Life, Voices

Why I Am Not Embracing the Big Butt Trend

by

Kim Kardashian on cover of Paper Magazine Winter 2014 Break The Internet

Last week Kim Kardashian broke the Internet with her signature butt. In September, Vogue declared we are in the era of the big booty. And our Instagram feeds aren’t just loaded with selfies, but belfies (butt selfies) too. You would think that media’s changing female archetype from the stick-thin supermodel shape to one with healthy butt and thighs is something worth rejoicing over, that pop culture is finally moving away from unrealistic body ideals and becoming more inclusive of all shapes and sizes. Wrong. We’re not in some parallel universe where women can stay as they are and be accepted. In reality, the big butt trend is still playing the same game with women’s bodies—just tacking on another expectation that women are pressured to attain.

Almost every guy I have ever hooked up with or dated has had a strong obsession with my ass. They shamelessly glorified my toned rear, and me with my bony body and knobby, small boobs took pride in the realization I had some shred of sex appeal. But as I progressed from teen to adulthood with more boys sexualizing my behind, the more pressure I felt to maintain my booty and even grow it bigger. I did glutes exercises, squats, lunges, and even climbed four flights of stairs every day (instead of taking the elevator up to my apartment) just to define my butt even more. I was the one becoming obsessed. Having a nice butt wasn’t about my confidence anymore or staying fit, but instead on keeping men’s attention and always being known as the girl with that ass.

When butts started to get more recognition from the mainstream, I wasn’t as overjoyed as I initially thought I might be. The overwhelming sense of pressure I already felt was met with competition as I realized that even my nice butt wasn’t good enough. It was nowhere near the level of Iggy Azalea’s, and I certainly couldn’t twerk my booty to my advantage. The increased pressure and competition to be better—essentially be bigger (while still somehow remaining a size two on top)—eroded my self-esteem. I used to feel sexy and proud of my butt, but instead started to feel inadequate because of my size.

Mistakenly it’s assumed that the media’s changing image of women from thin to thick is body-positive and inclusive. While I am all for embracing different body types, the big butt trend is not even close to body-positivity; it’s actually body-shaming. From female pop stars singing about how men like more booty  to male DJs starting Kickstarter campaigns for singers like Taylor Swift to get a booty makes women who naturally lack an ass feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Body-positivity means being accepting of all bodies—not just a certain type. Telling women they’re not desirable because their butt isn’t bootylicious enough is no different than telling a woman she isn’t hot because she doesn’t have a flat stomach. The media is dictating the same status quo to women: worshipping one body type while shaming all others.

Women’s bodies have been continuously warped by society. We are supposed to have tiny waistlines, full lips, big breasts, toned abs, and now an impressively huge buttocks. Women’s bodies are manipulated by Photoshop to present this standard of beauty and erased of any hint of realism. Cellulite or stretch marks are unheard of, and celebrities boast figures most women only dream of. Honestly, average women don’t have all these physical characteristics (let alone any), and the endless set of unrealistic beauty standards we as women are pressured to attain is damaging to our self-worth. The real message should be that all women are beautiful regardless of size or shape; our natural beauty shouldn’t be dismissed because we don’t fit into some narrow definition of what it means to be sexy.

Every guy I have hooked up with who has fetishized my ass is really just treating me as one part—not as a whole. This is exactly what the media is doing today. In the same drooling fashion, a woman is broken down into the size of her bum and what that means about her sexuality. Her butt is reflected through the male perspective in music videos and song lyrics like, “Mama she told me don’t worry about your size. She says, ‘Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.'” (Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”) and “Because he don’t like ’em bony, he want something he can grab.” (Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”). The message is that big butts are desirable because men desire them. My female friends and I were doing fifty squats a day not for our health, but to become more desirable to guys. The sexualized body image is teaching both genders to look at women as objects, as just parts—instead of as a full person.

