“I don’t think you ready for this jelly…cause my body too bootylicious for you baby!”
In 2001 when Destiny Child released “Bootylicious,” women all around the world could be seen singing and swaying their hips in unison. I was one of them. At 18, like many teenage girls I was excited at the idea that my body was something to be proud of. For many women of color, historically we’ve been ostracized for our natural curves. But in 2001, this song became so much more than just another tune. It became my personal anthem, allowing me to proclaim my “bootyliciousness” to the world.
In 2007, Dove launched the “Real Beauty” ad campaign featuring women of varying sizes and color in a major beauty ad campaign. After many years the shift in beauty standards was finally happening.
Who wouldn’t love that? Except it’s now making us mentally unstable.
There remains one flaw in the “body positive” movement: It appears to only include women with perfect proportions, like models Ashley Graham and Candice Huffine, who are body positive activists who embrace their curves. Their images are seen throughout many campaigns giving rise to full-figured models.
Graham, for example, is 5-foot-9 with a waist of 31.5 inches, a 42-inch bust and hips of 46.5 inches, making her a perfect “pear” shape. At a size 10 she is changing the image of what a model should look like. And though seeing Graham along with other full-figured models is truly a step in the right direction, it is important to note these women come with an almost perfect breast to hip ratio with seemingly small waists. This is very unlike myself and the average woman who tends to gain weight in different proportions throughout our bodies.
Society’s new love for full-figured women has come at a cost. Weight loss gimmicks such as “waist trainers” and “flat tummy tea” are seeing an increase in sales as women are striving to create the perfect hour-glass shape. Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj are popularized for their surgically enhanced bodies that give them their naturally unattainable bust-to-hip ratios, leading to more women wanting to have body-enhancement surgeries.
Sadly, some women are risking their lives visiting unlicensed doctors who are injecting synthetic materials in their bodies.
R&B singer K. Michelle shared her butt injections story and the major health concerns and mental anguish that they caused.
Despite some horror stories, young (and some not-so-young) women are still going in droves to get their bodies altered. Social media is another culprit with “influencers” pushing this trend further. Being just bootylicious is no longer enough.
Finally, we’ve accepted that bodies can come in different sizes, but now we need to make sure we accept that they come in different shapes, as well.