Just The Tips: How To Be A Bombshell In 2015
What the fuck is a bombshell? I spoke with my friends about it for hours one morning while I tried to write this. I hadn’t slept in a few days. I complained a lot.
“I feel I really don’t know what it means when people talk about the vague concept of a ‘bombshell’ like it’s this one girl who walks into a room and captures everyone’s attention—'”
My friend quieted me. “You’ve definitely seen that. You’ve also had your own bombshell moments. Maybe you didn’t notice, but it happens—one day you’ll walk into a room and everyone will stare at you. It’s all about your confidence.”
Another friend interjected, sipping from a cup of black tea. “But you know what? I have tons of friends who are beautiful, like bombshell status beautiful, but I’ve never described them specifically as a bombshell.”
“So then what the fuck, really, is a bombshell?” I asked again. Everyone was silent.
“Bombshell” was a term coined for Rita Hayworth, the 1940’s movie star “love goddess”, whose image was printed on the first atom bomb tested in World War II. After that, the term caught on to describe certain popular actresses—especially as platinum blonde hair dye began to take hold of hair trends in Hollywood. When Jean Harlow starred in Bombshell, the slogan for the film read, “Lovely, luscious, exotic Jean Harlow as the blonde bombshell of filmdom.”
Still, the images of attractive women functioned as a motivator for men to volunteer for the military. Rita Hayworth herself was furious. The O.G. bombshell herself refused to claim the term. She’d hated the effects of war on her veteran brothers. Her once-husband, Orson Welles, relayed the situation to a biographer:
“Rita used to fly into terrible rages all the time but the angriest was when she found out that they’d put her on the atom bomb. Rita almost went insane, she was so angry…she wanted to go to Washington to hold a press conference, but Harry Cohn [director of Columbia Pictures] wouldn’t let her because it would be unpatriotic.”
Since then, Galore’s featured Gigi Hadid, Charlotte McKinney, Olivia Culpo, Barbie Ferreira, Jillian Mercado, Hannah Ferguson, Chanel Iman, Lana Del Rey—women who’ve been described in copy as bombshells many times over. Along with their walk-into-a-room-and-command-it confidence that strikes a chord with anyone in said room, the girls have got to work a little harder than the forerunners of bombshell—achieving the bombshell status is a different story than it was the 1940’s.
At that time, bombshell-dom only referred to an ownership of one’s sexuality as a method of relating to the world. There wasn’t really much more women were able to do anyway. Being a bombshell means basically this—everybody, attractive and unattractive people alike, has the option to use sex as an aspect of their public identity. The girls who do are often lusted after and simultaneously punished—American views still skew puritanical with their reactions and opinions of female sexuality. It’s the difference between taking Kim Kardashian seriously and referring to her as a “high class prostitute” (as I recently overheard at a bar).
“Ambition is my middle name,” she’s said. Kim Kardashian is the modern bombshell—not only because she promotes, advertises, and acknowledges her sexuality so plainly that the world hates her (and can’t get enough), but because she takes it one step further. She’s paid to be exactly who she is. Next time you catch a rerun of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, take note.
Or print out the Infograph above. Read quotes from women who transition bombshell into the 21st century, as they address every type of empowerment necessary for any aspiring Rita Hayworth of Instagram. How you present your sexuality is a choice, but you might enjoy flaunting it. Prepare to walk into rooms, and expect everyone to stare.