If 2013 was the year of the wrecking ball, 2014 is definitely the year of the big booty. Jen Selter’s Instagram has sent millions of girls into a frenzy to fit squats into their daily routine. Nineteen-year-old Selter is an online phenomenon, posting her famous bubble butt in cities across the world. Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” music video started an epidemic, inspiring Iggy Azalea to make her own music video “Booty,” featuring the one and only Jenny From the Block. Nicknames like “wagon” and “ace” have emerged from this obsession with the sole task of inadvertently addressing a bodacious booty.
So what is the problem with music videos getting raunchier and raunchier? The truth is that sex sells in the 21st century – look at how Kim Kardashian became famous. The objectification of bodies has become the norm and celebrities create sex tapes and sexed up music videos to grab our attention. After all, images that are provocative and catchy inspire conversation and parody, but who really has the last laugh?
Yes, Minaj’s “Anaconda” is an over the top and hilarious remake of Sir Mix a Lot’s hit “Baby Got Back.” Yes, I will be seen dancing to it every time it plays at the ‘Grape, but let’s get one thing straight: Minaj’s butt isn’t even real! Performers these days are wearing less and less clothes, flaunting their bodies without realizing the effect it has on women. Minaj, Azalea and J.Lo are really beautiful women, but they live in a world where image is everything.
Beyoncé, on the other hand, strives to use her music as a driving force for her feminist thinking. However, her work is not taken seriously. How can we view Beyoncé as a feminist and a sex symbol? How can she represent the average, everyday woman who struggles? This is a lady who we have never even seen in sweatpants, and is “flawless,” from head to toe.
The underlying issue is that men and women both in media and society are not taking into consideration the serious issues that women face about body image. What has society come to? Girls should not feel that they have to do hundreds of squats to make our butts bigger. Is the media trying to brainwash us into thinking that if we acquire big butts, this asset will help us conquer the world or get our dream boyfriend? What about us girls who are normal and not superstars, who do not want unnecessary attention to our bodies. A woman was fired from her job because she was “dressed too sexy”; where do we draw the line?
All of this pressure and attention comes at a time when girls already have a hard time appreciating and valuing their bodies. Especially with social media, the constant stream of images make women more susceptible to comparing themselves to other. There are sites like Barstool Sports, which allow sexually frustrated guys to rate college girls they find attractive for all to see. Instagram is a fight to the finish to see who can take the best selfie, which misconstrues girls’ perceptions of beauty.
We live in a world where women feel that they are constantly watched and judged by others for all to see. It is a shame that women care more about what others think than what they think of themselves. Social media and the selfie trend have instead caused eating disorders, depression, plastic surgery and an unhealthy obsession with the gym. The irony is that most people don’t even look like themselves on Instagram because of all features that allow for editing. My friend just sent me a picture of Kylie Jenner with her friend in actual life compared to on Instagram – it had me laughing for days.
One way that positive self-image is coming about is from singer Meghan Trainor. Her song, “All About That Bass,” openly talks about the pressures of being a certain size. She sings, “Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” Trainor said in an article for Billboard magazine, “I wrote it for me, as well, because I’ve struggled with body image since I was very young. And, my best friend is a beautiful goddess, but she’ll pick on herself in the mirror.” Trainor’s song about self-love is just one example of true female empowerment these days, and it’s what we need more of.