Why Gen Z Is Obsessed With Hot Women

Tara Yummy, Madison Beer, Sydney Sweeney, Margot Robbie – what do all of these women have in common? Zoomer women idolize them, and they’re all beautiful. I mean, they’re actually beautiful, not socially forced copium “beautiful.”

By Jaimee Marshall7 min read
Getty Images/Matt Winkelmeyer

This isn’t an anomaly, either. If you spend any time on TikTok, the app of choice for Zoomer women to consume content, you’ll quickly notice there’s a stark difference between the prevailing social attitudes toward conventionally attractive women among Gen Z girls compared to previous generations.

Something has changed. In recent years, we’ve seen the fall of the girlboss – a woman who embraces masculinity as a desirable form of power. That may have resonated with boomers, Gen Xers, and older millennials, but Gen Z girls have seen that cautionary tale play out, and they don’t want to play that game. Women have caught on to the power of beauty, femininity, and aesthetics. While various subcultures take different approaches to these expressions, they’re united in coveting aesthetic beauty and an innate desire to level up

The Sexual Threat Question

You’ve likely come across the meme that women hate other women because they’re jealous of them, often when another woman is more sexually appealing to men than they are. It all boils down to female intrasexual competition. And while that certainly is a real psychological phenomenon, I can’t help but notice that the people making this commentary (usually men) have no grasp of the current social zeitgeist. I would go so far as to say it’s no longer an accurate representation of the sexual politics of Zoomer women, broadly speaking. I see a lot of female intrasexual competition, but the way it manifests has changed. Something that has drastically waned is an innate sexual threat from women who are simply beautiful. Social media algorithms feed women what women want to see, and what they want to see en masse is other beautiful women. But wait, how can that be, if they’re supposed to be in perpetual competition with one another?

I always hear that the reason Taylor Swift is so popular and successful with young women is because she’s relatable in a way that isn’t sexually threatening. This is wrong, or at least, it’s wrong for Zoomers. Let’s look at the breakdown of Taylor Swift fans: They’re overwhelmingly millennials. 45%, to be exact, followed by 25% boomers, 21% Gen Xers, and only 11% Zoomers. Swift is uniquely popular among a slightly older female demographic and speaks to their interest in the everywoman archetype. Does her appeal have anything to do with an aura that lacks a sexual threat? Maybe, but I doubt it. Swift is emotionally relatable and lyrically sophisticated, at least from the perspective of her female fans. But this safe, sterile, universally appealing, asexual archetype does not appeal to Zoomers, overwhelmingly, who would think it a selling point to brag that they don't see her appeal.

The Impact of Sexual Liberation on Social Politics

The thing about Zoomer women is they’ve adopted ideologies of sexual liberation, perhaps in much more extreme forms than previous generations can understand. This has led not only to the social permissibility of sex work through sites like OnlyFans but also through reclaiming personas that were historically shameful not even that long ago. Bombshells and bimbos like Pam Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith, Paris Hilton, and any archetypal early 2000s bimbo with bleach-blonde hair, revealing clothes, bountiful assets, and breathy voices were nothing more than airheads to gawk at. Passive furniture. A woman couldn’t be simultaneously sexually shameless and hyper-feminine and have agency. She was merely airheaded and ditzy, as a consequence of prioritizing her external appearance and her appeal to men. However, this has been flipped on its head with movements like bimbofication reclaiming these shameless, hyper-feminine, hypersexual personas without the implicit paranoias that plagued the earlier figureheads. 

You won’t see them desperately trying to prove in interviews, comment sections, or anywhere else how low-key intelligent they are beneath the surface. The entire point is to be unbothered and not seek male approval in any deeper vein than “she’s hot, I want to spoil her.” Bimbos nowadays tend to embody all the stereotypical traits of the old school bimbos but with an added feminist layer of self-awareness, inclusivity, and leftist politics. You might wonder how there can be an overlap between these ideologies, historically considered intellectual, and an airheaded, ditzy, feminine persona. One of the reasons I think this persona has been on the rise is a devaluation of verbosity – a burning out on “mansplaining.” 

