Dear Vogue: A Big Booty Is Not A Fashion Trend » VSB

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Dear Vogue: A Big Booty Is Not A Fashion Trend

tracee-ellis-ross-Let me get this out first:

WE CAN’T HAVE SHIT.

*woosahs and le sighs*

Patricia Garcia, Vogue writer, hipped me to something new in her essay, “We’re Officially in the Era of the Big Booty.” First, let’s start with the title. We’re “officially” embracing big butts, huh? Says who? Fashion designers? Pop culture experts? Mark Cuban? This is something new, I suppose.

Also, the term “era” is defined as a “period of time associated with an event, person or a series of years, which signals an end.” It’s safe to say that like any other trend, it’ll be trashed, and they’ll be on to the next (“Oh, big butts were so last Fall!”).

The biggest secret Garcia shared is that Jennifer Lopez is the Queen of the Big Booties. She single-handedly brought round derrieres to the forefront, and now everyone wants one. Then, here comes Britney Spears, a song by Destiny’s Child (so popular that “bootylicious” was added to Webster’s Dictionary), followed by Kimmy K. West, who stole the scene with her “suspicious” behind. Iggy Izalea’s asset is a winner, too. Apparently, these women are Trailblazers of Boo-tay.

Oh. Now, they’ve decided that big butts are cool.

Since we’re talking about it, let’s take a look at the many, many identities, cultural gems, trends that have been high-jacked by mainstream America. There’s braids and cornrows (remember Marie Claire’s infamous tweet about Kylie Jenner’s “bold braids”?), colored and dyed hair, step shows (as seen in Rick Owens’ Paris Fashion Week runway show) and plump lips. The list goes on and on.

ALL of these things were once looked at as ghetto, raunchy, weird and too BLACK.

But it all comes back to Jenny from the Block, and I, in no way am I hating on her or her ass. She looks damn good, and yes, she is a woman of color who happens to take care of body and keep things rounded out. But let’s be real, way before she ever got “On the 6” or rolled around on the floors of the In Living Color set as a Fly Girl, we knew women — Black women — whose booties would put hers to shame. They were in our families, friends, girls from the neighborhood. They were us.

In our community, booty is king. What makes JLO, Iggy or anyone else more desirable or acceptable than us? How did it become so acceptable when for so long, it wasn’t?

Hey people, while you’re twerking and discovering your weak leg endurance dancing to “Anaconda,” take time to listen to the sample Nicki used. “Baby Got Back” by Sir-Mix-a-Lot hit #1 on the Billboard charts in 1992, and is perhaps, the answer to what Garcia writes

For years it was exactly the opposite; a large butt was not something one aspired to, rather something one tried to tame in countless exercise classes. Even in fashion, that daring creative space where nothing is ever off limits, the booty has traditionally been shunned.”

But no more, and it only took 20 years for it to happen. Now, squats are THE thing, followed by surgery that can unfortunately result in deformities or death. And let’s be clear, all women, especially if we’re lacking in that area, are putting in work for results, but still, a large behind isn’t a phenomenon in our culture.

Mix-a-lot talked from Black men’s perspective, celebrating Black women’s curves and in turn, shunning White culture’s desire for White women with smaller frames. In the video, women in leotards and barely there shorts flexed their buns on a giant (and hideous) life-size butt, gyrating and yes, twerking (the early 90s version atleast). It was a bit raunchy for that time, but no one really cared. It was hit, especially among Black folk.

But really, this isn’t about who had big butts first, although this is a prime case of “columbusing.” Some would argue that because America is such a melting pot, no one can claim ownership to any one thing anymore. Lies they tell.

What’s so maddening about appropriation is whenever mainstream decides something is favorable or trendy, it’s snatched up immediately with no warning. The very thing that was an eye sore or embarrassment is now a high commodity. Our bodies, our hairstyles, fashion, our mannerisms and conversation styles ARE NOT must-have accessories. You can’t pull them off of the rack and put them on to be the “cool girl or guy.”

They are a part of us and our culture, what we do without thought about whether it’ll turn heads on runways. What we were raised on or in. What we danced to our bedrooms as children and teenagers, what we begged our mamas to buy for our first day of school.

