Youth, Popular Culture & Texts

Bubble what?

The perfect bubble butt. The thing that all girls crave today. It’s interesting to note how times have turned away from the stick-figure body type and back to curves.  Although encouraging girls to shy away from needing to be skinny and promoting a few more curves is certainly a good thing, I have observed that achieving that bubble butt can cause girls just as much trauma as desiring to be skinny can.  So why are we so obsessed with achieving the perfect butt?

Need we look any further than Nicki Minaj?  Her recent music video, Anaconda, certainly suggests that having the perfectly rounded bubble butt is a must have. Another video that demonstrates this is J Lo’s Booty, a collaboration with Iggy Azalea. Whilst these women are championing having a little extra ‘junk in the trunk,’ they are also suggesting to girls that having a perfectly shaped trunk and shaking it the way they do is acceptable behaviour. I know that I, for one, feel very uncomfortable watching these two videos and I certainly don’t like the idea of young people watching these.  I am always a little horrified when I see my 10 year old students attempting to twerk and thinking that it is a perfectly respectable dance move, not fully understanding the actual meaning of the movement.

For me, this raises many questions:

  • Do we allow our young people to watch/listen to these songs?
  • How do we stop them anyway?
  • Is it worth listening to these songs if it promotes a healthier body type as the desired outcome?
  • How do we stop our young people from going too far?
  • Is this something we can discuss in the classroom?
  • Is this more of a conversation that needs to happen at home?

I don’t think there is an easy answer to these questions.  Unfortunately sex has always been and will always be a big part of the music industry and therefore I do believe it is here to stay.

There is one positive song that springs to mind about the importance of being comfortable with a slightly bigger frame, Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass.  Being all about that bass is a slightly more elegant way of stating that having a bigger butt, bubble or not, is something that we should be content with.  Her message is that “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” This is a much more positive message and the video itself is generally fun and not too suggestive.

I definitely think it is worth noting that from the 1950s to today we seem to have come full circle in what is considered to be the desired body type.  These images should help demonstrate:

Marilyn Monroe, a bombshell with curves, 1958

Image from: CinemaScope
Image from: CinemaScope

Kate Moss, 2007:

Kate Moss Image from: Flikr, fkf
Image from: Flikr, fkf

Nicki Minaj, promoter of the bubble butt, 2014

Image from: Perks of being an Oreo
Image from: Perks of being an Oreo

Hopefully we can find a way to promote a curvaceous body type without using sex and focus on a more positive campaign!

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