On the premiere of Kirstie Alley’s sitcom, Fat Actress, the plus-size white star looks for a black man when she wants to get laid. As Sir Mix-A-Lot’s observation from the ’90s, that “even white boys got to shout” becomes more and more mainstream, one wonders whether the ideal body shape will change for all women. Lately, designer denim and hip-hop labels alike seem to idealize a tiny waist that magically segues into a large round bottom. Mannequins have always been built unrealistically, but in the past it was big boobs and otherwise waif-like proportions. Now the plastic figures are adopting this new big-butt ideal. From the way things are shaping up, it would seem that booty implants, instead of a D-cup upgrade, will become the new norm.
EckoRed hit a gold mine two years ago when it created a big-butted mannequin, named after Jennifer Lopez’s famous backside, called “the J.Lo Butt Form.” Lopez, like every singer/actor/mogul, has a line of clothing, including her “Diamond Jean,” a favorite among butt-flaunting fans. And it’s not just size that counts. Connoisseurs have established a template for today’s ideal ass, and it’s either God-given or just not happening. The main difficulty is the fact that like the breasts of yore, this generous backside is supposedly attached to a miniscule frame, curving outward from the waist at a dramatic but smooth trajectory on both sides. (A certain level of butt-lover would like to be able to see it from the front).
The basic shape of the new, perfect butt is a double-sided heart, with mounds on top and bottom, like a ripe piece of fruit. When rapper Nelly started a line of jeans for women (“for women” kind of like when your boyfriend gives you hot pants “for your birthday”), he named it “Miss Apple Bottom.” But why stop there? He slapped neon pink or green apples onto the cheeks of his denim rump-riders (about $56 to $78) and posed with a topless Miss Apple Bottom (whom he had hand-picked on a VH1 special) while gnawing on a juicy red apple himself. But streetwear designers and hip-hop insiders are not alone in recognizing the profit in this market.
Perhaps the most convincing proof of a cross-cultural booty-movement is the fact that Joe’s Jeans, associated more often with fashionistas (read: skinny white girls) than with badunkadunk, has created jeans specifically concerned with showcasing the rear. A naked butt (smallish but round) graces the main page of Joe’s website and there are many more inside. (In fact, the ad campaign features more nude bottoms than denim-clad ones). Among the persona-named fits of jeans, like “The Socialite” and “The Rocker,” is a silhouette specifically honoring the voluptuously endowed called “The Honey” (about $150). The promotional material describes the “booty fit” as “fitted at the waist and contoured for the ultra-feminine physique,” adding, “voluptuous never had it so good.”
Nelly is currently looking for the next Miss Apple Bottom right here in the New York/New Jersey area. Models are needed for the applebottoms.com style guide. While the website gives an ideal range for height (5’6″ to 5’9″), bust (34-36 B-C), and dress size (5-9), it specifies only the minimum for hips: 36 inches.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 8, 2005