It’s what we wake up in every damn day. Stop trying to make the dear pieces of us “a thing.” I got this from my momma, so it’ll never be “last season” to me.

Alisha Tillery

Alisha Tillery is a freelance writer living and working in Memphis, Tennessee. She loves music, magazines, old Martin episodes and black people. Her work has been published in ESSENCE, Ebony.com, Clutch Magazine and Mediabistro.com. She writes about any and everything that hits a nerve at www.alishatillery.com. ?

  • Right with you. I’m not with this detaching of things we associate with Black women then getting uber excited when we see it on white women (or just non-Black women in general) when Black women have been and still get dragged for having those same body parts. No one talks about how great in shape Black women with big butts are but there are 1511 magazine articles for every white woman with anything bigger than a pancake focusing on how to tone and lift to get their a** that way.

    • Rachmo

      *whispers* I lowkey appreciate the articles bc I am not as blessed as Ms. Ross. However yeah I get annoyed when “bigger” butts are seen as a “thing”

      • Neptunes presents The Clones

        So i’m guessing Anaconda is not played on Rachmo FM

        • Rachmo

          I think I have Stockholm Syndrome. I rationalize Nicki saying “fuck them skinny b*tches in the club” is a shout out to me bc I love she so.

          • Kema

            Did you see Ellen’s version of Anaconda? Made me lol at the gym.

            • Epsilonicus

              Ellen is so damb funny. She is the friend I have always wanted

      • You know, they got help for that if it’s that serious. Then again, I appreciate big booties on all races of women. Think of me as like Bennetton, but for butts. :)

        • Rachmo

          I just accept my place as a skinny b*tch.

          • Epsilonicus

            Just know your lil cheeks are appreciated

            • Rachmo

              Well thanks

          • Kema

            I was called skinny about a week ago. I almost cried. *whimpers* That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. lol

    • Clarissa

      Exactly.
      It seems everyone and I mean everyone -you know who I’m talking about- gives non-black women extra points for having the same features black women do. A black women with full lips and a nice round ass gets a gold star, while Maria and Mary down the block get two gold stars for having the same features, whether it is store bought or not.
      What this is really about is people thinking those features look better on women with white or close to white skin.

    • This is not the first time the Black booty has been coveted and copied, you can’t forget Ms. Hottentot and the hoop dresses the English adored as the fashion rage during the 1600’s her booty inspired. Low key Sir was a hit for White folk too back in the day which is why you STILL hear his song on Ivy league frat boy comedy movie soundtracks.

  • LadyIbaka

    There’s been a sudden need in the mainstream media to ‘think piece’/demistify/glorify/analyze, what otherwise has been part and parcel of our culture and identity. The other day, they were thinking piecing their way through the history of twerking, thanks to Miley Cyrus et al, ‘popularizing’ it (*rolls eyes, as if*). Now, because Kim West, Iggy Australia have surgically enhanced behinds, big donks are the ‘it thing’ to have.

    As mentioned in the article some are even dying in the quest for this sought after ‘accessory’. It’s a shame that the same asset that is naturally endowed to most of us (99.9%), is now embraced and sought after, while in the past we were caricatured, harshly critiqued, demonized (Sarah Baartman).

    PS (I love you, who remembers that song?!!)://
    If they think Kim K’s assets are phenomenal, I urge them to think-piece on my Ghanaian and South African sister’s body parts. Small waist to HUGE, like ghatdamn how did you get in them jeans ASSet ratio!! (Lawwwd hammercy)

    • Heavens2Murgatroid

      I remember my mother schooled me about Sarah Baartman at a young age. Telling me “they openly hate us because they secretly want to be us, that’s why they study us so”

    • Yeah, I’ve seen what comes on late night TV in Africa and…
      http://media3.giphy.com/media/oHOTzg5g0wAxO/giphy.gif
      Need I say more?

  • kidvideo

    Damn….Miss Ross got a fatbooty.

    • IcePrincess

      U just now knowing that? She’s always had a phatty on da low.

