Over the last 48-hours or so, a cartoon depicting a stereotypical ‘bimbo’ picking up a book and morphing into an apparent ‘smart / normal’ woman has been going viral on social media.


The image has been shared thousands of times across various channels, with most people expressing disgust at the sexist messages in the image. Y’know – hot women aren’t smart, smart women aren’t hot, the usual sexist crap we did away with the death of lads mags.

Some people have even ‘fixed’ it.


Translation: “I have corrected the story because better crappy than misogynist.”

As it turns out, the image is actually a piece of erotica from a fetish called ‘bimbo transformation’, and the artist – who goes by Sortimid on DeviantArt – had no idea it would prove so controversial.

S/he even created a Twitter account to attempt to explain the image in a public forum.

“It is called ‘bimbo transformation’,” they wrote in a series of tweets to one of the image’s most outspoken critics. “Its audience is aroused by the idea of a person becoming a hypersexualised stereotype. It represents people losing their inhibitions, enjoying their sexuality. Some people, like the client who commissioned the image … also enjoy seeing the process in reverse.”

The artist also identified as a feminist, which uh – didn’t go down well with some critics.


Part of the reason Sortimid had no idea the image would cause such outrage is that they’ve been creating art for this fetish for at least five years.

The fetish also includes men transforming into female bimbos.

The intense scrutiny became so fierce that Sortimid updated the image’s original post to include an apology.

“Many people are understandably upset about this image. It was never my intention to make a sexist proclamation but it seems that, inadvertently, I have done just that.

“I firmly believe women should be free to look and act any way they want. I’ve maintained this position in the image’s comments from the moment it was posted. This image is not a statement, it’s meant to satisfy a client’s kink. I honestly did not expect an audience outside the transformation porn community. If I have offended you, I apologise.”

But the image being taken out of context – that is, being shared outside of Deviantart – isn’t to say it’s not sexist. It is, and Sortimid freely admits that.

In a blog post about the controversy, they wrote:

“Bimbofication is, undeniably, a sexist fantasy. I was very conflicted about this. In everyday life, I like to consider myself a feminist. Can I support feminism and women’s rights while harbouring sexist fantasies? What if I create work that caters to others’ sexist fantasies? After all, we don’t choose what turns us on. I believe erotic art is a way to indulge sexist fantasies safely and harmlessly. However, its nature as porn needs to be clear. In the end, that’s what caused the outrage: outside its context, people mistook a sexist, fetishistic fantasy for a statement about the real world. It’s also the reason I apologised; not for creating the image, but for unintentionally offending with its statement.

“Most of my artwork is obviously sexual, so people can dismiss it without reading too much into it. I suspect that, because De-bimbofication isn’t clearly identifiable as “porn”, people assumed it must be some sort of social commentary.”

Both BuzzFeed and Spanish-language website Magnet wrote about the controversy, and since then, Sortimid writes that the hate directed her way has transformed into a hatred of outrage culture.

“Finally, now it seems we’ve come full circle,” they wrote. “People are outraged about the outrage.”


All photos: Sortimid via DeviantArt.