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A good ass-et?

BABY'S GOT BACK: Buffy ‘The Body’ Carruth

WHEN African slave Sarah ‘Saartjie’ Baartman was noticed for her very large buttocks, a typical body feature amongst many black women, she was transported to England and promised wealth.

The 20-year-old slave was brought to Europe three years after the abolishment of slavery. Her Dutch slave owner, Hendrick Cezar, agreed to let her travel to England in 1810 for exhibition, under the guise that she would become rich – a promise which proved false.

The well-shaped South African, who was born to a Khoisan family, became a spectacle in the early 19th century when she was exhibited as a freak show attraction under the name Hottentot Venus. The Europeans had a morbid fascination with the genital features of the Khoisan people, especially the females, and Baartman’s body was viewed as abnormal.

But if Baartman was alive today, she would probably be celebrated amongst many as a beautiful, bootylicious woman.Although white people once frowned upon our large bottoms, and viewed them as highly undignified, a large derriere is now considered by many as an asset.

Prince William’s sister-in-law Pippa Middleton who was a bridesmaid for her sister Kate Middleton at the recent Royal wedding, became an unassuming worldwide attraction when her figure hugging dress emphasized her rear.
Pippa accredited pilates classes for giving her a shaped bottom, driving hundreds of women to sign up for the popular exercise classes.

Still, many in our community simply couldn’t see why so many people were fascinated with Pippa’s bottom. Even British MC Tinie Tempah said of the saga: “I've not actually got what all the fuss is about. I prefer a bigger bum. I'm definitely a bum man but she's not doing it for me. Sorry Pippa.”

Clearly, Pippa Middleton isn’t blessed with a shapelier ‘back off’ than the likes of Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez, yet her shape was one of the media’s hottest topics following the Royal wedding!

People have expressed their admiration for Beyonce’s voluptuous Coca Cola bottle-shaped figure; a refreshing change to the stick thin models and pop stars we see so often.

Similarly, US models like Tahiry Jose and Buffie ‘The Body’ Carruth are revered for their large bottoms. And with rapstress Nicki Minaj’s recent emergence onto the music scene, the voluptuous bottom was celebrated once again.

In an interview with The Voice earlier this year, Alesha Dixon revealed that she wished her bottom was larger, saying: “I am happy with my body, but in an ideal world, I’d love to have a bigger bum. I’ve always said it; I think that women with bigger bums look womanly and beautiful.”

So, are black women fanatical about having larger shaped bottoms? We asked a range of black women for their thoughts.

“People either have one or they want one,” Roniqa Gerald told here! “The bigger the buttocks, the better. I have been told that I have a big ass but I still want a bigger one.

“My bum is one of my biggest assets I hold it in higher esteem than my breasts, because it’s the new trend. My partner loves my shape and he wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Nadine Thompson from Birmingham said: “I wish my bottom filled my jeans. If I had the money, I would travel to have bum implants. I’m not happy with my shapeless body. Even my friends make fun of me when I put on my skinny jeans, because there’s nothing to fill them!”

Letishia Brown from south London said: “Big bums have literally become like the new big boobs, which were made very popular during Pamela Anderson’s hey day, and now I feel like the new Pamela is Nicki Minaj.”

She added: “I have to dress more modestly than my friends because of the size of my bum and there have been times when I wanted to wear what they wear but I haven’t because I felt it would make me look more seductive – which I haven’t always seen as a positive thing.”

As much as she loves her bottom, Letishia says it sometimes earns her unwelcome attention.

“I went to carnival last year and this guy grabbed my bottom so I slapped him in the face. Later, a young boy pinched my bottom. I had my young niece with me and it made me feel terrible. I felt really shocked and slightly intimidated.

“But I have learnt to enjoy what God has blessed me with and just dress modestly because this prevents me earning the wrong type of attention.

Although big bottoms are often celebrated in the black community, of course, not all black women desire a large derriere.

Lisa Craddle from north-west London said: “I do not enjoy the perils that come with having a big bum. I feel like a circus freak.

“When white men approach me, I feel like I’m only being approached because they think I’m ‘exotic’. But I don’t think [a big bum] is something that they really admire in my opinion.”

She adds: “I’ve always wanted to model, and being a black female in a dominantly white environment, a large bottom can make you feel insecure if you’re not strong minded, because having a big bum is not a regular feature on a white woman’s body.”

“On top of that, I was once told that men won’t value me for who I am but because my sexual appeal. That really hurt. If a bum reduction wasn’t so expensive, I would go for one.”

While Lisa might be uncomfortable with her large bottom, many women long for theirs to be larger.

Earlier this year, British student Claudia Aderotimi died after undergoing an operation to enlarge her bottom. The 20-year-old traveled to America in a quest to enhance her buttocks, but died after she developed chest pains following the illegal silicone injections she was given at a hotel in Philadelphia.

It was later revealed that Aderotimi, an aspiring dancer and student at Thames Valley University, thought that a shapelier bottom would help her in her quest to become a hip-hop star.

Talent scout Tee Ali, who met Aderotimi while she was filming a video reportedly told a British tabloid: “She was a dancer and choreographer. The problem was she didn't have no butt, and she wanted a butt. She went to audition for one video shoot wearing fake booty pants and she got all the attention. But when they found out it was fake, she didn’t get asked back.

“It’s such a shame. She’s a victim of all these girls trying to be perfect. She thought if she had a big booty she would have been in better videos and been more famous.”

Andrew Morrison, a producer and entertainment manager confirmed that women with larger bottoms tend to garner a lot of attention in the entertainment industry.

“When a female has large sexual assets, such as a big bottom, she’s considered eye candy; it gives viewers something to talk about,” Morrison tells here! “This is why black girls are obsessed with having big bums, especially video girls. Girls are now wearing padded trousers to help enlarge their derrieres.”

But Dr Charles Nduka, a specialist in plastic surgery and honorary senior lecture at Imperial College in London, says that these ‘butt-enhancing’ procedures are unsafe.

“People want to change their appearance and they are influenced by the media, their peers or society,” he says. “But the most important thing is safety; the operation to increase the buttock is very unreliable.

“It’s not straightforward and therefore, it’s not something that I want to be promoting at all. The negatives outweigh the positives.”

Dr Nduka advised people to do their research and remain safe.

“This kind of procedure is not safe and it is not licensed to be done in the UK. It is not even an operation.”
From Sarah Baartman’s large bottom earning her attention in the 19th Century; to rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot declaring, “I like big butts and I cannot lie” in his 1992 hit Baby Got Back; to Beyoncé showcasing her famed asset with her booty-shaking routine in her chart-topping hit Crazy In Love, black women’s bottoms have long been a source of fascination.

No doubt this will be the case for centuries to come.

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