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'Assthetics': Commodification and Consumption of Black Feminine Bodies in a Popular Women's Magazine
Unformatted Document Text:  14 Almost all of the ads for the new rear end products feature white women who are represented as having to work for this new aesthetic. The exclusive use of white models in such sections even when women of color begin to show up in the pages of Shape points again to this idea of white women having to work to overcome their mind to achieve this new aesthetic. While some women of color (e.g. Jennifer Lopez) may come by their curves “naturally,” the appropriation of big behinds as a fashionable aesthetic exploited women of color while exalting white achievement of this new aesthetic. Advertisements in Shape relied more heavily on emphasizing the supposed “naturalness” of bodies and embodied experiences of women of color. Images, directed exercise, and advertisements for products for the rear end as well as images of gendered “blackness” and more generally “women of colorness” revealed a dichotomous mode of representation—rational white femininity vs. embodied black femininity. “Whiteness” in this publication is coded as cerebral, thought and alienated from primitive energies that are constructed as necessary for achieving physical fitness. Images and texts in Shape invoked idealized “otherness” in order to help their readership get more in tune with their bodies and overcome their minds. Although such instructions as to how to achieve idealized bodies were discussed as “celebrations” of US diversity, they were still wholly dependent on a classic racialized, dichotomous semiotic: white as mind/black as body. These ads often glossed over historical precedents of spectacularized rear ends and disavowed the social relations that paved the way for the emergence of this new aesthetic. Section on Fetishization and the Rear End:

Authors: O'Neil, Moira.
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14
Almost all of the ads for the new rear end products feature white women who are
represented as having to work for this new aesthetic. The exclusive use of white models in
such sections even when women of color begin to show up in the pages of Shape points
again to this idea of white women having to work to overcome their mind to achieve this
new aesthetic. While some women of color (e.g. Jennifer Lopez) may come by their curves
“naturally,” the appropriation of big behinds as a fashionable aesthetic exploited women of
color while exalting white achievement of this new aesthetic.
Advertisements in Shape relied more heavily on emphasizing the supposed
“naturalness” of bodies and embodied experiences of women of color. Images, directed
exercise, and advertisements for products for the rear end as well as images of gendered
“blackness” and more generally “women of colorness” revealed a dichotomous mode of
representation—rational white femininity vs. embodied black femininity. “Whiteness” in this
publication is coded as cerebral, thought and alienated from primitive energies that are
constructed as necessary for achieving physical fitness. Images and texts in Shape invoked
idealized “otherness” in order to help their readership get more in tune with their bodies and
overcome their minds. Although such instructions as to how to achieve idealized bodies
were discussed as “celebrations” of US diversity, they were still wholly dependent on a
classic racialized, dichotomous semiotic: white as mind/black as body. These ads often
glossed over historical precedents of spectacularized rear ends and disavowed the social
relations that paved the way for the emergence of this new aesthetic.
Section on Fetishization and the Rear End:


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