Monday, November 16, 2009

It goes without saying that different races generally find different attributes attractive from one another. There are some things that transcend race--studies show that the ideal face is symmetrical, and so on. When looking at body type, there are huge discrepancies among many of the common races seen in America. Among Caucasians, the all-American girl is generally deemed ideal: tall, skinny, blonde, blue eyed, large breasts, etc. After all, that essentially describes Barbie dolls. Asians are similar in that petite women are traditionally thought of as the best. Each of these examples stands in sharp contrast to African American and Hispanic / Latino women, who are typically larger. In each example, women with "curves" are frequently preferable to the Dove using flat assed counterparts described in the Alienated Conclusions blog.

Thus, it isn't all that surprising that some incredibly popular music released by the black community glorifies women with fat asses, to put it bluntly--their art represents their ideals. We've come a long way from the age of Josephine Baker and the routines described in "Selling Hot Pussy": "she handled it as though it were an instrument, a rattle, something apart from herself that she could shake." Still, in both of the videos below, black women are still doing just that.


  1. These are pretty straight-forward examples as they are both pretty mainstream efforts (which make them unquestionably subversive) but how do you think artists like DJ Assault, which are unquestionably satirical and maybe even critical, fit into this analysis -- take a look at this video and let me know what you think:

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  3. Dylan, how does this being a straight forward, "mainstream effort" make this unquestionably subversive?

  4. The 'baby got back' music video is definitely a good example of black women's butts being commodified and highly sexualized. I am surprised hooks didn't mention it in his article!

  5. jonathan:

    unquestionably might have been a little extreme, but as a the product of an industry, rather then an individual artist (a generalization particularly true of early hip-hop)sexist or racially biased undertones would likely have been calculated, or at the least overlooked, rather than the possibility of being critical (as in the case of DJ Assault) this mode of production and proliferation would make any messages subtle, widespread and as a result likely subversive.

    If you;re interested in discussing this futher I'd be happy to talk with you, either in this stream or you can email me at