Feminists always tend to lose ground when trying to debate men over female issues because of one problem: They’re trying to debate “lived experiences” with someone who intellectualizes everything with statistics and facts. These are two entirely different modes of communication. Eventually, women realized this was a losing game. Men weren’t ever going to validate their perspectives (which are sometimes cogent and oftentimes not), so why play the game at all? If their perception of women is that they’re stupid and unsuited for intellectual pursuits, why not embrace that title much like the black community reclaimed certain slurs? These may sound like unrelated phenomena, but they’re not. This is vital to understand how the fundamental social psychology of Zoomers is a new game entirely.

There’s a preoccupation with winning over the male gaze for selfish reasons – to weaponize your femininity and sexuality to get what you can out of men.

If you look at a woman like Scarlett Johansson – an exceptionally beautiful, voluptuous sex symbol – she had this nagging insecurity about her public perception. There was this idea that you could be the hot girl or you could have substance, but you certainly couldn’t have both. This insecurity shines through in her repeated attempts to prove how much more she is than just a pretty face. Other famous sex symbols make it their mission to prove their capacity to be cerebral. However, this is still operating within a male lens, wanting men to take them seriously. Women don’t have as much difficulty with digesting a multifaceted woman: one who is hot, smart, and talented. There’s a psychological term for it known as the Madonna/Whore Complex, and while I’m not suggesting that all or even most men operate within this worldview, it would certainly explain female depictions throughout history.

In a post-bimbo world, women can embrace roles like the bimbo or the sex symbol or the divine feminine woman without paranoias about being taken seriously because those who get it, get it and those who don’t, don’t. This sort of sexual politics is responsible for the rise of Sydney Sweeney, someone who intentionally leans into the male gaze and, by act of leaning into it, at the same time, subverts it, and she’s had no trouble taking on meaty, nuanced roles despite her public image as a bombshell, something that probably couldn’t have happened in 2005. The male gaze is, by nature, voyeuristic. It takes pleasure in gazing at women who aren’t gazing back, but Sweeney is gazing back. These subtle power dynamics do change the nature of whether something is seen as exploitative or empowering.

What’s happened here is women have just stopped internalizing these worries, perhaps to a pathological extent. This sex positivity, untethered from the need for male approval, sees women flocking en masse to parade their bodies on social media, often for money, and appearing on the Whatever podcast, seemingly completely unphased by the revulsion they inspire in men. The shaming tactics aren’t working because they’ve completely divorced themselves from male moralization. Instead, there’s a preoccupation with winning over the male gaze for selfish reasons – to weaponize your femininity and sexuality to get what you can out of men, like princess treatment, money, stability, or views.

This Generation’s “It” Girls

A new “it” girl has popped onto the scene, going by the name Tarayummy, real name Tara Thompson. She has an overnight TikTok success story, going viral for her TikTok sounds and edits and getting some help with exposure through her online famous ex-boyfriend but still close friend, Jake Webber, and by collabing with high-profile content creators like Tana Mongeau or appearing on the Dropouts podcast. Do a quick search of Tarayummy, and you’ll find a bastion of idolizing edits akin to the ones fans make of celebrities they worship or thirst over. 

Often set to the tune of hyper-pop tracks, microsecond captures of women like Tarayummy or Alexa Demie highlight some very specific qualities: beauty, confidence, an IDGAF attitude, and an iconic persona. So, what is Tarayummy famous for, exactly? When a podcast host asked her what she attributes to her blowing up, she referenced a few potential sound bites she made that went viral on TikTok, but she was just as perplexed by her virality as anyone else. There isn’t anything particularly substantive about them outside a longing for her beauty and confident disposition.

Comments get flooded with links to “that one edit” all trying to pinpoint the one responsible for her internet fame. A few edits feature Tara saying things like “Step one: if you want to be Tarayummy, you have to think like Tarayummy. Tarayummy is a mindset,” which took the internet by storm. They consist of a bunch of stitched together cuts of her drinking and partying at her 23rd birthday party, often set to Ayesha Erotica songs like “Yummy” or “Literal Legend.” Another viral edit features Tara saying, “I don’t think, I just sit here and look pretty. You’re a loser,” as she giggles, and it cuts to another entrancing hype song. In another, she says, “Do I believe in ghosts? No. But one time, I ghosted a guy in high school.”