    • Val
    • Rachmo
      • Neptunes presents The Clones

        I give it a B+

        • Val

          Only a B+? I think you need to clean your bifocals and look again.

          http://photos-e.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xpa1/1530821_812954888769308_1951040120_n.jpg

          • That people looks great on her

            • Val

              Purple? Yeah, purple is my fav color. But, honestly any color would look great on Tracee.

            • i like the people. lol

          • Heavens2Murgatroid

            That’s legit alright. If you don’t have that deep crease you don’t pass that litmus test

            • Sigh….so right. SO RIGHT!

            • Val

              What really makes her shape legit is her waist to hip ratio. No Photoshop needed.

              • Heavens2Murgatroid

                Touché. Quite right you are. Maybe I (and other blacks) just take it for granted because there’s so much of it. I can’t go outside of a one-block radius without seeing 7 out of 10 women with that ratio

        • Agreed. Very nice, though Serena’s is nicer. :)

          • Kozy

            i feel like it’d almost be a full-on fight with me & Serena. two folks with muscles aint got no business thrashing about, unintentionally destroying hotel rooms and such.

            • Val

              Lol.

            • Kema

              Hmmm…. Now I wanna find pron like this.

            • menajeanmaehightower

              Serena looks like she would throw it on you to see if you will bounce it back. Would you take that challenge?

              • Kozy

                in a heartbeat.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                damn skippy!

      • IcePrincess

        Omg I luuuuuv that dress!! Perfect for fall. I’d rock it wit stiletto knee boots

        • Neptunes presents The Clones

          Then you can fall on this here……

          • IcePrincess

            Lol you wish ;)

        • Val

          What dress? Oh, the dress. Yeah, it’s nice. ;-)

          • IcePrincess

            Lol you stuuuuupid

      • Looking at that picture might make certain parts, um…touch the sky. Complete with the Curtis Mayfield sample. LOL

        • Rachmo

          *breaks stare* HUH? Oh yeah. She is my longtime crush. I pray to the gods I can hold it together that well at 40.

      • menajeanmaehightower

        I never thought she was hot as much as i thought she has “that” look. I can’t explain what “that” is but the look is to be appreciated.

        • Rachmo

          Agreed. I follow her on IG and her look is this perfect mixture of approachable mixed with chexy and a hint of class. I love her long time.

          • menajeanmaehightower

            Right?!? It’s like an “i woke up like dis” mixed with “i don’t take myself seriously because i am awesome.”

            • Rachmo

              YES! Confession: basically I used this post as an excuse to stan out for Tracee.

              • menajeanmaehightower

                Sanaa Lathan is another one. Again, not hot to me but has the look that i can appreciate and give kudos to. Add in the fact that both are in their 40s and still stomping on chicks and i have to give credit where credit is due.

                • I appreciate Tracee’s body but Sanaa Lathan is just a good looking woman to me.

                  • menajeanmaehightower

                    I think they are both attractive but there is something else there. Funny that i never really noticed Tracee’s body. It wasn’t the first thing that stood out to me. Granted, i am a face person. You can have the best body in the world but if your face doesn’t have distinguishing features that i like, it’s more meh to me.

                    • I noticed it because they pointed out her assets all of the time on the first season of Girlfriends.

                    • menajeanmaehightower

                      Rarely looked her way. But Toni on the otherhand gave face.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Toni is so sexy

                    • menajeanmaehightower

                      FACE!

                    • Epsilonicus

                      What about it? It looks great

                    • menajeanmaehightower

                      A thing of beauty. That to me is what giving face is all about. She had the face.

                    • Lea Thrace

                      I’m gonna quote my comment from a post last week or so ago:

                      “Someone once described Jill Marie Jones to me as having “a million dollar body with a food stamp face.”

                      I died. Haven’t been able to look at that show the same way since.”

                    • Toni Childs is just bad period. I agree I don’t ignore a** but Tracee’s face didnt’ catch me but Toni’s did.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      Tracee’s eyes are a bit off.

                    • miss t-lee

                      a bit? You’re being gracious.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I try

                    • Val

                      Jill/ Toni’s lips are amazing.

                    • Kema

                      For me its hard to focus on anything but Tracee’s eyes. Even in that pic with Big Boi where she’s giving major bootay I am drawn to her eyes.

                    • menajeanmaehightower

                      It’s like the size of her eyes shouldn’t be considered attractive but on her they are.

