β†’β†’Black Women, Our Bodies & Perceptions of Beauty: The Booty

Black Women, Our Bodies & Perceptions of Beauty: The Booty

No more prevalent, in the lonnnng list of reasons why women like me don’t work out, is the excuse of the booty.

As much as I love her... she's doing exactly what I'm talking about - hiding her front (in a robe, no less) but accentuating her back? Why not work on both? Good grief.

I’m serious. In fact, the only post on this entire site full of excuses, explanations, “b-b-buts,” disbelief and complaints is the one post I did about building a fit booty. Women who don’t believe that it is possible to build a booty (why? because they haven’t been able to do it yet, of course) complaining and questioning me, all because I question the desire to cling to an unhealthy lifestyle all for the sake of holding onto a re-buildable feature.

When women talk to me about how they don’t want to work out because they don’t want to burn the booty, I often – in my head – question if they notice the other things that come with that choice. For example, the huge thighs attached to the fat booty. The spare tire that nests directly above it. The gut we’re constantly trying to hide with long, cute, flowy shirts. The saddlebags that come from thigh fat being pushed aside for our gut sitting on our laps. And somewhere, someone is wondering what the hell saddlebags are.

I think of the women often named to me in regards to having large booty, and it’s almost always a video chick. Why? Because that’s what they hear the men (or women?) near them desiring, and since they want to be desired too, this is what they covet. I giggle a little bit when I google them or when I reference the pictures they’ve shown me. There’s usually a chick in a bikini, typically photoshopped

[poorly], with her booty turned flush to the camera. The first thing in my mind is “Okay, so what does she look like in motion?” Then, I hit youtube. I can usually see what they look like without the interference of photoshop. There’s usually something out of wack that cannot be hidden by creative photoshopping, clever positioning of arms and legs, or “interesting” costuming… but we’re willing to overlook that in our desire to glorify her booty.

So… let’s look at what we’re working with, here. Girls who make money off of their bodies being in tip top shape are being idolized by women who don’t want to work out… because they think that not working out will help them develop or maintain the same figure. There’s no logic in that. None.

There’s also always the occasional mention of the around-the-way-girl-with-the-giant-booty. The girl who has a phenomenal figure complete with a giant behind, and everyone – including her – knows it. This girl is usually shaping the hell out of her behind and thighs with the same brand of jeans every day, and telling everyone she was “just born this way.” I’ll tell you from personal experience – these girls are, more often than not, lying. There’s always something about being told you have an admirable feature, and being able to say “Oh, I was born with that!” with a sly smile tacked on the end.. knowing full well you’re enjoying fooling people.

It’s bull. Be it straight up exercise, dance, yoga positions – or, hell, sex positions – something is helping assist in the shape of that body. It can be hormones and genetics, but more often than not? You’re being hoodwinked… or snookered.

The amount of stock we put in this is crazy to me. I’ll even fire a few shots – some of the booties that I’ve seen women claim to want to protect… could use a lot of work. No one seems to notice that the booties belonging to these video and magazine girls don’t have creases… or dimples… or clumps of fat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to denigrate anyone, here. I’m trying to understand why we would cling to a misconception of what a “great booty” truly is, to use as an excuse to not put in work. Three particular things can actually enhance the booty we all have: 1) decreasing the “spare tire effect” around the tummy actually increases the slope from the back to the booty; 2) decreasing the thigh fat increases the curve in the booty; 3) squatting, lunching and hopping for your life actually picks up your cheeks. But for some reason, we’d rather believe that proper booty shaping comes from being cornfed and allergic to the gym. I mean, I could assume that it’s simply because we don’t want to put in work… but that’s nothing new.

I’d ask the question of why the booty is so powerful among women that we’d risk our health to preserve it.. but I believe I’ve already answered it. “Because that’s what they hear the men (or women?) near them desiring, and since they want to be desired too, this is what they covet.” I’ve already shared my thoughts on this foolishness.

The reality is this. We all know how prevalent this thinking is in our community. And much like the mentality that you have to adopt to be anti-processed foods and pro-clean eating… you have to be equally strong-willed in your rejection of this booty talk. Have faith in the fact that you can build the booty you want along with the completely fit and sexy body you desire… and develop better health all along the way. That’s what I call a total win. πŸ™‚

By | 2017-06-10T11:47:13+00:00 October 5th, 2011|Standards of Black Beauty|70 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.


