Parts of this article were originally published October 21, 2013 and has been updated to reflect the latest news in butts.
Today Iggy Azalea and J.Lo have dropped a new video called “Booty.” The song is shockingly about butts or better yet butt-pride. Why do we need another song about butts when we have Nicki Minaj‘s “Anaconda” and Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”? The rise in booty-pride has a lot to do with our history of dissing girls with big butts. I know what you’re thinking, there are only so many songs we can hear about butts before they all start to sound the same but the truth is booty anthems are a facet of feminism and body positivity that many women have been craving.
While it may seem like our distant past having a big butt was once deemed as something a woman should strive to get rid of. Historically Black women, like Sarah Baartman, were once paraded around like animals in Europe and made spectacles of because their ample derrières were seen as freakshow-like deformities.
Of course many women of all colors have always had big butts yet it wasn’t until fairly recently that a luscious bottom was perceived as a desirable, covetable beautiful thing. We can thank the J.Los, Beyoncés, Kim K.s and Nicki Minajs for recontextualizing something that was historically perceived as ugly and demanding that it be seen as positive in pop culture and of course the body positive movements that acknowledge all forms are beautiful.
In 2001 when Beyoncé’s/Destiny Child’s “Bootylicious” dropped the song teased, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly,” and was seen as response to the critics who dismissed Bey for having a jumbo-sized rear end. The move was seen as provocative and criticized for being overtly sexual. Body positivity overtly sexual? That was 13 years ago. Today some might assert similar criticisms about pop stars who express booty-pride but the majority have moved onto understanding the significance of women loving the bodies they were once told to be ashamed of.
In 2014 our cultural obsession with butts has reached an all time high. Instagrammers like Jen Selter continue to profit off of their big and firm butts, Vogue is pretending like big butts are brand new because they are old and out of touch with reality, while tiny-booty girls like Miley Cyrus wear prosthetic bottoms to show solidarity with their big booty sisters.
Singing a song about your butt may sound stupid but it’s important. It’s another way for women to take back what the patriarchy has robbed from them: dignity and autonomy over their bodies. Now we can’t all drop #1 singles about our asses but we can all take butt selfies. Is it selfie-indulgent? Yes, that’s the point. Take a butt selfie and say I love my small, medium or large booty because it is mine, it is me and I don’t need anyone’s permission to know that I am dope as fuck.
Take The Perfect Butt Selfie
Kim Kardashian, Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, Tyra Banks and Lady Gaga have seemingly perfected the butt selfie. After studying these ass-pirational photos I’ve come to realize: there is an order to this madness. Don’t worry my flat booty friends, we’ve figured out how to take the perfect butt selfie.
The Head Turn Butt Selfie
Step 1. ) Stand at a 75 degree angle in front of the mirror. Notice that Kim’s butt isn’t fully facing us. Her body is at an angle, only three-quarters of the way. This is already helping to establish a flattering optical illusion of a bigger booty by creating a silhouette in which the back curves inward and the butt curves outward. This will have the thirsty fellas of Instagram wondering, “How ya’ waist anorexic and ya’ ass so colossal?”
Step 2.) Push your assets out. When the booty is closer to the camera and the upper body is angled father away, the booty appears to be much bigger than the rest of the body.
Step 3.) Do a half tip-toe. When you stand on the tip-toe of one leg, while keeping the other straight it elongates the body. When you tip toe with the leg closest toward the camera it accentuates the curve of your first butt cheek, flexes that thigh muscle and gives it an extra boost. It also keeps the second cheek in plain view. You don’t want to “half-ass” this look. (A-har-har-har!)
Further analysis would indicate that Kim’s combination of a 75 degree angle and the half tip-toe would suggest that both techniques in combination create a scenario called the “double butt curve,” in which the outline of each cheek is plump and emphasized int he silhouette. Here we have maximum booty and bonus points to Kim for creating a shadow effect that further highlights her curvy silhouette. This, my friend, is next level booty.
Doggy Style Booty
This technique is less about how the body is position relative to the camera and more about how it is positioned relative to itself. Props to Ke$ha for whatever kind of bizarre butt string garter belt she found to liven up this look!
Step 1.) Get down on all fours. Be sure to keep your body slightly less than parallel to the camera with your elbows closest toward it and your booty furthest away. This, again, will create a “double butt curve,” effect in which each cheek pops up like a beautiful mountain range of booty. It will also completely conceal your tummy area, thus creating the illusion of a smaller waist by only accentuating the way in which the booty dips into the back.
Step 2.) Curve the back. Do take note of the fact that your back is not perfectly straight. You are not pretending to be a table, you are pretending to be a girl with a luscious rear end who is into taking photos of said lusciousness. Create an incline with your butt being the highest point and your head being the lowest. This will protrude the cheeks making the ass look bigger in its entirety.
Step 3.) Suck in that tummy and stick your butt up to the sky. You’ll know you have achieved this when there is a “triangle” of empty space under your body.
The Basic Beginner Level Booty
For those of you hesitant to play with angles or get on all fours in the middle of the street, Lady Gaga has seemingly perfected the basic beginner booty. The idea is simple: objects closer to the camera appear bigger, objects away from the camera appear smaller.
Step 1.) Completely turn away from the camera. No angles here.
Step 2.) Stick booty out. Push the booty out so that it is closest to the camera and your upper body is farthest from it. This will create the illusion of a wider booty and cinched in waist.
General Pro-Tips For Every Technique
1. In case you haven’t noticed thongs, panties and booty shorts are encouraged. You really want to emphasize each individual cheek and nothing accomplishes that more than a cloth divider.
2. Filters are encouraged. No one is perfect! Blur those stretch marks and that cellulite as much as possible. This is all about aesthetic and aesthetic is deception.
3. Don’t be afraid to wear sheer tights. Sheer tights will suck you in, in all the right places. Beyonce did it during the Superbowl and you could hardly tell you weren’t looking at her bare legs.
Remember when all else fails just refer to Tyra Banks’ now infamous tweet!