In rejecting this big butt trend, I stopped doing the daily lunges and squats. I realized if I’m just trying to get a bigger ass because it’s popular or guys like it but not because I truly want it, then it isn’t worth the workout. What I care about now is being healthy and staying true to my own body, whether that’s small-breasted and thin or having some junk in the trunk. As long as I am healthy, stress-free, and accept and love what I see in the mirror, then no one should tell me differently.

Related: Self-Love – 3 Practices to Love Your Body

Gone Girl and the Cool Girl Dialogue

What Being Korean Taught Me About Self-Image

Also by Jessica: Love – 6 Signs You Should Break Up

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Photo: Paper Magazine

Jessica Renae

Jessica Renae

Jessica Renae is a freelance journalist based out of Northern California. As an eight-year-long vegetarian, Jessica is obsessed with everything veg. Some of her favorite things include endless hikes through her backyard forest, challenging yoga poses and lazy days spent with her cats. Follow her on Instagram @jessbuxbaum.
Jessica Renae
  • Sarah

    Amen to that Jessica, what’s the point if we can’t be proud of our own bodies!

  • carinaintheory

    Love this kind of article, thanks. Photoshop makes this whole thing even worse – even Kim K’s butt isn’t as big as that picture. They’ve made her look like a centaur.

  • sugarkisses

    Actually big butts have been around for centuries. African American women have had junk in their trunk for years, but it was never seen as attractive by the world. Just like their full lips were not seen as attractive. Jennifer Lopez came on the scene, and suddenly the world became captivated and Botox became the norm. I do agree that we should strive to be healthy, but big booties is nothing new.

    • Aaron

      JUST when I though people couldn’t get any stupider – I shook my head in utter disbelief at the boneheaded crock of poop you wrote. You were trying so hard to sound serious and smart with that tripe. Fail. You missed the ENTIRE friggin point that the author made because your comprehension is that of brain dead roadkill.

      This is an article about self awareness, the experiences that the author had, her journey of feeling amazingly proud, having and continuing love for herself and her physicality. A blind man could see that – you did not.

      You have zero experience on this matter, it shows – you haven’t added any intelligent insight yet you commented anyway; at the same time abusing the freedom of speech right to indirectly push your bigotry. You’re out of your loony mind coming on a beautifully written article to be rude and nothing else.

      Let me explain something to you – my wife and I counsel African American and Latina female students ages 14 – 35 by educating on the how-to’s in regards to healthy self esteem and body images. Those are very same ethnicities ones you oh so blissfully spew badly about. You emphasize more on being a mean against African American women’s physical features than anything else. If you were making (terrible) observation on how negatively African American women are portrayed – you should’ve said so because your comment is coming off as straight up prejudiced.

      Moving on.

      Many of the African American and Latina girls have expressed in our group and individual sessions that the guys they come across ridicule them for NOT possessing a large backside which does a negative number on their self esteem and confidence.

      There’s the African American and Latina females whom express that because they have bigger butts, they have to deal with just as much pressure as the ones who don’t have a big butt – it goes both ways – regardless of the size of the derriere. They have been groped unrelentingly by savage male beasts who have NO RESPECT for the female body or her personal space.

      The Caucasian teen girls and young women expressed from their description of Hitler’s version of a “perfect Aryan woman” that’s STILL being pushed on women no matter her race, or a very petite, boyish/slim figure with a Taylor Swift face standard of beauty makes them feel inadequate. Asian girls and young women have said they don’t measure up to the Bollywood/Korean/Japanese standard of beauty either.

      They too, just like the Latina and African American women and teen girls, have been harassed by trifling ass boys and men to where my wife, myself and police officers stepped in.

      Each one of our clients have vast intelligence, beautiful, very kind, sweet, with big hearts and amazing honor students on their ways to college, getting a second degree and/or working successful jobs/careers. Each of our clients are loved immensely by us, their parents and immediate/extended families.

      We ease our clients back into feeling great about themselves by teaching that each body shape is different and unique with a lot of encouragement and support with and without loved ones present.

