“I like big butts and I cannot lie…
In the time and place where I grew up, having a big butt was something a female was teased about, made fun of, for possessing. In that culture, I grew up embarrassed by the size of my rear end. I always thought it was something to try and work around. A big butt certainly wasn’t anything I was proud of or tried to emphasize.
Times have changed. In today’s world, fashion has flipped and big healthy butts are considered sexy and attractive. After fifty years of being embarrassed by my big butt, it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that it is now the body part du jour. How I dress and what I feel attractive in hasn’t changed one bit, but how people react to what I wear has certainly changed.
“Oh, my, God Becky, look at her butt…”
Women have accused me of showing off my butt when I wear yoga pants. This makes me laugh for many reasons, the primary ones being: 1) I teach yoga; the pants are part of the gig; and 2) because I was raised to be embarrassed by my rear. It has never once occurred to me to dress to show it off. I am glad tastes have changed, but it doesn’t mean my self-image has followed the trends.
“…’Cause your waist is small and your curves are kickin’…”
In looking back at fashion through the years, big butts have come in and out of favor. At the time that American entered the 20th century, a large, curvy, figure with a proportionately small waist, was a sign of affluence and was considered highly desirable. During the 1920’s a thin, flat-chested look was considered a sign of rebellion against the fashions of the previous decade. The 30’s and 40’s heralded another curvy era, especially the pinup girls that soldiers lusted after in the trenches. Post-war, the fashions of the 1950’s dictated a style that hid a woman’s real figure and created an exaggerated style of small waists and butts hidden by layers of petticoats.
“…So Cosmo says you’re fat? Well I ain’t down with that!…”
Twiggy’s stick thin figure rocked the modeling world in the 1960’s. The curvier shapes of the 40’s and 50’s was no longer considered sexy. Every magazine of that era glorified the emaciated and the media made women feel pressured to try to be as thin as they could be, regardless of the effect that might have on her health or psyche. It’s now been 50 years since then, but it’s only been in the last 10 years that the tide of popular opinion has started to change to embrace a curvier figure.
“…I mean, her butt, is just so big; I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like out there; I mean gross, look…”
I now realize that there have always been people who found a big butt attractive, but I had no idea those people existed until “Baby Got Back,” by Sir Mix-a-Lot was released in 1992. My youngest daughter, Molly, who inherited her father’s bubble butt, memorized every word to the song when she was in high school. The amazing thing to me was that it seemed like every woman of that generation who was not stick thin had the song memorized. I remember one night waiting for a table at a local restaurant and for some reason, Molly started singing the song; every single waitress who walked by stopped to recite a line or two with her. At the time, I rejoiced that they were able to enjoy their endowments and not feel the embarrassment I was raised with.
“…I’m tired of magazines; Sayin’ flat butts are the thing…”
In 2003, 23-year-old Kim Kardashian made a sex tape with her then-boyfriend, musician Ray J. Four years later, the tape was leaked and sold on the Internet. The same year, her family show, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” first aired. Between the sex tape and the show Kim became famous, primarily for her curves. However, as the years passed, her figure started becoming more and more exaggerated. In 2014, she appeared on the cover of Paper magazine in a pose emphasizing her derriere. Her stated goal was that she was attempting to “break the internet.”
“…I ain’t talkin’ bout Playboy; ‘Cause silicone parts are made for toys…”
All of the pictures in the magazine show an exaggeratedly large, round rear end. As a gym rat I have seen a lot of naked butts in locker rooms; no one’s butt has looked even close to the the size and shape Kim exposed. I refuse to criticize a woman for being proud of her body, but I suspect her shape has a lot more to do with surgical enhancements than with showing off what her mama gave her. I am amazed that not only are butt implants a “thing,” they are being implanted in women who 20 years ago would’ve been teased for what they had naturally.
“…when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist; And a round thing in your face…”
All three of my daughter’s have healthy sized butts. Unlike their mother, they are proud of that attribute and show them off nicely. Once, when a co-worker was admiring her rear, my middle daughter, Meagan, told him he should write me a thank-you note. It was a funny thing to say, and when she told me about it, I laughed, but it still amazes me that times have changed so much.
“…So, fellas (yeah) Fellas (yeah); Has your girlfriend got the butt? (hell yeah); Tell ’em to shake it (shake it) shake it (shake it); Shake that healthy butt…”
For me and my daughters, if big butts are the thing, then we were born to exceed. You’re welcome.
All quotes are lyrics to “Baby Got Back,” written and recorded by Sir Mix-a-Lot