                    • Val

                      I love her eyes. She got them from her mom.

                    • Kema

                      They are mesmerizing.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      That is true. I could not date a woman with a funny face and a banging body.

                    • menajeanmaehightower

                      Because a body can change dramatically. But usually if the face is pretty/handsome, it kinda stays that way for a good long minute. You can’t correct a face you don’t find attractive. It’s either there or it isn’t.

                • NomadaNare

                  Sanaa is hot fire like Dylan tracks. Like all day. Since Disappearing Acts.

              • Epsilonicus

                I think I need to check Tracee out a bit more

        • NomadaNare

          I never quite knew what it was, but that’s it. She looks like she has all the qualities of a Bougie Black Girl (BBG). Mixed with that back, though she’s doing big things. Big things.

      • ED

        And we really appreciate you for this

      • Sigma_Since 93

        @rachmo:disqus is the real mvp!!!

        Go Steelers!!

        • Epsilonicus

          Tuh.

  • Heavens2Murgatroid

    Look here, I’ve been enjoying big butts since School Daze circa 1988, with that song “Da Butt” by E.U. I remember going to school and everybody singing “Felicia got a big ol’ butt. Oh yea! Lashawnda got a big ol’ butt. Oh yea!”

    • kidvideo

      Dont forget LL’s version, “Big ole Butt”.

  • Neptunes presents The Clones

    But always remember to never trust a smile with an accompaniment of a posterior…

    • Indeed, that lass is venom.

      • Neptunes presents The Clones

        Luckily many songs have been sung about the dangers of trusting a clapper.

  • There has certainly been a pendulum swing in cultural imperialism, white women want tans, full lips, big butts, braids, but still want to be held as the standard of beauty…. That’s not how this works.

    • Val
      • Tentpole

        Damn Val, You just outted me. Now you know where I got that from when that subject comes up. LOL

      • NomadaNare

        It’s all about the inhale between the first and second parts of that phrase. Paul Mooney is hilarious.

    • Right…if you’ve “borrowed” everything that in your eyes makes you beautiful how could you possibly feel you’re the be all end all when it comes to standards of beauty. I’m all about borrowing because hell we all do it in one way or another but I’m also about giving homage to the original.

      • Val

        Your first sentence is so true.

    • Tentpole

      Yes it does and they have the money and privilege to prove it. ;-)

  • Rachmo

    I’ll just spend my morning staring at/hating on Tracee’s bod

  • Tracee’s body is what dreams are made of….

    anywhom…..black and brown ppl (YES, I am standing firmly in my Puerto Rican pride) have been blessed with the roundest backsides since the dawn of time….im not trippin over the “big butt trend” cuz like anything else, it’ll still be ours after the fad passes

    • Thank you for noticing the face. I was just checking for #datass. LOL Though White people swear that I’m some weirdo for being booty obsessed. Apparently, I’m their one Black friend the typical White person averages. :)

    • Epsilonicus

      I am not gonna lie, I had to go back up and find the face. I did not see it the first time around.

  • First, lemme take a moment to remember the thousands who lost their lives in 9/11, and to be grateful that my daughter can celebrate another birthday today. Talk about mixed feelings.

    That said, I’m actually going to co-sign Vogue on this one. From their perspective, booty IS a new phenomenon. Plus, you have to look at how big booty has changed over time. We can acknowledge that while boobs have stayed in style, how boobs have looked have definitely changed. There’s a reason people talk about 70s boobs. LOL Still, look at the booties in the “Baby Got Back” video and compare them to the “Anaconda” video.

    The difference is dramatic. Like if the girls from the Baby Got Back video where stuck in a time machine and asked to try out for the Anaconda video, they would have gotten laughed off the set. I remember asking half jokingly on Facebook if we are in the Big Booty Steroid Era (to steal a phrase from baseball), and I got a few people co-signing me on that. While big booty in general may be a Black thing, this particular style is a modern phenomenon that Vogue can safely declare a trend.