      My wife and I also have a self defense class conducted every week for free and work with the police department and high powered attorneys in our area just in case a trifling guy feels the need to inappropriately touch our clients, these teen girls and young women have that protection.

      So tell me – are YOU doing anything to uplift women and teen girls with who need extra guidance to help with having a happy and healthy body images including making sure they are safe with the help from officers, their parents and guardians? What’s coming off as negative on your end is downright horrid.

      What the insightful author wrote resounds with many women of color who write about the very same thing. They are weary and irritated from being constantly objectified by ONE PART OF THEIR BODIES and not appreciated for her mind and other positive traits that compliments her educated, classy, calm, loving personality.

      YOU MISSED THAT CRUCIAL ASPECT because your slight ignorance overrides your ability to think properly straight.

      I’m appalled at how casually biased you are, blatantly shutting down and throwing African American and Latina women under the bus in the manner that you have. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      “African American women have had junk in their trunk for years, but it was never seen as attractive by the world” and the moronic bit you wrote about Jennifer Lopez and African American lips is VERY narrow minded and teeters on idiot logic.

      You made asinine albeit generalized assumptions regardless of how “nice” you tried (and failed miserably) to put it.

      How many well off upper class Caucasian women had botox injections to make their lips fuller and got artificial tans to be darker which is no means a cheap process to do? Don’t worry I’ll wait. Matter of fact – I will answer for you: PLENTY but not all.

      Now that’s out of the way – not EVERY African American woman has a large rear end, some African American women have thin lips – where in God’s Holy Name did you get your stereotypical information from? TV? Magazines? Social media like Instagram, Facebook, and internet advertisements?

      Those African American women do NOT, I repeat DO NOT represent the entire African American woman populace – just as blonde hair, blue eyes and a size 2 figure doesn’t define the whole of Caucasian women. Period, point blank.

      By all means – walk up to a black or Latina woman and say what you wrote on here regardless of your intonation. I’m not asking – I’m TELLING you to. Show the world how much metaphorical balls you got.

      I’m sick and tired of people like you and your ilk who – again – use the freedom of speech right to bash and put women of color down and criticizing them like that’s fine.

      It isn’t, hasn’t and NEVER will be okay to be a openly yet undercover racist female misogynist – that’s EXACTLY the kind of attitude you are portraying by your words alone which in turn makes you an uglier person than you already are.

      If you are not like that – prove me wrong. Good luck with that. You have a nice day now ?.

      • Cardionema

        Jesus Christ, calm down!

      • Westy J

        wow I can’t even get into your thoughts because of how f’n rude & ugly you are. u r the one that is out of your mind to think it is ok to talk to people like that just cause they are saying something you don’t agree with. I find it really hard to believe that you are equipped to teach or counsel anyone. u & people with your “ilk” make me sick with your better than everyone tone a’hole.omG you’re a sick bastard for real! angry much?? actually you sound slightly off in the brain.

      • Sir Farty Fartsalot

        Aaron has never squeezed a booty in his life. Painfully obvious.

    • Sir Farty Fartsalot

      It just seems like they’re more popular than usual because of dorks making trends of them on the internet. And the fact that it’s more socially acceptable to be vocal about backsides since talking about breasts is pretty touchy.

  • Lance Smith

    I find the big bootie craze to be insane. They are so out of proportion with the female body I feel they are nasty. Give me a tiny toned butt any day. The closer the meat the sweater the treat.

    • Love Witch

      But…. You’re doing exactly what this author is speaking against. You’re shaming one body type and putting the other (your fetish) on a pedestal. Did you even read the article, or did you just assume that this was a big butt bashing parade because of the title?

