Sunday, June 23, 2024

Unraveling the ‘big butt’ obsession

While the global fad when it comes to women is for slimmer bodies, it seems rear-ends are an exception.

Having a big butt is the new epitome of sexiness and physical attractiveness among women.

Consider how South African celebrity Boitumelo Thulo popularly known as Boity became an instant sensation after exposing her behind in a Marie Claire magazine issue, aimed at sensitizing the public against gender-based violence. Social networks were abuzz over Thulo’s “awesome butt”.

There was a time that girls went on endless diets and exercised their buttocks off. These days, they are flaunting them.

Having an ample butt is seemingly a popular cultural fad. A local tabloid recently carried a report on local journalist Phemelo Ramasu’s derri├¿re, with accompanying pictures of her in a swimming costume and mini-dress, during a media outing to Mauritius.

One media personality was described as having said, “She looks like she’s riding a horse.”
It may seem silly that buttocks should be newsworthy. Welcome to the 21st century!

Just consider how “twerking” has become an instant global phenomenon. If you didn’t know, you would imagine ‘twerking’ is akin to hacking computer software, but it’s a dance style where the buttocks are shaken seductively.

Apparently the best twerks aren’t done by flat-buttock lasses like Miley Cyrus but by those with round, ample bottoms.

The butt obsession in pop culture began several years when performer Jennifer Lopez, proudly showed off her derrière in tight pants.

Her Latin bottom garnered her more popularity than her singing and dancing. Beyonce has also become a “butt icon” for her generous bottom, which culminated in her coining the term ‘bootylicious’ which refers to a woman who is endowed with a visually appeasing derri├¿re.

So what’s the big deal with butts?

Mothusi Kajanga points out that it’s about appreciating natural beauty and the physical form of a woman.

“When a woman is physically well-sculpted, you can’t help but admire her. Buttocks instigate feelings of sexual lust in men but also depict fertility and wholesomeness in a woman. African women especially, should be encouraged to embrace their figure instead of constantly striving to be skinny,” he says.

Tsaone Collins who says that some female bodies are “to die for” backs his views. “Large round buttocks are an African trademark. It’s an enticing sight that can leave any man salivating because men are visually stimulated creatures,” he says as he swallows saliva, perhaps envisioning the ‘God of rear-ends’ descending before him to lavish him with “bootyful” women.

Betty Matlhare* has an attractive large bottom which would stop traffic in Gaborone, any day. When I spot her, she’s dressed in hipster jeans that suit her to boot.

“Whenever I walk in anywhere, I notice that people’s eyes focus on my hips and buttocks. I have felt lingering stares as I walk around malls. Some people feast their eyes quietly, but when I was younger uncouth men would whistle at me or pat my back, which angered me. I don’t have a problem with men appreciating my figure but that should not translate into them thinking they can bed me,” she says sternly.

While having a nice butt and a pretty face probably won’t solely get any woman far, except if they are Nicki Minaj, there are many women who are seemingly desperate for large round buttocks.

This has led to the emergence of the body shaper, which creates a silhouette of the female wearer’s physical perfection; the butt is given a lift, making it appear rounder. Some even resort to augmentations. Surgeons have however warned of the risks of DIY buttock enhancers after a woman died from silicone injections in the United States.

Myra Mendible, a social historian, points out that buttock augmentation has been around for many years.

According to her, in the 19th century women wore ‘bustles’ to exaggerate their behinds. She
However, she points out that in some communities, especially the West, big-bottom people have been subjected to ridicule.

“A notable example is the Hottentot Venus, a young African woman who was kidnapped and exhibited around Europe in colonial times because she had large buttocks. She was paraded as what makes African women different,” she says, adding that today buttock augmentation, both legal and illegal, is common among African-American and Hispanic communities.

In Africa, female body types have always been a symbol of what their society aspires to. Thin frames among women are a sign of poverty, while plumper endowed figures reflect wealth acquisition. A voluptuous body is also perceived as a sign of good health and fertility. In that instance, bigger is supposedly better.


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