I recently saw a commercial for the “Booty Pop” panties — a pair of panties that is padded to increase a woman’s gluteus maximus, and thus her confidence — available in several sizes: extra-sweet, sweet, sweeter, sweetest and super-sweetest. The panties are available in both black and nude shades. The commercial was clearly geared towards young white women without actually saying as much. And doing a quick search around the Internet, it’s clear the artificial buns are really popular; even with talk show host Kelly Ripa.
What makes this product interesting from a black woman’s perspective is that we have long dealt with low-self esteem and the idea that our bodily features — especially our stereotypically big butts — are not only unattractive, but also inhuman. I remember reading in school about the life of Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman, a black South African woman who was exhibited literally like she was a caged animal throughout Europe 200 years ago because of her large backside.
WATCH THE ‘BOOTY POP PANTIES’ AD
Fortunately, pop-culture icons like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian have made having “junk in the trunk” a desirable feature. Tune in to almost any hip-hop music video and you’ll almost certainly see very full-figured females showing off their very healthy behinds. You may also notice that women on the magazine covers are also airbrushed to add on a little curve to their backside — regardless of their race.
The “Booty Pop” panties are just the latest in a growing trend to have women who are rear-end challenged achieve this now popular Hollywood look. Woman can opt to receive butt implants; there are special exercises, diet regiments, and jeans to give them the bums they desire.
The argument can be made that this new trend will make ethnic girls who are naturally gifted with shapely backsides feel a bit more proud about their bodies. But this new panty product can also be viewed as another loss for women in general. Young girls and women of all color are increasingly under pressure to augment and adjust their bodies.
What’s disturbing about the “Booty Pop” ad is that it clearly focuses on young women. It’s already bad enough that young women have to deal with a laundry list of body image issues. While we can expect that there will always be someone trying to make a buck off of our insecurities, this just serves as a reminder that we must impress upon our young women that they are all sweet, no matter what sizes they come in.