    Also, let’s talk about J-Lo, particularly the fact that she’s Latina. If this latest OKTrend blog post is to be taken seriously, there’s a reason it took a Latin woman to make the big booty trend blow up. F*cked up as it sounds, outside of Black dudes, ain’t no one coming to see you Otisina. While we know that Latin culture and Black culture have significant amounts of overlap in its roots, a lot of White America doesn’t know that. J-Lo reads much more White to White people than she does to Black folk.

    And if you don’t buy that, let’s take it to the pr0n industry, where people aren’t going to politically correct with regard to what their genitalia likes. There’s this site called Fame Registry that ranks adult film star popularity based on website traffic, Google searches and social media activity. There are only 2 sisters on the list, and the top one is ranked #77. Ouch.

    All of this to say that baring radical societal change, anything Black women make $exy ain’t going to be checked for until a non-Black woman does it. It’s f*cked ALL the way up, but it’s a reflection of our racist society.

    • Val

      “J-Lo reads much more White to White people than she does to Black folk.”

      True. But, it wasn’t always that way. They saw her as Black too way back in her dating Puffy days. Then she went with a full on Whitening campaign. She did all those films with only White guys as her romantic leads. And she mostly did romcoms. Which allowed her to play the harmless lonely woman part.

      Happy birthday to your daughter.

      • J Lo played a middle aged white woman for years to rid herself of the Puff’s girl label

        • Val

          That shooting incident almost did her in.

        • Ironically the middle-aged white women I work with cannot stand J Lo. “She’s just so chunky looking. I don’t think she’s pretty.” Me and the dudes in the office were like

          http://giphy.com/gifs/PkVHsFmmLeBfa

          • I feel your pain. I so feel your pain. Then people wonder why I didn’t marry within my field. Man, if I wanted pancakes, I’d just make them myself. :)

            • To make things worse I’m the only black guy and we all gave them that “You’re on drugs.” look

          • miss t-lee

            JLo is “chunky”? Oh that’s right, I forgot we’re talking about white women’s standards.

            • Epsilonicus

              I found that odd too. Like where are they getting chunky from

              • miss t-lee

                It’s like bizzaro world.

            • Don’t think about it too much, Compton.

              • miss t-lee

                Done.
                *snickers*

      • Thanks for the wishes. Still, J-Lo in her Puffy days was playing a real life Eve Mendes role, if you get my drift. She did the full-on Whitening thing, but that door was always open to her. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that she knew Puffy way back when, I’m not sure she would have checked for him.

      • ED

        Don’t forget Beniffer

      • niknikky

        “They saw her as Black too way back in her dating Puffy days. Then she went with a full on Whitening campaign.”

        Except on the music front, where’d she’d conveniently rock cornrows and do “urban” remixes featuring the likes of Fabolous and Ja Rule….

        • Val

          True but White folks weren’t listening to urban radio enough to know about her secret Black musical life. Lol

      • Rawtid

        she hasn’t appealed to ppl of color since Selena. shes been “whitening” herself ever since

      • Bluberry01

        and she got a nose job. Peep her pictures before and after her Flyy Girl days on “In Living Color”.

    • menajeanmaehightower

      Question for you Todd. Who is watching all of the interracial pron videos? Those with black women and white men. It seems there’s a decent amount out there or maybe niche sites.

      Edit: this question has nothing to do with the topic at all. I just know that Todd knows things.

      • Kozy

        white men. the end.
        and, by the numbers, they watch the most adult video content, so it stands to reason why that category won’t falter.

        • menajeanmaehightower

          I’ve always wondered because from my research, there seems to be an array of those types of videos and clips.

          • Val

            Lol@’my research’

            • menajeanmaehightower

              Trying to educate myself Val.

        • Yep. Pretty much. And it’s the same “OMG, I got an actual Black girl who isn’t ghetto and won’t bite my head off” plot. White boy PLEASE! Black women aren’t all Sapphires and Jezebels. LOL

          • Clarissa

            Then please explain the revolting Ghetto Gaggers.
            Although I heard black men compromise a large percentage of their viewers.

            • I won’t even attempt to defend that BS. Not me, not now, not ever. I’m as free to be you and me as anyone else, but c00n acts aren’t my thing, thanks.

