A look into why we love big butts so much.
Cake, donk, booty, buns—the obsession with butts, primarily of the ample variety, is engrained in popular culture. But in 2018, what makes for good ass? According to data recorded by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there has been a 58 percent increase in buttock implants since 2013. Women have taken drastic — often dangerous — measures to achieve the derriere results they desire.
An article recently published in the New York Times, called “For Posterior’s Sake,” by Marisa Meltzer, argues the case for butts even more strongly:
“The rear is fast becoming the erogenous zone of choice in America, vying for eminence with breasts, abs, and legs… Captivating back-end views of amply endowed personalities have stirred the popular imagination, prompting many women . . . to chase after gawk-worthy curves of their own.”
Ten years ago, women were enhancing their backside shape through silicone implants. Today, a quickly growing percentage of women, and even men, are increasing the size and changing the shape of their butts through fat injections, a process better known as the “Brazilian butt lift.” The cost of such a procedure, which can increase your butt-size roughly one to two full sizes, can be upwards of a cool $10,000.
No doubt, butts have never been bigger, both in physical and cultural proportion. Many celebrities like Kim Kardashian West (shout-out to the Kardashian clan for promoting belfies, or butt selfies), Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea and Beyoncé Knowles with voluptuous curves. “Bootylicious,” the title of one Destiny’s Child most popular songs, was even added to the dictionary in 2004.
Some credit Jennifer Lopez for kicking off the bum fad in early 2000 with her plunging, derriere-hugging Versace ensemble.
“It started when J. Lo showed up in that green see-through dress at the Grammys,” says Dr. Constantino G. Mendieta, a Miami-based plastic surgeon who wrote The Art of Gluteal Sculpting. “After they saw her, people started asking us, ‘Hey, how can I get a backside like that?’”
When discussing the rise of the behind, one of the most profoundly talented lyricists of the twentieth century, Anthony Ray, better known as Sir Mix-a-lot, should be acknowledged for largely popularizing the butt trends of today. “Baby Got Back,” the 1992 ode to the buxom behind that spent five weeks at number one and sold two million copies, shifted the public opinion. Mix-a-lot, stating “Fonda ain’t got a motor in the back of her Honda,” and “I’ll keep my women like FloJo,” made the curves of Olympian Florence Giffith Joyner seem more desirable than the mainstream waif-thin body type. This musical evolution was drastic, considering that neat, perky butts were all the rage in the Jane Fonda workout craze of the previous decade.
No matter how they got their booties, these women helped lead a body-positive trend.
“You have Kim K. and different models really using their butts to promote themselves,” says Nicole Winhoffer, a fitness trainer responsible for some of the most famous bodies in Hollywood. “But I love that they are curvy and they love themselves. If you have the power to change the world and you have people paying attention to you — either through social or whatever — and you use it the right way for the right message, I am all for that.”
One thing is clear: The message in pop culture right now is that your backside can be your greatest asset. Beyoncé came on top of Forbes‘ 100 Most Powerful Celebrities list, raking in $105 million in earnings. Kardashian West brought in an estimated $51 million and also made the Forbes Top 100 list. Azalea is currently the only artist since The Beatles to have the number one and number two record in the country at the same time.
As for the original face of the booty campaign, Jennifer Lopez is still Jenny from the Block, but the 48-year-old mogul raked in $37 million in the past year and came in 65th on the 2017 Forbes Top Celebrity 100 list. Used to be a little, now she’s got a lot.
Kait Watson is a bootylicious third year Integrated Marketing Communication Major who thinks you should have your cake and shake it too! They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.