Asses In The Age Of Digital Perfection

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Have you been on Instagram lately? Of course, you have.  Of all the social media sites, I have to admit Instagram is pretty much the ‘crown jewel’ in terms of unrealistic aspirations of perfection. All types of perfection, not just beauty. The cars are shinier, the houses are bigger and of course, the asses are fatter. This is what I am here to talk about.

It’s been well documented that voluptuous figures were not objects of sexual desire in mainstream pop culture for a very long time. That being said, having a big butt in black culture has always been seen as a good thing since time was documented, it seems.  Whether it’s Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ or the bikini-clad ladies in Tupac’s embodiment of summer ‘I Get Around,’ women who had a little junk in their trunks were loved, adored even. But since then, something has shifted. At the turn of the century, big butts were in again, in all cultures. Some point to Jennifer Lopez, others still to Beyonce and of course the so-called ‘belfie queen’ Jen Selter. Now, it seems we cannot get away from asses. They. Are. Everywhere.

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A post shared by Jen Selter (@jenselter) on

The celebration of #phatties should be just that: a celebration, but it’s not. There’s the racial aspect of it which unless you take up residence under a rock, should be noticeable by now. There is little fanfare over the scantily clad butt of Lira Galore (other than to call her a whore), but people continue to lose their minds over Khloe Kardashian’s buttocks. Apart from the race of the butt owner, there is the look. It has to be completely smooth. No cellulite, no stretch marks, no darkness where the lower cheeks meet. Just completely smooth and supple. Now some women have asses like that, but the truth is many women do not. That needs to be ok. What I’m seeing is a trend moving towards thickness and only a particular thickness. More Ashley Graham and less Queen Latifah, which to me is unfortunate because there should be room for both of these body types. In my opinion, our beauty standards are still unrealistic and impossible for only but a few to meet. We just have filters now. Same shit, different day.

My last and most important gripe is an intra-community issue. Earlier I talked about the love of big butts in the black community and how they are celebrated. It is also important to discuss how what not having that particular body looks like for black women. Big asses seem to have become more of a fashion statement rather than a just a very attractive body part. To that end, it has created fetishisation and yet another layer of the complicated stereotypes that have been attached to black women. Now, there are white women or non-black WOC who routinely say dumb things like ‘ha-ha my butt’s bigger than yours. I’m practically black!’ Which is not only extremely hurtful but to state the obvious, no amount of Cardi B lyrics and spray tan will change the fact that that will never be true. Speaking of Cardi B, she reigns as one of the few notable celebrities that has admitted to having plastic surgery to enhance her appearance. Her reasons for making her butt notably bigger follow the rhetoric of this entire piece, she states that she enhanced herself because the strip club that she was working at during that time, clearly favoured larger butts and she needed to make the same amount of coin. In other words, she felt pressure to look a certain way in order to feed herself and her family at that stage in her life.

@laquan_smith all over my body

A post shared by Cardi B Official IG (@iamcardib) on

Personally, I have nothing against plastic surgery. In fact, if I get my bands up, I might even dabble in the same. However, I do have a problem with more and more women – particularly black women – having these elective surgeries to uphold what the ‘ideal’ black female body type is supposed to look like. I can’t believe I have to type this in the year of our Lord 2018, but the female body comes in all shapes and sizes. We should all adhere to that fact!

So, the next time any of my fellow black girls out there of the no-ass, wobbly-ass, wide-ass or even a cellulite-ass category worries about whether or not they should put up ‘that’ selfie of them in the bikini from the behind, you go ahead. You don’t owe a perfect bottom to anyone. And should you decide to get a perfect butt via surgery, make sure it’s for yourself and yourself only.

Follow Modupe on Twitter @yorubamermaid
(Artwork via @thepoopculture)