              • Clarissa

                Good, but I wasn’t asking you to defend it, my comment was in response to the populairty of bw+wm interracial porn. You said it was popular because “OMG, I got an actual Black girl who isn’t ghetto and won’t bite my head off plot”
                When there is in fact porn that centers around “ghetto” black women.
                Perhaps it is sick men wanting to get off on degrading black women, but not clean nice black women.
                On the flip there is porn that degrades clean nice white women, I wonder if the viewers overlap.
                Although I’m sure the difference is when they turn off their computer and head out into the real world they still see white women as women, but see black women (or at least “ghetto” black women) as less than.

                • I see your point, but I think you’re giving the dudes into this way too much credit. Degrading women is their thing, period. They aren’t exactly looking to respect women afterwards. LOL

            • MysteryMeat

              I just googled Ghetto Gaggers and now im disturbed and sorta kinda angry. Or something. An article also popped up saying one of the actors walked off the set and quit the industry which made me giggle for some reason

              • There are certain things that only need to be watched once. That’s one of them.

        • My work out trainer is a white man and he’s openly told me he fantasizes about one day being able to sleep with a black woman. While we’ve never discusssed his porn viewing habits, I think its safe to say he would be one of those people watching interracial porn flicks with white men and black women…

          • menajeanmaehightower

            This is disturbing. What does he think one will do to him? Fuck him until he passes out or chain him to a bed?

            We aren’t creatures. We are women.

            • mylesfast

              I must ask, how is this bad? Many people have similar fantasies? Its a white guy thats likes black woman but hasnt had the chance yet.

              • menajeanmaehightower

                It’s in a fetish way and something to be checked off of a list.

                • I wouldn’t say fetish. I never had the oppurtunity to have any sort of relationship with a latino woman. Since Im already married, I never will. But I am curious about them. My trainer friend grew up in the burbs and knows nothing about black women.

                  • menajeanmaehightower

                    I guess that’s fair. I see where you are coming from.

            • ED

              That’s a man thing really. Guys tend to fantasize about different types of women. The categories can be anything from race, to nationality, to size, etc.

      • ED

        white men are also the primary viewers of bm/ww.

        • menajeanmaehightower

          Can’t comprehend this.

          • Epsilonicus

            A lot of wm are into racial fetishes.

            • Val

              White folks don’t get the credit they deserve for being obsessed with race. They are just obsessed in a different way than everyone else.

              • menajeanmaehightower

                Which makes me cringe.

              • pls

                they are only obsessed with US!

          • ED

            I read about it in a book (A Billion Wicked Thoughts) Obsedian suggested a while back. The theory is that men, in general, are turned on by seeing alpha males $exually dominate women.

            • Good point. Notice it ain’t reg’lar looking ninjas humping dem White chicks in those movies. They gotta be bigger, stronger and more endowed than your typical White guy. Plus the fact that it’s a Black guy is even more shocking, because we aren’t “supposed” to be alpha.

            • Wild Cougar

              Also read this. Men are kinda obsessed with peens

    • niknikky

      “The difference is dramatic. Like if the girls from the Baby Got Back video where stuck in a time machine and asked to try out for the Anaconda video, they would have gotten laughed off the set. I remember asking half jokingly on Facebook if we are in the Big Booty Steroid Era (to steal a phrase from baseball), and I got a few people co-signing me on that. While big booty in general may be a Black thing, this particular style is a modern phenomenon that Vogue can safely declare a trend.”

      This is a great point…it’s not enough to be curvy with a proportionate dunk. An Angel Conwell body won’t cut it next to Buffie the Body, which I think is problematic in itself.

      • First, thank you for bringing Angel Conwell into my life. :) Still, the point is taken. She’d gotten more love 20 years ago than she does now.

      • menajeanmaehightower

        Buffie is in a league of her own.

    • pls

      jlo did what they all do. pander to the blacks, especially if in the music industry, get us in their pockets, then try to go mainstream.

      she used puffy to get credibility in the black community, then once she was done with us she moved on. we need to stop being so accepting to outsiders.

      look at miley cyrus. she is trying so hard to be “down.” i bet her next album she will say she has grown up or wants a more mature (read: white) sound.

  • Michelle

    In my opinion, America is the real life, never-ending version of the film “Hair Spray”.

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