In Defense of the Himbo: A Celebration of Big, Dumb Men

In Defense of the Himbo: A Celebration of Big, Dumb Men

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This week, Twitter user Fangirl Jeanne achieved internet infamy with a bizarre and unnecessary tweet calling out the word “himbo” for being ableist, predatory and also akin to … pedophilia?

Naturally, the tweet was ratio’d, meaning more people had something to say about it than who liked or retweeted it. Several Twitter users pointed out the ableism of the original tweet (implying that neurodivergent folks are children), while others pointed to a complete misunderstanding of what the word “himbo” really means.

Fangirl Jeanne ultimately issued an apology, because being into big, sexy men who are supportive, thoughtful, and don’t try to mansplain Nietzsche to you when you didn’t ask is actually shockingly not the same as “praying on underage kids.”

Of course, the himbo discourse swiftly began.

Urban Dictionary defines the himbo as: Generally, a large (broad, tall, or buff) attractive man, who tends to be not very bright, but usually extremely nice and respectful. Think Kronk from The Emperors New Groove (pictured at top), or maybe a golden retriever.

All week, articles celebrating men with hearts as big as their muscles have been cropping up. And why shouldn’t they? Aren’t we all sick of the Tragically Misunderstood Bad Boy; the Smart, Sarcastic Corner Lurker; and the Dude That Owns Too Many Radiohead Shirts? Don’t we all just want someone Ridiculously Hot Who Listens, Fixes Things Around The House, Never Says “Well Actually,” and Also Surfs?

Am I thinking too longingly about Chris Hemsworth right now, and is it obvious?

In all seriousness, there’s a reason why the himbo is appreciated across all sexualities. (Yes, there is a female equivalent, and I love her too: the herbo.) So much of the media we consume lauds redemption arcs and complicated, messy relationships as romantic, exciting and worthwhile, yet there inevitably comes a time in our lives where we want better for ourselves. We want the reliability of a man who shows up when he says he will, who comforts us when we’re ill, and who doesn’t have a weird obsession with the 2nd Amendment.

Also the muscles … really don’t hurt.

This Vice article sums it up pretty well: The desire for a himbo is the desire to escape toxic masculinity without sacrificing the sexiness that comes with a traditionally conceived masculinity that looks like muscles, body hair and sweat. All too often, people who are attracted to men are offered two choices in media: a hot guy who will treat you badly, or a schlubby guy who will be nice. The himbo says, “get you a man who can do both.”

Where do you stand on the himbo debate?

Featured image of the himbo at top courtesy the Disney film The Emperor’s New Groove (2000).

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