HOTTENTOT VS. BBL
Updated: Apr 11
I often find myself curious as to when Black women decided to collectively augment themselves on a consistent basis. I can remember when plastic surgery was something that was not actually for women of color and I can remember elders joking and talking about the nose jobs and boob jobs that seemed to be something specific to the white race or carved out for celebrities. I knew that time and wealth would bring about a change, and just because Black women didn’t talk about surgery didn’t mean we weren’t considering it or don’t currently don’t want to go under the knife. Like many things, time brings about more access and resources, so when Black women began to gain additional wealth, resources and education on plastic surgery we started to opt in. Im sure this isn’t the only reason as the social media influence, discounted and out of the country options arose, this rare thing became common place.
I have in some instances considered plastic surgery myself, had a serious hateful relationship toward my stomach and I wanted to cut it off, no amount of confidence, reassurance,compliment or strong manly hands pulling on this fupa with love; I didn’t want it! I agree that some of my sisters have advanced their overall outlook on themselves, their health, relationship status’ and careers alike from having their bodies “done”, as we so eloquently put it. In my case, I wondered when we started to believe in this “fix” and is it a privilege or a curse to our future selves and disrespectful to our former selves or ancestors. I remember the first “fake butt” I knew of was Niki Minaj. I rewound the “My Chick Bad” video at least twenty-times, for my own flirty reasoning, but mostly to say “is that her ass?” Of course I’d seen the various ways in which the Kardashian clan went from birth to science projects, and the reality show myriad of butt, nose, waist, face, lip, lipo, tuck and nipped spaces on every episode. I am all for reconstruction of what may have been broken i.e lift the breast after a baby or nature has drug them, pull the stomach back in after you’ve done all the crunches you can do, snatch a wrinkle out of your stressed face that represents past pain, but do our asses need to be this big, our lips likely about to burst and our waist mimicking a child like seventeen to twenty inches. Maybe so; as a body is relative to the beholder, but it made me think as I read through the story of Sarah Baartman, who i’d say was born with the BBL mold and turned into a full throttle catastrophic science project.She was coined an African wonder because of the shape of her butt and small waist. Advertisements were placed throughout London for whites to look, touch, pinch and exploit her until her death. She was asked to dance for wealthy men and royalty alike to be looked at, assaulted, and prodded for her shape and beauty. When she was sent for by various solicitors, she would be ogled as she rode in her carriage and people would come out into the street to see this African Icon, just to get a glimpse at her body.
I read this book often wondering if this is the mold that we are following inviting our own exploitation. The BBL seems to be molded after Sarah’s natural body & after many Black women’s bodies. Have we become content with being ogled at as we go in and out of stores, and gyms like Sarah was; are we ok with the invitations and dates to dance and dine with wealthy men based on our fat asses and small waist, is it ok that this seems to be the standard requirement to be an entertainer or considered a sexy woman? I am unsure, but while reading this book I became sad that reconstruction seems to be par for the course in some manner. I believe every woman wants to remain beautiful and we all have a part we want to reconstruct. This massive influx of youth surgeries and wish list from teens that include cutting and pasting is disheartening and scary. This book gave me a different outlook and made me reconsider a few things I wanted to cut up. If you have had the surgery or if you are considering the “look”, read her story and make sure it’s a choice you want to make & let me know what you think!