Booty, booty, booty, booty, booty everywhere—and I’m over it. I am sick of the fascination with big booty White girls. And no, I am not a hater. I have a bodacious backside of my own. But what gives this big booty girl a wedgie the size of an extra-small thong is the current media saturation of protruding posteriors of White girls as if it’s the best thing since peanut butter found jelly. Big booties ain’t new! Big booty Black girls have been holding it down since the beginning of time.
Women of African descent have always had backsides that didn’t conform to the norm, and outside of our communities we have been ridiculed and scorned and encouraged to cover and camouflage our butts. Growing up, our mothers and grandmothers sang the praises of the Almighty Girdle as the fix-all to control and contain our God-given bottoms. They knew what we had, and they knew the trouble it could cause so they encouraged us to bind our behinds while the men folk encouraged us to strut our stuff. I think the art of switching (walking while swaying the hips) originated and was perfected in the Black community by a Black woman with a basketball booty who wanted to make sure its grace and movement was appreciated by those lucky enough to behold it.
In the days before music videos and social media, many of us reveled in our bootylisciousness. I’m not bragging when I say, the booty songs back in the day, Da Butt, Baby Got Back and Bootyliscious to name a few were definitely Black girl anthems. We had one asset that we could call our own. We may not have had White girls bouncing and behaving hair, or their any-other-color-than-brown eyes, but we definitely had more junk in the trunk. And any Black girl worth her ethnicity did not want to hear the words, “You got a White girl (aka pancake flat) booty!”
And we reigned booty supreme, until the 90s when a Latina by the name of Jennifer Lopez strolled on the scene, and all eyes were on this petite dynamo’s terrific tush. It was a terrible day for Black women because once again some other non-Black woman was getting credit denied to us. Yes, JLo is a woman of color which should have lessened the blow, but it didn’t really because for as long as we know, we’ve been made to feel bad about our otherness—the differences that set us apart from the dominant culture--and then along comes a Latina who could easily pass for White and gets credit for an asset that was once black.
Jennifer was rear ended by Beyonce who has made a name for herself in the derrière department. And if that isn’t enough to let you know who’s on top in the best bottom category, there is one of our own seated in the White House, and as ridiculous as it may seem, First Lady Michelle Obama’s booty has been deemed newsworthy (like everything else about the Obama family) a few times. We could finally have pride in our backsides! But. . . not really. When Salon writer Erin Aubre praised the attributes of Michelle’s gluteus maximus, it stirred up quite a debate. So, much in fact that the Huffington Post posed the question if was appropriate to talk about Michelle’s butt. Readers weighed in on the taboo topic of the First Lady’s tush.
We couldn’t talk about Michelle’s booty, but hey, we had Bey. Things were going well until Beyonce was butted by none other than Kim Kardashian who has one of the most admired and envied celebrity backsides. Every time I turned around there was someone talking about Kim’s butt. When Kim came on the scene, big booties, moved mainstream. Then Nicki Minaj took over Kim’s number one spot. There are Top 10 celebrity lists for everything, and when I looked up best booties, Nicki and Kim are holding the number 1 and number 2 spots respectively. But what got my panties in a bunch is that Black women, the originator of the ba dunka dunk, the junk in the mid-sized to large trunk only had two spots out of ten. Really? We had been robbed—again.
First it was Bo Derek who made braids all the rage. Hello? How long have we been wearing our hair braided? Some of us have even been terminated for wearing braids branded as “too ethnic”. Then it was Angelina Jolie’s pouty lips. Full lips were so much in vogue, that women started getting injections to make their lips bigger—oops!—I mean fuller. Because big lips were what Black women had before luscious lips became popular and then “big lips” became “full lips” (because full sounds better than big) and then Black women were able to stop using make-up tricks we had been taught to minimize the size of our lips.
Hip-hip music videos brought the booty into the spotlight, but it was still not socially acceptable. Women who chose to flaunt their fabulous fannies were judged harshly—until now! What music videos fetishized and objectified, society has now normalized—if the booty in question happens to be alabaster in complexion. Nicki was recently criticized for her Anaconda album cover. But Kim, the married mother of a young daughter and the queen of bootie selfies gets a pass? I haven’t seen any open letters to Kim about showing her ass.
From squats to injections, to articles and videos galore, there is a surplus of information on how to get a bigger butt. And now big booties are not only acceptable, they’re coveted. I guess we should thank White girls for giving our derrières their due just as we have Miley Cyrus to thank for legitimatizing twerking. Side eye. I’m so over this latest episode of cultural appropriation. There is even a documentary, Bottoms Up—Rise of the Backside, that traces how booties have moved from cult fetish to main stream acceptability. There’s a tan booty on the poster for the film that does not look like it belongs to the originator and creator of Big Booties—Black girls! So, yea, I’m sick of the whole big booty White girl obsession. It makes me feel like I’m wearing a dental floss thong. A friend of mine said there's a thin line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. And the line has been crossed-again!