  1. Lish July 27, 2010 at 8:52 AM - Reply

    This article was amusing but at the same time so very true!

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:45 AM - Reply

      Thanks! πŸ™‚

    • tequila April 28, 2013 at 11:32 AM - Reply


      There are some women who are blessed with a nice figure. My niece is one of them and she takes after me. After having kids I gained weight but I have maintained my shape. The important thing is to know you are beautiful regardless of how you are built and accept what God has given you.

  2. Ms.KiA July 27, 2010 at 9:12 AM - Reply

    I have never known a man to meet, fall in love with and marry a woman just because she’s got booty because if that same woman is crazy as hell, he’s out the door. No questions, and no convincing him to stay. Losing weight and getting healthy requires more than just eating and exercising… as you always write about… it takes a lot of mental refocusing. You’re doing a great job “here”. Keep up the good work.

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:46 AM - Reply

      Goes to show you just how much priority we place n the wrong things, right? πŸ™‚

  3. D. Mack July 27, 2010 at 9:26 AM - Reply

    How do I get rid of the spare tire? It has plagued me my whole life.

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:47 AM - Reply

      Cardio, baby! You can’t pick and choose where the body burns fat, so just do cardiovascular activity and fat will begin to burn from everywhere… including your spare tire!

      And get your water in, too. πŸ™‚

  4. Starr July 27, 2010 at 9:48 AM - Reply

    Hi Erika,
    I know you’re not there yet, but can you speak on fitness after 50. At this age many men and women say, whatever. If you are relatively healthy and haven’t had a serious illness or injury that prevents you from working out regularly, you should. After a ten year break I started working out this past May with a personal trainer in a boot camp atmosphere. I have stuck with it and it is paying off. This big booty and these thunder thighs are taking on a new shape and I like it. I read your blog religiously, you are an inspiration. Keep up the good work. Love ya! Starr

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:48 AM - Reply

      What aspect of fitness after 50 would you like covered? I know people like to marginalize our 50s-folks with a ton of gloom and doom talk, but there are plenty of us who not only look forward to our 50s (I know I do – I’ll have grown folks money with a 21 year old’s body? I’m game.) but there are those of us in our 50s who are truly enjoying life to the fullest living healthily or working to get there. You tell me what aspect of fit after 50 you want to know about, and I’m all yours. πŸ™‚

      • Janine September 12, 2013 at 10:37 AM - Reply

        Did you ever end up writing this post? I am curious to read what you have to say!

        • Erika Nicole Kendall September 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM - Reply

          Hmm, which aspect are you curious about? Maybe I’ll write it just for you. πŸ™‚

  5. EL DARKO KNIGHTO July 27, 2010 at 9:56 AM - Reply

    I’m not one of you ladies. I’m a dude. However, i’ve discussed the behavior over and over again. You used a great word “costuming.” I often see it as a “deflection” or “detour” though. The large lady with the robust breast wearing a low-cut/tight shirt. Or that same lady wearing the newest clothes (especially tight pants), hair done, nails tight, etc. They take the attention away from what’s really going on. I blame a “pin pointing society” for this (Ass-man, Breast-Man, Leg-man,..) like cats are picking out chicken parts at a restaurant. It’s senseless. Worry about the whole body. Who complains about a WHOLE TIGHT BODY?

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:51 AM - Reply


      I don’t know.. I mean, I think it depends on the person. I’m not gonna throw shade at someone who is just well kept… but I WILL throw shade at you if I’ve heard you say that you don’t want to lose weight JUST BECAUSE of your booty, but you’re actively ignoring/covering up/hiding the “problem areas” and reasons why you SHOULD work out.

      Lots of people complain about whole “tight” bodies. They “need sandwiches.” I think that’s also referred to as “hating,” though. LOL

    • Jessica February 3, 2011 at 2:53 PM - Reply

      I dunno. I did p90x and insanity and while I’ve gotten a lot of compliments about my weight lost, I’ve gotten a lot of complaints about it too.

