A short article in the Nov. 12 Vancouver Sun has revealed the latest trend in body part augmentation, a desire among many women to increase the size of their rear ends through exercise, plastic surgery and padded underwear.
This compulsion for developing behemothic butts is, according to the article, the result of the growing popularity of those divas who proudly parade their posteriors in front of the paparazzi: Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé,and Nicki Minaj among others. Their derrieres have apparently become “de rigueur.”
My cousin Louise was ecstatic when she read the article. “Finally,” she proclaimed at a recent family gathering, “a little respect!” She then turned coquettishly away from me displaying her ample backside. “Now who’s the sexy one?” she asked rhetorically.
Surprised by the sudden expanse of Spandex in front of me, I found myself at a loss for words, though I was sympathetic.
Forty years ago, in her teens, Louise had acquired the nickname “Bubble Butt.” It was a time when thin was in, and Louise was anything but. Or more precisely, she was everything butt. While other girls counted calories with near anorexic intensity trying to out-Twiggy each other, Louise happily fortified herself with ice cream and Twinkies.
Then one May afternoon Hugo Koshnikoff blurted out the hurtful nickname in front of her Grade 10 Auto Mechanics classmates. It was a cruel thing to do, of course, but back then everyone had a nickname.
Hugo himself was often referred to as P-U-go because of a frequent body order problem. He then tried to correct everyone’s perception by dousing himself with cheap aftershave. It didn’t work. The nickname was merely elongated to P-U-go Wash-it-off.
A certain amount of self-awareness is a good thing when it comes to one’s physical appearance, of course. How many times have we wished others would consider what they look like before going to Overwaitea in ragged sweat pants and too-tight T-shirts, neither of which quite cover the bottom of their bellies or the top of their butts.
Still, this new desire to aggrandize the gluteus maximus seems to be a step backwards in the pursuit of healthy attitudes toward one’s appearance. At a time when society is attempting to halt the objectification of women, it hardly seems productive to add another body part to the list of bits and pieces that require alteration and enhancement.
The media already bombard us with visions of ideal physiques for both women and men that are almost unattainable without surgery and/or extreme dietary and exercise regimes. The time and effort required to achieve them is so daunting that most people eventually give up and put on the sweat pants.
With luck, the pursuit of humongous haunches will, like all fads, fade. Unfortunately, like every pursuit of physical perfection, it will leave behind behinds of abnormal girth gracing many women whose passing fancy for a full fanny failed to fulfill them as they had hoped. I hope Louise will not be too disappointed.