The Era of Booty-Centric Fashion

At the start of the millennium, society was decidedly not ready for this jelly. Having just come out of the era of the waif, we were simply not prepared for the J. Lo's and Bey's of this world. But little did we know that, as soon as the clock hit midnight and we drunkenly stumbled into the noughties, the era of the booty would be slowly pushing its way to the surface. It might have taken fifteen years to get everyone firmly on board, but now we live in a world where the question 'Does my bum look big in this?' should always be answered with a firm and enthusiastic yes.


As a society, we are obsessed with the booty. In fact, the booty itself has become a fashion statement - it's the trend of the moment. Thanks to celebs like Kim Kardashian, who is anything but camera shy, the media are seriously getting behind the behind. Kardashian's 'belfie' - yes, that's a thing now - generated well over a million likes and sparked an internet furore that cemented her derriere's place in the Instagram hall of fame. More recently, Kim K's impressively shiny cheeks were put on the front cover of New York's Paper magazine. And the internet didn't just overreact this time; it broke. But the fashion industry itself has been rather more careful with regard to celebrating booties. Back in 1996, Alexander McQueen debuted the scandalous 'Bumster' trouser. To say that they weren't well received would be being kind. Now, however, they're being auctioned for thousands of pounds; McQueen was acting way ahead of his time.


The question needs to be asked, however, what impact does booty-centric fashion have upon our perception of body image? In one sense, it's fantastic that the media have taken it upon themselves to allow women a shape, rather than persistently reinforcing the notion that to be feminine is to be size zero. But, nevertheless, the butt has been glorified to the extent that, those of us who haven't been born with Kim Kardashian style behinds...and do not have the time in our daily lives to fit in countless squats...are left as outcasts in a big bottomed world. A prominent bum is now what makes a woman 'bootiful' - (sorry) - suggesting that, yet again, women must conform to a particular body type if they want to feel sexy. Miley Cyrus is prime example. Perhaps she did go a little overboard with her performance at the 2013 VMAs, but twerk-gate proved that booties can only be celebrated if they're the exact right shape and size. Otherwise the internet, and its many armies, will make sure to compare your ass to a raw chicken.


Whilst the promotion of big bums is definitely healthier than that of the ultra thin physique - at least the former is more associated with exercise and healthy eating - it is nevertheless indicative of a society all too happy to idolise one body type over any other. So the question posed by Destiny's Child all those years ago: Can we handle this? Absolutely. Big Butts are great. But so are small ones, mediums ones, peachy ones, apple-shaped ones and all other possible types that might exist. It's not a competition.


Hannah Ellison

Brighton Fashion Week blogger