Over the weekend, Beyoncé showed off her usual flawless self in a new swimsuit boasting some modified lyrics from one of her husband Jay-Z’s famous songs:
“I Got 99 Problems But My Ass Ain’t One.”
I agree with her. Her ass is certainly not a problem. And for that matter, neither is mine.
I actually have to actively remind myself of that fact. Growing up, I was the sister with the flat booty. I had curves, but just not in the “right” places. I was busty (and still am). Real big up top, not big enough on the bottom.
In the Black community especially, large hips and thighs are the ideal body type, and women blessed with those assets tend get the most play from the fellas.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. With anthems like “Anaconda” blazing the airwaves, women with a little extra junk in their trunks are taking back their right to be both voluptuous and beautiful. Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé have redefined the ideal body to include hourglass figures and exaggerated curves. This new conversation about curves and non-traditional body types is leading women to love their themselves as they are, and it’s a beautiful thing.
I just want to add a slight adjustment to the conversation: Love your curves… and lack thereof.
No shade to Nicki Minaj and company, but there are no songs about girls with the little booties (and if there are, they probably aren’t that flattering). True, there’s a celebration going on for booties and busts, but only certain body types are invited to the party. However, we shouldn’t need a hit record or a custom bathing suit to celebrate the awkwardness that we’re born into.
I move that we eliminate this notion of the “ideal” body type. I know I’m not the first person to make this motion and I’m surely not going to be the last. But unfortunately, this is a conversation that we still need to have as advertisers and media execs continue to shove the idea of the perfect body down our throats (looking at you, Victoria’s Secret).
I mean, seriously? Are we still telling people in 2014 that they have to look a certain way to be happy?
I’m about to tell you guys a real secret:
There is no such thing as the perfect body.
Let that sink in.
I’ve learned as I’ve grown that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure (or in this case, one woman’s junk in the trunk is another woman’s treasure). I know as many women who hate their skinny bodies as I do women who hate their chunky ones. The part of your body that you detest most, another would gladly trade you for. I mean, if given the choice, I would gladly trade my triple-D sized breast in for some modest B-cups. Meanwhile, there’s a woman somewhere in the world getting breast implants to look more like me.
Trust me, I get it. It’s hard not want a different body sometimes. But if you’re not feeding into self love, you’re automatically feeding into self hate. The more I scrutinized my lack-of-an-ass, the more I was opening myself up other bodily criticisms. I find myself thinking that my eyes are too big. And that my skin is too blotchy. Or my hair is too nappy. Even that my fingers are too long. STOP THE MADNESS!!!
Self-hate can lead women to dangerous places. I mean, Tameka “Tiny” Harris went over to Africa and under the knife to change her eye color (is it that serious?!). Now, I know Tiny Harris denies that she had any issues with her self-esteem when she underwent the controversial procedure but I know there are women who are willing to risk their health to achieve an ideal body.
Back to Beyonce. She introduced the iconic line “I woke up like this” in her song ‘***Flawless.’ I’d like to think she wasn’t saying we should want to wake up looking like her (I mean, Beyonce doesn’t even wake up looking like Beyonce). I think what she was saying is that we should be happy to wake up as ourselves, flaws and all.
Say it with me, everybody! “I got 99 problems but my ass ain’t one!”
I encourage all women to adopt this mantra and declare that no part of their body, not their ass, nor their breast, nor their skin, nor their hair, is a problem or ever will be. Embrace the saggy, the flabby, the bony, and the itty bitty. Once we eliminate this idea of the “traditional” or the “ideal” body, we can focus on the other 99 problems going on in our lives (can someone say Sallie Mae?).