Body Love or Unhealthy Craze?
A closer look into the “era of the big booty.”
The year of 2014 has ushered in the dawn of the “Big Booty era,” featuring butt anthems, surgically enhanced derrières, and racy music videos. Pop icons including Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj have all embraced, or perhaps catalyzed, this new cultural fixation. While some are referring to this as a rally for body acceptance, this new craze is anything but empowering.
American society’s growing obsession is inherently problematic, not because it focuses on butts, but because it represents yet another unrealistic body standard for women. No matter how you look at it, any body trends are dangerous. While of course there is nothing wrong with having a large behind and embracing it, this trend is representative of a much bigger problem in our society, the idea of the “perfect” body shape. The emergence of the trend itself is an emblem of the continuing rigidity of the ideal female body shape. Take for example, Nicki Minaj’s explicit single “Anaconda,” when she says “F*** those skinny b******, F*** those skinny b****** in the club.” These lewd lyrics represent an increasing trend in songs where larger framed and overweight women deem smaller women “skinny b******.” This negativity towards smaller body types only serves to increase the confidence of one group at the price of the self-esteem of another. Negativity plus negativity just equates to more negativity. Despite the fact that skinny women make up the majority of modern media, this should not justify or make it socially acceptable to turn them the scapegoats of songs that should be encouraging all women to embrace their body instead of sexualizing curvaceous women and putting down those who are fit.
By focusing solely on the posterior, this trend places an unhealthy emphasis upon the appearance of a single body part. This fixation encourages women who are not already physically endowed to go out and seek means to become conform, whether through a rigid exercise regimen, diet plan, or cosmetic surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rates for buttock lifts have increased a whopping 80% since 2000. This represents growing cultural dissatisfaction due to a new emphasis on the appearance of women’s hindsides.
The “era of booty,” also makes women focus on another standard set by men. Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass,” a song intended to encourage body love, unfortunately only establishes a marginal line for body acceptance based on male desires. The song opens with these lines:
“Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places”
The song essentially tells girls not to accept their body on the terms of their own satisfaction, but rather to accept their body because it fits the standards imposed by men. The song also implies that women lacking “that boom boom” are both undesirable, and are not doing what they are “supposed to do.”
I think it’s time we call an end, not just to the “era of big booty,” but to the era of judging women based on arbitrary physical ideals for. Let’s usher in a new age. Not an age of toned arms, or slim thighs, or whatever else the media can construct, but instead an age where all body types are encouraged to be embraced.