Vogue Decides 'Big Butts' Are Trendy - But Celebrating Curves Is No New Thing

11/09/2014 13:12 | Updated 20 May 2015

The booty existed long before belfies, J-Lo or Sir Mix-A-Lot immortalised the behind in his 1992 anthem, 'Baby Got Back' ('I like big butts and I cannot lie/You other brothers can't deny'). Elmore James, who sang 'Shake Your Money Maker,' back in 1961, didn't invent them either.

jennifer lopez, kim kardashian, miley cyrus

The buttocks have been an erogenous zone for centuries (have you seen the ancient Greeks' Venus Callipyge dating back to the late 1st century BC?) - fetished in Victorian times (bustles! corsets!), analysed by Freud and painted, photographed, sculpted and immortalised by artists, musicians and writers throughout history.

So it's not really news that butts are still what people are singing about and gawking at (although these days, people are staring at them on Instagram, rather than in a Rubens painting).

US Vogue - arbiter of all things au courant - has decided that butts are now trendy. The mag's recent September 9 article, We're Officially in the Era of the Big Booty, declares that "the big booty has officially become ubiquitous. In music videos, in Instagram photos, and on today's most popular celebrities, the measure of sex appeal is inextricably linked to the prominence of a woman's behind."

The article cites everything from Kim Kardashian to Miley's twerking, Nicki Minaj's sampling of 'Baby Got Back' in her latest single, 'Anaconda', and queen of the derrière, Jennifer Lopez, joining forces with Iggy Azalea on new single 'Booty' as evidence of the new "trend."

jennifer lopez

Unsurprisingly, this has incensed lots of people - lots! - especially with its suggestions that the "booty trend" is a new (and predominantly white phenomenon).

It's even spawned a hilarious new Twitter hashtag, #voguearticles, which sees Twitter users creating fake Vogue headlines satirizing "trends" spawned by whites but linked to black culture ("Chef Gordon Ramsey Creates New American Food Sensation, Calls It 'Soul Food' and 'How To Be A Feminist AND Keep Your Natural Hair', guest-written by Lena Dunham," are just two examples).

This article has ignited a racial debate focusing on how culturally black ideals of beauty – from braids to full lips – have largely been ignored but then hailed as trends only once they were reappropriated by the white community.

It's also started another dialogue on body ideals: curves can now be championed - Vogue says so. What about all of the women who have been embracing and flaunting their curves long before any magazine authorised them to?

In addition to the issues of cultural naïveté, it should also be noted that the booty shouldn't just be embraced because it's writhing and semi-clad (as in the case of all of the "trend-makers" mentioned in the story).

The booty firmly remains a cross-cultural sex symbol and always has been, whether it belongs to a Hollywood star who gets paid to flaunt hers or the many millions of women who have absolutely no desire to shake their moneymakers in a rhinestone-and-latex body suit.

Butts aren't a new trend. Celebrating curves – of any colour – shouldn't be either.



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