In Beauty Truth and Truth, Booty
Sarah Hubinger loves her ass.
I love it too.
I don't think it's the best I've seen but she has chosen to wear it like a trophy and she gets my hearty kudos. Hubinger is a mixed-race journalist hailing from Germany but has spent her recent time in the states being ogled by Black and Hispanic men on the streets of New York. She claims this constant attention made her adopt a new mentality of embracing the butt. Judging by the mostly male narrators of her 30-minute DVD Jiggles, she ain't the only one looking to embrace. Idris Elba, for instance, has more frank quotable lines about there being nothing like a "thick plump rumpâ€ than even the most shameless skin-loving rapper. In the other man-on-the-street interviews, men pontificate about the significance of a large, shapely backsideâ€¦especially when they are in possession of it. Rather, when they are possessed.
It is difficult to assign a fixed value to the booty in urban culture. On the one hand, there's a consensus among most men of color that booty-watching is a kind of sport that allows for rating, gawking, appraising all women on a few easily estimable criteria. Then again, it's reached a prurient pitch due to the sprawl of cheeks on men's magazine covers, the demand to "firm itâ€ or "tone itâ€ on women's publications and the absolute exploitation of it in rap music videos. I'm not one of the people who think any of these three representations is somehow more prominent than the others but it's no leap to say it has gone boundless as time has passed. Whether it's Ms. Fatbooty, Ms. Newbooty or Vida Guerrera's cell phone slips (really now, how much of a slip was it to become the most downloaded woman on the web?), there are enough ass references to make even a proud black ass-loving man flinch.
I remember being admonished at ten in elementary school when I openly stared at Jemina Bernard's behind as she sauntered down a hallway. My then-mentor grinned at my brazenness but politely warned me not to think of doing it again. Buffie the Body stands atop the Altar of Ass in 2007 with marked defiance. In a recent Village Voice article that limply attributes the sales of black men's magazines to butts alone, she expounds:
"I'm the definition of a true black woman," Buffie explains, sitting down awkwardly (you would too) in a plush chair in her suite. "I'm not light-skinned, my mom is not from China, and my dad is not from Yugoslavia. People normally see the light-skinned, small girls with the pretty hair in magazines, and maybe they were just tired of that and wanted to see something different, something real."
Normally, I might shout "right onâ€ to this kind of reactionary feminism but her theories are misplaced. The problem with Hubinger's Jiggles project and with Buffie's statements here is that it barely takes into account how damaging a fish-eye view of one part can be to the complete picture. The ass fetish is mesmerizing but for the same freak show reasons that Hubinger reveals with a disturbing anecdote in the middle of her book. A Hottentot tribe woman named "Sarahâ€ by her British captors was known for her large bottom and studied for her anatomy at circus events. Unfortunately, only a sliver of the Jiggles project is devoted to this story or stories like it. "Embracing the buttâ€ might be easier to palate if there weren't such a grave history of biddable men following with tongues wagging behind one feature.
We would all like a shapely woman but what does the celebration of the "bodyâ€ mean for others. The commercial version of "booty-watchingâ€ has become singular and crass. Although it would be impossible to make this custom private because it is essentially a manifest form of open desire, it is problematic that there are so many forms of lewd exposure now available. Featuring the round brown is fun but never deeply satisfying as a form of display. The magazine layouts fall just short of indecent and we are complicit about the standards lowering with each new Video Girl turned ass phenom. Kanye and Game pander to the audience about the issue on "Wouldn't Get Farâ€ by degrading star hopefuls but using the same trite masculine dogma.
Instead of wholeheartedly embracing the booty, or downright denying its powers, there must be some other way to show appreciation. Designate an Apple Bottom day for butts and their admirers, thereby confining the stares and shouts to one day with Hallmark cards and flowers. Appreciation does not have to take shape everywhere and at every time.
At The Smoking Section...
- Lil Wayne recieves the usual love & hate.
- Stack Bundles aka Seymour Cake aka Pyrex Stack aka Handsome Hustla...God Bless The Dead.