young woman walking on street with caption 'Oppenheimer explained for the girls'


‘Oppenheimer explained for the girls’ TikTok is sparking discourse about sexist stereotypes

People love to hate this stereotypically girly 'Oppenheimer' explainer.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 31, 2023

TikTok comedian @nikitadumptruck has a very specific shtick: Explaining complicated topics “for the girls,” using a hyperfeminine bimbo persona. Wearing pink outfits and speaking in a high-pitched voice, she covers topics like the debt ceiling and the Trump indictment.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a divisive format. Some people think she’s just buying into sexist stereotypes, implying that “girls” need analogies about shopping and boys in order to understand the economy.

However, her TikTok persona is clearly a joke. With that in mind, here’s her latest video: “Oppenheimer explained for the girls.”

@nikitadumptruck Was a boppeinheimer #comedy #explained #film #news #oppenheimer #barbie #girls #lgbt #brunch ♬ original sound – Nikita

Among other things, Nikita says Oppenheimer invented the atomic bomb because he wanted attention and podcasts didn’t exist in the 1930s.

She also compares the timing of the bomb’s invention—i.e. after Germany had already surrendered—to “like when you spend all day doing your makeup and then the event gets canceled and you’re like okay, I’ll just go to the grocery store because someone has to see this look.” (The “grocery store” in this context being the decision to bomb Japan.)

Is this joke a little tasteless? Maybe. But that’s not why her Oppenheimer review is controversial. When someone reposted this TikTok on Twitter, it sparked a debate about anti-intellectualism—and about Twitter’s harsh treatment of female TikTokers.

Why ‘Oppenheimer explained for the girls’ is so controversial

Posted by a now-private account, the original tweet showed a screencap of @nikitadumptruck’s “Oppenheimer explained for the girls” TikTok. The caption reads, “I hate this kind of thing so much we are not making it out of the patriarchy.”

Both the caption and the TikTok itself sparked polarizing reactions:

oppenheimer explained for girls twitter
oppenheimer explained discourse
oppenheimer explained for the girls

The short version of this discourse is that some people think Nikita’s review is condescending toward women. After seeing the TikTok out of context, many of these commenters took Nikita’s persona at face value.

Meanwhile, Nikita’s supporters argue that it’s sexist to criticize her TikTok format, which combines a satirical gimmick with (mostly) straightforward explainers. In turn, this controversy overlaps with reactions to TikTok bimbo culture.

Some commenters also called out Twitter’s toxic history of singling out female TikTokers for viral backlash. Recent examples include Pinkydoll (the “ice cream so good” lady), a “stay-at-home girlfriend,” and an influencer accused of glamorizing disordered eating via her wedding menu.

Basically, Twitter’s favorite TikTok subgenre is “women who people love to hate.” And that’s exactly why @nikitadumptruck’s tongue-in-cheek Oppenheimer review went viral.

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*First Published: Jul 31, 2023, 8:23 am CDT