The ‘Booty’ Revolution has arrived. It’s starring in music videos, reality TV and red carpets over the world. Except runways – that would be ridiculous. The ‘skinny girl’ has always been placed on a pedestal of perfection. But now, the world that bullied and pressured us to be thin has graced womankind with an exception.
We may now have big butts.
Actually, that’s misleading. We’re expected to have a huge arse.
But it better be the size of a meteor, it better be toned and it better be disproportionate to the rest of your tiny, taut frame.
Whilst booty’s have been celebrated in Western Hollywood culture in the past (ie “Bootylicious”), having a big ass was only acceptable for an exclusive number of women selected by the media. Until now, the booty was never such a widespread and specific target to achieving astronomical wealth and adoration in Hollywood.
Arguably, the leader of the current Booty Revolution is Nicky Minaj. To the chagrin of some and the baited breath of others, she released the explicit film clip for ‘Anaconda’. Whilst Nicki says a big “f*ck you” to all the “skinny bitches” in this clip, she is happy to dance to the beat of a man informing us that his genitals will only be receptive to big arses where the women are still “little in the middle”, doing “side bends and sit ups”. Making women feel lesser because they don’t possess the genes (or plastic surgeon) for a booty doesn’t make the song as empowering as one could have hoped for.
The most worrying part about the Booty Revolution is that it seems like women are clinging onto this trend because it suggests that the media may become accepting of large body parts that aren’t breasts.
The effect of the Booty on women’s body image is the same as that of the expectation to have large breasts, string bean legs or a concave stomach. Women begin to feel an insatiable need to prove that they fit this trophy body type. Maybe it’s to impress other women, or maybe it’s to prove that they have the body that men sing about. The influx of plastic surgery that inevitably occurs in the early days of a new body trend is almost too disheartening to mention.
This isn’t to say that anyone’s breast implants and lean frames are going to waste. The booty is an addition. The Booty Revolution doesn’t mean an acceptance of curvier frames. We must still be skinny, toned and tanned. The booty just means that on top of all the other expectations related to our bodies, we must work even harder to make our frames more disproportionate. There’s no ‘get out of jail free’ card here.
Whilst it is easy to appreciate that the women of Hollywood are attempting to encourage women with naturally curvier frames to be confident, it’s creating a more ludicrous standard of beauty. Thin women who had once been considered to have won the genetic lottery must now go to the gym and work their arses off (or on) to attain this additional expectation. Girls with naturally curvier frames must now work to ensure that they are “little in the middle” to offset their butts. And girls who have no butt and no predisposition towards a lean frame are basically screwed.
If we want to teach women to believe that their sexuality and their bodies are a source of self-confidence and empowerment, we need to stop dictating qualities of “sexiness”. Allowing women to celebrate tight, huge asses by condemning “skinny bitches” isn’t defeating a stereotype, it’s replacing it – to the detriment of every single woman of every single body type.
It would be naïve to assume that sex will ever stop being used to sell. But where women and men continue to set standards of beauty for other women, it places the power on the media to dictate those standards.
Whether you’re a ‘big booty bitch’, a ‘skinny bitch’ or anything in between, let’s stop condemning others bodies and start building the list of qualities that constitute the ‘perfect’ body. Or better yet, let’s not compare anyone or their bodies to the word ‘perfect’. As much as it may seem difficult, just do you. It might inspire someone else to do the same.