      By the way… there is nothing wrong with big thighs. I’m in shape now but I would cry if my thighs were gone. Its like my trademark…

      • Erika February 3, 2011 at 3:05 PM - Reply

        There’s nothing wrong with SHAPELY thighs. Big? Ehh… just make sure there’s muscle in there. LOL

  6. EL DARKO KNIGHTO July 27, 2010 at 9:57 AM - Reply

    and how do I lose the chick as my avatar?

    • Erika July 27, 2010 at 10:05 AM - Reply

      LOL Go to gravatar.com!

  7. Brie July 27, 2010 at 10:12 AM - Reply


    Thank you for this post! As a former hour glass who is looking more like a 2-liter these days but working on getting back to my hourglass shape, I can attest that the attitudes I get about losing weight are ridiculous!!

    My butt is big proportionally no matter what I do it will still always be big, but every guy I have dated during my weight loss journey will always say “make sure you don’t lose your booty” as well as some girlfriends who feel inadequate because they aren’t born with the booty that i have. WTH?!?

    i love my body but i could stand to lose the dimples and excess fat especially since I plan to squat and lunge my way into as you say a “fit booty” id rather see a smoother, smaller booty with a phat shape then a big, saggy, dimply one with what some still think is a phat shape.

    as i continue to work out i can see the changes in my booty as well as the saddlebags get smaller and i love it!

    when i was young i was athletic and didnt have all of this excess foolishness and and my butt was PHAT. and that is who i want to be healthy, fit and okay with how i look in the mirror. that should be more important than how big my booty is.

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:53 AM - Reply

      Right! I don’t think many men understand the difference between quality and quantity… you can have a LOT of booty, but um… is the quality all there? And for the sake of one’s ego, they might respond “YES I HAVE A QUALITY BOOTY!!!111!1!1” but the reality might not be the same, lol.

      “that is who i want to be healthy, fit and okay with how i look in the mirror. that should be more important than how big my booty is.”

      Yes. πŸ™‚

  8. A Man July 27, 2010 at 10:56 AM - Reply

    Is it really a matter of what men want or request? Really? Why is it that this subject (health) we men get a pass and your attention? We don’t influence your job decisions. We don’t influence how you spend your money at your favorite stores. We don’t control strong black women with our desires except for when it comes to health reasons. It’s another excuse to let go IMO. It doesn’t help when we drool over big booties, but you all are smarter than that.

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:55 AM - Reply

      You’re grossly underestimating the amount of things women do for male attention.

      I don’t think this is about “strong” Black women – its not about strength. It’s about being tunnel visioned… and because the current meme is that “Black men are an endangered species… acquire one at all costs!!11!!!1!1” women can and often DO allow men to influence those things.

      Is it an excuse? YES. Is it a conscious one? I don’t think so. Not so much, lol.

    • Kat's Meow April 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM - Reply

      You are seriously underestimating the prevalence of male influence, period. Heteronormative patriarchy. Look it up.

      • Janine October 15, 2012 at 8:10 PM - Reply

        Sing ittttt

  9. Ladi Ohm July 27, 2010 at 11:27 AM - Reply

    I’m not worried about my booty… squats, lunges, yoga, and walking on a super high incline on the treadmill have taken care of that, very nicely, if I might add ;)… but, I am in mourning over the loss of my boobs πŸ™

    • Erika July 28, 2010 at 9:55 AM - Reply

      Me too, girl, me too. *sigh* LOL!

      • Durkia November 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM - Reply

        Pssshhh you guys can have some of mine. My booty and thighs are toned but I am having a hard time losing my breast. They are so disproportionate to the rest of my body. Any suggestions?!?!

  10. victoria July 27, 2010 at 5:01 PM - Reply

    hi not to be harsh and speaking from a big girl prospective no one is going to look at ur booty or boobs in a casket. and think of it this way you will be able to get cheaper panties and bras and also can wear a bikinin without someone doing the screw face.
    loool with that being said can you tell are there any good cereals out there if any any can you talk about vitamins or herbal cleansers thanks love ya mean you always help me.

    • Erika July 31, 2010 at 1:43 PM - Reply

      It is harsh, but for some of us it’s a definite truth. We just have to prioritize… and surely, our health can come before a rebuildable curve in our frame, right? πŸ™‚

      And no, I’m not going to help you out with any herbal cleansers! Get some fiber in your diet! πŸ™‚

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