It’s the age of internet activism and everybody is at each other’s throats. It’s also the age of Booty. Even though it’s being widely said that the right to freedom of expression has never been easier to exercise, the fear of censorship has never been greater either- it’s gone from people being weary of saying ‘the wrong thing’, to saying ‘the wrong right thing’. People have obviously caught up to the fact that freedom is an illusion, and the swords and sickles have surfaced so fast that other people’s necks haven’t had a chance to be exposed yet.
A lot of artists have been getting a lot of attention only and only because of their behinds, accelerated only because they sang entire songs about these very same parts of their bodies – from Anaconda, to I Like Big Butts, to Booty, and even All About That Bass. Even the brilliant Louis CK won an Emmy for his show ‘Louie’s episode entitled, “So did the fat lady”, that asked the question, “Why do you hate fat people so much?” Some say it’s just a fad- as are most things when it comes to the ever changing, ever evolving definition of ‘sexy’- but some say that this obsession with the “– — 36” is here to stay.
The reactions to such instances are getting more and more acidic every second, and are almost always some combination of racist, sexist and ageist. There is thus a different fight being put up in the comments section of these millions of Youtube videos and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts, however, and that’s for the right to retain some body fat. The common men and women of the online world are adamantly opposing the widespread displays of narrow bodied models in music videos, movies and even advertisements, saying that using someone with a more realistic (i.e. Less skinny) body always has to be announced before and pointed out, whereas using some off-the-runway skinny person doesn’t even need a second thought.
Unfortunately, at least one person has a problem with everything, and when they start to talk about it, ten other people join, and so on and so bored. People have begun to stand up for ‘plus sized’ models, and they’ve even begun to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, even the definition of “plus size” is under deadly debate. Having ‘a little more booty to hold at night’ is not only one of the most popular lyrics of one of the most popular songs of the year, it’s now the mantra of the moment, with singers, actors and even activists saying that being thin isn’t a prerequisite for being sexy anymore, but importantly that it shouldn’t be. People who do consider leanness or thinness or slimness important for considering someone sexy are suddenly shallow, narrow minded (pun intended)- and when the alarmists are handed the microphone- flat out anti-feminist for being attracted to these ‘skinny bitches’.
The arguments in opposition to this stance are four pronged.
Firstly, if people are being told that it’s okay to have a little extra weight around the corners and still be accepted for who you are, this means that people are going to start using it as an excuse to be more defensive when it comes to social situations, and blaming everything that goes badly in their lives or every wanton look they get on the premise that “they don’t like me for who I am”, rather than introspecting and evolving as individuals. It thus becomes a taboo subject, less likely to be discussed and dealt with even if it’s actual a health risk and much more severe issue than whether you’re getting laid or not.
Secondly, if you are telling people what they should find sexy, or telling them who they shouldn’t find sexy, you’re asking those people not to be who they are, and forcing them to change what they believe in. So in essence, it’s nothing more than a poorly executed balancing act. What will thus happen is that a person who was never attracted to non-skinny people before but didn’t have anything against them might now actually start hating them, and begrudging them for being too demanding, giving rise to, in very plausible extreme cases, hate crimes. A certain part of the internet is thus getting ruder as the other is getting more accepting to people of a certain body shape. How this is helping humanity as a whole in still unclear.
Thirdly, you’re shaming people who are thin for being thin, which in many situations isn’t something they’ve chosen to be, and that leads to a whole new set of oppressed individuals. This also becomes yet another reason for people to hate each other and see themselves as even more different from other specimens of the very same species to which they belong, and that really isn’t something propagated by forward thinking nations who are rooting for globalisation and worldwide harmony.
Fourthly- and this is the case with any group of people who’ve been singled out and put together, be it on the basis of religion, sex or reading habits- there are a number of people who belong to the “heavier” side of the human body spectrum who have spoken out against this pro-booty movement because they see it as patronising. They believe that this movement essentially asks people to like them even if they don’t want to. On a one to one basis, this now means that they have more insecurities in the physical aspect of relationships than they did before because now they’re thinking, “Does she really find me sexy or is she just saying that because she thinks she’ll be considered shallow if she doesn’t?” rather than easily accepting that “Alright, he isn’t attracted to me, guess I’ll just find somebody else”.
The arguments in favour of stance are four pronged as well.
Firstly, being mocked for what you look like leaves much deeper scars than just not being accepted for who you are, which is something every single person, no matter how happy or successful, faces at some point. So when people say that “you don’t need to be skinny to be sexy” they aren’t saying that people who are skinny aren’t beautiful, but that a person doesn’t become unsexy just because they aren’t skinny. Though the intent may be good, it’s clear from the objections I presented above that the execution is lacking. It ends up sounds like we’re forcing people to desire something they don’t naturally want to, and thus any positive changes in attitude we bring about are viewed with way too much suspicion.
Second, the concept of sexiness and beauty seems to change almost every decade- we have olden style beauties and modern beauties. What looks good on men and women today will seem old fashioned to them ten years from now, and I don’t just mean in terms of attire, but even body shape. For instance, the current onslaught of the booty was brought on by curvaceous celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and even Kim Kardashian, who accentuated their lower halves, much to the satisfaction of their audiences. A while ago however, it was the big bosom that garnered the lascivious attention, and before that the thin waist, and before that a little extra hair in places that are unacceptable if they aren’t hairless in today’s date. Thus, all they’re saying is, keep your minds open, because things are constantly changing, and this could be the next big thing (pun intended) on the horizon.
Thirdly, and this is the most commonly used objection, people object to the rampant sexualisation of anything skinny because that isn’t how it is in the real world. The average person doesn’t have the alarming lack of stretch marks, thigh gap and other bodily ‘imperfections’ as the very many men and women shown in pop culture and all across the internet. In the real world, being that thin actually makes you stand out, whereas in porn, Hollywood and even music videos, there’s a separate “chubby” disclaimer- and that’s where the misrepresentation lies. People thus grow up yearning for a type of sexy that’s most often airbrushed and unreal. This doesn’t mean that real relationships are out of the question because your lover is more interested in picking up the next Miranda Kerr, but it does mean that men and women begin to look at their significant others as something they’ve settled for, rather than the ideal, most attractive person in their hearts.
Fourthly, and this is the most cosmetic argument of them all, the reason having a big booty and retaining whatever bodily mass you want is considered sexy because, hell, maybe it is. There are a whole bunch of guys and girls who genuinely prefer their lovers to have a little meat on their bodies, and when society doesn’t approve of it, they’re forced to keep their fascination under wraps for the fear of being considered losers, “weird” or charitable. If society as a whole begins to include the slightly rounded classes of people in their definition of skinny, it might allow these people and the people who find them attractive and always have, to be more confident about themselves and their preferences.
I end with the thought that whatever you do, say or like, as long as you are open about it, you’re going to live a better life than if you try, lie and cry to make things seem like something they’re not. Glean from that what you will.