Yeah, I know, the title……butt I couldn’t help it.
I couldn’t even really help that, either. I’m not making any bad teacher jokes in my classroom, so they’re all just floating around in my normal life now.
ANYway, this post started out as a fledgling piece about how women are reclaiming their “tailfeathers” in popular music right now, and it made some decent points – most of which will still be here. But due to the apparent Twitter craziness that happened last night (see: Buzzed article about Nikki vs TayTay), I decided to change up my focus a little bit.
Ladies: let’s be real with each other for just a minute now. There are two sides to this whole body image issue. I’ve written about it, and I comment on it regularly, but no one ever really cares what I think. Or I don’t know important people. Or both.
Side A: people who are little teensy skinny people, with no booty, or really even curves, to speak of.
Side B: people who have LOTS of curves, including a big, beautiful booty that they can use to dance.
Then, most of the population is either hanging out in the middle or we picked a side, because we don’t fit either category. Like me! I have some curves, but no butt, and I’m definitely not that skinny (Let’s not, people. Let’s not.).
But the ultimate, all-important, almost-biblical truth that you need to know is this: in today’s culture, these two sides are hurting each other (and therefore woman-kind) than any of the horrifying rap music of the 80s-early 2000s ever did.
And that’s pretty bad.
At least the knight o’ booty was pretty much laughing at himself, and so was Sisqo, with another quintessential booty anthem.
There were others who were much worse. Remember this?
Really, anything by the Ying Yang Twins is going to be the worst…for years, the music industry has put female bodies on a pedestal, as the object of the male gaze. And we let them get away with it, for whatever reason (for me, it’s because the lyrics are so damn witty), until very, very recently.
Ladies, I’m here to tell you that we’ve finally started taking a little back. I’ve noticed a new trend in music videos, thanks to my weekly trolling with Sunday Serenades. I think we started seeing it for real somewhere around my freshman year of college (like, 10 years ago – it’s been a slow build). Let’s see if you can catch it from Fergie.
See, she looks like maybe she’s being serious, but I mean…who really rubs their butt like that and means it? No one I know. The whole thing started out very…tongue-in-cheek. Or on cheek. Like, booty cheek. You see, this whole “booty” phase we seem to be going through right now has been bomb-ass for women in music in that it has allowed us to go ahead and claim our booties as ours – whether they’re bubble gum-esque or not.
I’m not sure when it started, but all of a sudden, I’ve started noticing a different expression on the faces of women in music videos. It’s not coy, or shy, or hot, or wanton. It’s that “I can barely contain my laughter because this is fucking ridiculous, but whatevs” face.
Here it is in All About That Bass.
And in Trampoline (bonus – that dude’s face is WAY more “this is freaking ridiculous and I can’t believe I’m involved” than hers, even because guys aren’t subtle ever).
I especially like it when you see them laughing AT the dude in the video, like they do many times in Trumpets.
There was a little “unconscious” laughing in Wiggle, too. Because, I mean, Jason DeRulo definitely deserves to be laughed at, as much as possible.
And then there’s my boy, Redfoo, who always shakes it WITH the girls (even sometimes without them).
And finally, let’s not forget Amy Schumer when she basically just tells it like it is, in the most crass way possible.
Yes, they’re all going along with it. Why? Because they’re getting paid for it. Well, probably. And also because it’s a bit of a laugh, like when white women with no ass hop on stage at piano bars (or, ya know, at the symphony) to dance to Sir Mix-A-Lot.
But what the faces of women in music videos tell me is this: they’re not taking it seriously, and they don’t want you to, either. They want you to laugh with them. Because it’s both real and fake all at once. Isn’t it what we do when we’re dancing to those songs anyway? Laugh about how ridiculous we look? Laugh about how ridiculous it is for men to find it attractive? So do the girls in today’s videos.
So why not laugh along? Why not enjoy our bodies? Why not make it a giant joke that while the guys are sitting back, thinking that they’re the ones in control, we’re actually pulling their puppet strings? I’ve always wanted to be a puppet master, after all. You may blame Julie Andrews for that one.
(Yes, this post even has goat booty-shaking.)
I wish we could laugh along and flaunt whatever it is that we’ve got – but for some reason, this whole “booty” thing has turned into a rather divisive issue for women. Instead of being happy for the ladies with booties, many women deride them and call them trashy for putting it all out there.
A booty is sometimes just out there without permission, yo!
And then, booty-blessed women feel like they have to defend their own actions, like taking pride in what they’ve got is such a crime. So you know that soon, they’re going to go on the offensive, because damn it, if someone makes them feel bad, they’re going to make someone else feel bad, too!
Take it from someone who, as I mentioned before, is NOT a stick. Has never been a stick, and who ALSO does not, nor has she ever, had a booty. I love that you’re using what you’ve got! I’m super-jealous of ALL of you! So what’s the deal here?
JUST BECAUSE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ISN’T JUDGING AND REDUCING WOMEN TO THEIR BODY PARTS AS MUCH ANYMORE DOESN’T MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO DO IT FOR OURSELVES.
It is possible, despite Amy Schumer’s skit to the contrary, to take pride in our own bodies and accept both our flaws and our gifts without needing to tear each other down. Just because one person is doing amazing things doesn’t make us any smaller. We have to stop letting what other people say become a part of how we define ourselves.
See? Nikki knows! C’mon girl, take your own advice! If you can accept that what others think of you *ahem* VMAs bitches *ahem* doesn’t matter and bask in the love of your fans, then you won’t be a part of what’s pitting us against each other! But Taylor needs to listen to her own words, too…
…as well as remember that just because you fought hard to get where you are does not belittle the struggles of other people to get where they are.
Like, for real girls, you’re bumming me out. Don’t trash each other – just be proud of each others’ successes and acknowledge each others’ struggles. Then maybe instead of having social media arguments, they could get together to create a little mash-up magic between the two camps?
The world needs this to be real.