  • Westy J

    I think Aaron must have a HUGE butt for him to get defensive lol…poor Aaron big butt bastard…

  • Ohioman

    I find it funny this article talks about women’s body but uses a picture of a person who had had tons of plastic surgery, including fat injected into her butt. Not all women have beautiful bodies and this is a fact of life. A fat women is not attractive and it make me think the girl doesn’t care about herself. Big butts can be attractive if they are firm, shapely, and fit. Most younger girls with big butts will have huge butts when they reach their 40 and 50s so I would not strive or wish for a big butt if you are young. This being said, I like women who are shapely and not some skinny no hipped chick. I like hips and butts as long as the waist ands stomach are not fat.
    Some men like big butts some do not. Some men like short women some men like tall women. Get my drift. Beauty is in the mind of the beholder and who cares about trends. Actually really beauty is a person’s soul not their physical appearance. I would take a nice, kind, caring, pleasant women over a girl with a so-called nice body.

  • Lilian John

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  • Stephie♥Create♥

    I hate having a big bum. I hate it so much that I developed eating disorders off and on throughout my life time. Food has become a strange thing in my life to the point where I think I’m a binge eater. people “Tell” Me I’m thin, the tape measure says 27 inches for my waist. but the tape measure also says i’m 42 in the hips and bum. the scale fluctuates between 142 and 137, when all I want it to say is 125 when I was the happiest with my size. I’m also only 5 feet tall, so I’m short and wide with no chest of any kind to proportion it out (a-cup)

    and I know why I am like this! because I spent all my life being bullied by my family, by kids at school, but random people. Bullied because I looked “fat” and then awkwardly hit on by men twice my age because I have a “Huge Bum”. I DON’T WANT IT. if I could give my bum to someone, I’d hand it over before they could even finish the sentence. I work out as often as I can, as much as I can, between classes and work, but I know it physically will NEVER go away because that’s just how I’m made.

    and the body positive movements haven’t made me feel any better, sometimes they even make me feel worse than I already do because I Literally can not see anything positive in my figure. Yes I get complimented, yes I get hit on, yes to all of that. but I don’t want to be compliment on that, tell me other things, like, tell me I have a soothing voice, or tell me my dull brown eyes are pretty, say my hair looks nice. don’t tell me, “d*** you got a nice a**” in the middle of the store in front of everyone. it makes me want to throw up, or hide. I have literally pressed myself up against a wall before after a guy complimented my butt because I didn’t realize how far it was sticking out that day. and I don’t try to hide it, god forbid I hide it, because in my experience hiding it just makes it worse and I look like a balloon. I know people will shoot me down but I like the skinny look, the flat bums and the small breasts with narrow hips. to me that is gorgeous and lovely and enchanting, that’s what I want for me. and I know it’s not possible with out surgery. (which I wouldn’t do because what would the point be in that)

    I don’t like the body positive movement. I rather see a “be the healthiest you” movement. why can’t we have that, were I don’t have to be afraid of getting any bigger then i already am or be afraid of getting to skinny and be shut out as well.

  • Tarik Loqmani

    Well, I became obsessed with them since 4-5 months ago. I never had a preference but now it’s clear I like big butts ALOT.

  • Jandoor Thumpinbrushwheel

    Jebus! That Kim is one ugly mole! She is actually PROUD of her enormous fat arse?!?!?! Weird….. I remember a time when women tried to keep their rumps as small and tight as possible, did aerobics to Jane Fonder videos. Of course, not everyone could be lucky enough to have good genetics and/or will power, so the beautiful stood out from the ordinary and downright ugly. Now we are living in a world where beauty no longer has any meaning or value – EVERYONE is now beautiful regardless of how fat they are, how big their huge arse is, how anatomically unpleasing their face or body may be – NO ONE IS UGLY ANYMORE! Crazy. Sorry ladies, but big arses are downright ugly… unless you are a negro (they seem to like it – each to their own). I strongly suggest that instead of being lazy, feeding your face and then eluding yourself that your puffed up posterior is attractive why not do some exercise, change your diet and actually BECOME attractive instead of living in a fat arse fantasy world.

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