These are fancams made by women who covet what they see as icon behavior that they want to emulate. As you watch close-up shots of Tara’s face, you hear blaring pop lyrics like “icon, icon, icon, icon, icon” and “Liter-liter-liter-liter-liter-liter-liter-liter-liter-liter-liter-liter literal legend.” Women don’t hate Tara because she’s beautiful. Her audience is almost exclusively female, and her beauty isn’t incidental. She models something that they want: star quality. Her striking, symmetrical face bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Mila Kunis, while her style is very Myspace scene girl meets Avril Lavigne “sk8er boi” era, and she has an adorably squeaky laugh akin to Lindsay Lohan. Altogether, she’s an exceptionally attractive cool girl who women want to be, men want to be with, and who you could quite easily see making it in show business with her looks and charisma.

Becoming That Girl

The coveting of beauty isn’t isolated to one particular woman, either. It’s become a trend for women to make other beautiful women famous by consuming their content and making fancams of them. The relationship is reciprocated, too, when the “it” girl creates content on how you can become more like them, posting makeup tutorials, mindset and confidence tips, and general glow up how-tos. Nothing exemplifies this better than the viral “that girl” trend. "That girl" is an archetype that became popularized through TikTok in 2021, and it refers to a wellness girly who prioritizes self-care, does clean girl makeup, has a Hailey Bieber type of aesthetic, journals, does pilates, wears cute athleisure, and generally lives a desirable life centered around self-improvement and optimizing aesthetics through approachable means. She’s a high status female. 

And why exactly did this trend become popular on TikTok and funnel through the rest of social media? Because women were teaching each other how to become “that girl” in all of the encompassing material, spiritual, and physical senses of the term. "That girl" is inspirational, healthy, beautiful, productive, and aesthetically put together. Notice how many instructional guides in the forms of articles and videos you’ll find by women for women on how to “level up” and achieve some form of self-actualization. The era of gatekeeping is over, with the exclusion of celebrities, who are now participating in faux transparency by admitting to a few of the surgical enhancements they’ve had while downplaying the others.

Women have never been more transparent about their makeup, workout routines, skincare steps, the products they use, or where they shop for their clothes. Millennials may have been the generation of body positivity, representation, and the cool girl archetype (a woman who’s feminine and attractive but is appealing to men because she has a lot of male traits, like enjoying beer, sports, and being low maintenance), but Zoomers have found that a reclamation of femininity and their sexuality is a more fruitful endeavor.

This return to femaleness, as a result, seems to have had the opposite effect on intrasexual competition. The cool girl was by definition not like other girls, but these new waves of feminists or just your regular-degular female Zoomers aren’t ashamed to be like other girls. In fact, being “not like the other girls” is considered an insult, while being a “girl’s girl” is a compliment – a reflection of good character, healthy self-esteem, and self-worth. The sentiment is only an insecure girl desperate for attention would need to put other women down or imply they’re superior for being different. We’ve seen the cool girl archetype get deconstructed in films like Gone Girl, where Amy Dunne dismantles the idea that it’s born out of any authenticity but rather an exhausting desperation to inhabit paradoxical ideals. 

But what happens to Amy Dunne, as a reward for all her “cool girl-isms”? She still ends up getting cheated on and replaced by a “newer, younger, bouncier cool girl.” This is a reflection of a rising female awareness of the fruitlessness of such phony personas (if they are indeed phony). This girl posted a video about how cool girls always finish last, painting them as the foil to the “nice guy” – another performative gender expression used to elicit desire in the opposite sex. Women are done pretending to be things they’re not and begging for male validation because they’ve seen all of these women who participate in these charades get burned anyway. All of these psychosexual resentments have boiled over into an unhealthy hostility to men, causing women to view men as antagonistic forces right from the get-go, but it has had the byproduct of inspiring more ingroup loyalty and belonging between fellow women. This is why you see men, of all people, bait posting about how haggard and past the wall Margot Robbie is while women are rushing to her defense in sincerity. And that, my friends, is the comprehensive history of how Gen Z came to love hot women.

Closing Thoughts

All this is to say that Zoomer women are obsessed with aesthetics and see beautiful women as aspirational deities to worship rather than envy. This narrative that women only like women who are sexually non-threatening is an outdated analysis of the zeitgeist and evolving ways of feminism. These beautiful women are their role models who can teach them how to acquire sexual power, which is why they don’t see them as enemies. 

They don't want to whine like previous generations about how unfair it is, they want to become iconic like the hot girls they idolize. The idea that women, by default, hate women who are hotter than them is an out of touch relic of boomerism. This generation is looksmaxxing, and it's in part because of their cynical view of romantic relationships. They want to get what they want, and they know they're not going to learn it from average girls.

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