitted she doesn’t know much about the medium. Paris, Azealia, and Doja are all hyperfeminine women who have cultivated playful, ironic and sometimes controversial personas. They each possess an instinctive understanding of how to creatively use new technologies to generate attention, and rarely feel the need to capitulate to social norms or explain their behaviours — on or offline. Web 3 bimbos tend to lead with femininity and sexuality in a way that was typically frowned upon in older generations because of concerns about not being taken seriously. While the girl boss was perky, pretty and blow-waved, she was more likely to don a sharp blazer for LinkedIn than a titty top and Euphoria makeup for TikTok or OpenSea.

Singapore-based former commodity broker Irene Zhao is not afraid to place her idealised image at the centre of her Web 3 brand. In January, she launched IreneDAO, an NFT series featuring images of herself clad in athleisure wear and mini dresses overlaid with crypto lingo such as “Have fun staying poor”, “WAGMI”, and “Thank you ser”. While the project was released for free, it quickly recorded $7.5 million Singaporean dollars in secondary sales. IreneDAO’s core values are simplicity, integrity, meaning and purpose… which just so happens to be an acronym for “simp”. While the project clearly appeals to an incel or web nerd’s fantasy of the perfect woman, Irene has nothing but love and respect for her fans, who she describes as “a strong simp community that really supports my vision and have led many proposals”. Given thirst traps are freely available online, it’s clear that Irene’s simps are buying into not only her hotness, but a community with shared humour and references. “It takes more than beauty to grow and sustain such a community because people won’t be a part of it for long if they don’t see value in it,” says Irene.

Over on TikTok, 21-year-old Yoselin Rodriguez, aka @yoslajefa, is using her feminine charms to onboard people into Web 3. “I personally love seeing hot girls in traditionally boring spaces. For me it’s the physical representation of ‘I’m not going to reduce myself to make you comfortable,’” says Yoselin.

This attitude is indicative of a broader trend away from strictly demarcating work and personal identities online. Rather than shrinking themselves to appear professional, Web 3 bimbos are leaning into their quirky qualities as a flex. “The older generations made all these rules for the ‘correct’ online presence that TikTok totally dismantled. People want to learn things from people they resonate with and feel a genuine connection to; me being feminine, funny and into fashion in a video format is what makes me stand out!” says Yoselin.

Australian comedian and influencer Lucinda Price, who goes by @frooomes on Instagram, is another woman bringing boldly unprofessional vibes to Web 3. Where she once kept a prospective boss in mind before posting, she has grown a following with what she calls “fast, loose and authentic” content. For example, after realising how “legitimately shit” Beeple’s NFTs are, she made a crude Microsoft Paint image of herself pantless, holding a fedora over her ass, and sold it as an NFT. “Being smart and sharing nuanced opinions isn’t rewarded anymore,” she says. “The internet is such a divisive place that you may as well throw in the towel and just look hot.” While Lucinda might laugh off what she does as “just looking hot”, she is using humour to (perhaps unintentionally) teach people about Web 3. Last year, she “decided to become a millionaire” and wrote a Substack about how she invested $500 in CumRocket (a coin designed to pay sex workers online), made loads of money in a week, and just as quickly lost it all. While some of Lucinda’s Web 3 tales are cautionary, she hopes others can learn from her entertaining trials and tribulations.

Where creators such as Irene and Yoselin are proud of their significant Web 3 knowledge, including its technical aspects, others lean into a projected or actual lack of understanding. Speaking on the Other Life podcast as the “girl in residence” at Remilia, the art collective behind the trendy Milady Maker NFTs, 19-year-old artist Sophia Vanderbilt describes her role at the Urbit conference as such: “The only reason I’m here is to bring a vibe…the vibe is like myself, as like, just a girl!” Letting go of the need to prove that you’re the smartest person in the room (even if you are) is a marked departure from the girl boss’s desire to project an air of expertise and poise at all times to prove she deserves her seat at the table.

What these women prove is that on the new internet there is no one way to be a Web 3 bimbo. To different creators, it encompasses everything from being deeply invested in advancing Web 3 communities while not shying away from a hot pic, to being unashamedly clueless but curious and projecting their silliest selves online. “I would happily be a bimbo in Web 3 if it meant my digital avatar could wear cool clothes,” says Lucinda. While the rest of us may not be as excited about losing ourselves in virtual worlds, if it’s an inevitability, we might as well look cute. Get in loser, the girlies are going shopping (in the metaverse).

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Technology
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Bimbo