body image · fitness

Biggin’ your booty? Because whatever your body looks like, it’s not good enough

You might think that if you are blessed with a naturally slender physique, or if you’ve exercised and dieted your way to a thinner shape, that your work is done.

Sadly, no.

The “problem” is that most women who are small, thin, or have a low percent body fat, also have smaller breasts and smaller bottoms. Until now society had focused its pressure on breast size. Breast enlargement by surgery or by padded bra is the usual route to being thin and having large breasts.

But now it’s not just breasts, it’s also bottoms. There’s pressure on women to be thin and to have a shapely bum. We read about this a lot when it comes to fitness trends.  Some women worry that treadmill running leads to flat butts. Other women do all squats all the time. I’ve written before about body shaming endurance athletes. See Fear of frail? In which Sam pledges not to body shame skinny runners.

I am thinking about this while I am watching the Oscars. Rail thin women in beautiful gowns with substantial bottoms. How do they do that? Turns out it’s not just avoiding the treadmill or doing squats.

See The Case for a Bigger Ass.

“When Hollywood’s most glamorous actresses hit the red carpet at Sunday’s Oscars, their bods will be made hotter with an arsenal of enhancers, from “chicken cutlet” bra inserts to Spanx. And in some cases, the ladies will be packing another concealed weapon: butt pads.

The caboose boosters are the latest awards-season essential, creating curves back there without the pain, expense and risks of surgery or endless reps in the gym. “Butt pads are a tool for a specific look — they work best to emphasize your body with a very slinky body-hugging gown or pants,” says fashion expert and television personality George Kotsiopoulos.”

Butt pads?

The idea is that you get super skinny by dieting, or you are already super skinny to start, but then you need to look curvy. So you selectively add fat back to the body bits that matter.

The staff at BuzzFeed tried wearing them and writing about. See We Tried Wearing Butt Padding and This is What Happened.



As if that weren’t “bang head against desk” inducing enough it turns out you can also worry that pubic mound is too small. A click bait-y piece appeared in my newsfeed about it. I won’t link to it here since an astute reader noticed that in addition to all the other ways that it could be offensive, the piece was also really shitty to transwomen.

It’s increasingly the case that no women can rest, all bodies are in need of constant improvement. We’ve written before about women who worry that their pubic mound is too fat. See “My boyfriend says my vagina is too fat.”

Others worry that their labia are too old.

It’s a fact of life: The appearance of your lady parts may change with age. “The labia may become less plump as estrogen levels wane, fatty pads in the labia shrink and less collagen can lead to more sagging,” says Dr. Rankin. “The skin of the vulva may darken or lighten and the clitoris may shrink. It’s normal either way.”

Too skinny flat bottom? Too thin shrinking wrinkly labia?

Really? Really? Really?

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Actually, I do have words. It’s this, “Life is very short. Too short for this. Love the body you have.”

And if you can’t love your body, Here’s an Idea: Body-Neutrality.


5 thoughts on “Biggin’ your booty? Because whatever your body looks like, it’s not good enough

  1. Amen, amen, amen! I’m closer to “frail-looking” skinny and people constantly tell me I need to eat more, tell me I need to gain weigh. As a teenager, guys would make fun of my (lack of) curves to my face. We desperately need body love and acceptance across the board.

  2. Why am I not surprised? The mixed messages are relentless. Curvy but not too curvy, thin but not too thin. Whatever it is, there’s a thing to make it better. I honestly had never heard of butt pads until today and they sound incredibly uncomfortable. Silicone is heavy and squishy. No thanks.

    1. You can also go the cosmetic surgery route. Butt lifts and butt augmentations are big right now.

  3. A long time ago women competed in whose spine was the straightest and it was somewhat the equivalent of fitness competitions these days. Glutes are very important in fitness bikini category now.
    I remember times when I wanted to get smaller hips because it was perceived more attractive. Now I squat and deadlift hoping for the opposite effect.

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