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'Assthetics': Commodification and Consumption of Black Feminine Bodies in a Popular Women's Magazine
Unformatted Document Text:  15 In other forms of popular culture, some media alluded to an historical connection between the popularity of Jennifer Lopez’ posterior intensive music videos and the “booty revolution in general to the encaged performances of Sartje Baartman or the so-called Venus Hottentot. Salon.com, a popular online magazine described the specific proportions and appropriate size of new rear end aesthetics: In fact, the rise of the noticeable behind is ultimately putting even more stress on the body conscious: No longer do you just want a skinny butt, now you also need one that is "high, round, shapely and firm," according to Elle. It has to have enough curve to round out those low-rise jeans, and enough oomph to create a comely cleavage without evoking the Hottentot Venus. Distancing the fashionable trend from a very crucial historical predecessor disconnects booty fashions from racial and racist origins and implications, despite overt references to the ethnic background of Jennifer Lopez. Rivera*** in her work on Puerto Rican diasporic communities and hip hop questions why Lopez became the figure to embody what historically and culturally has been defined as a “black ass”—why a Latina woman becomes the figure to embody “blackness”: Perhaps Lopez does have a certain something that makes her ass seem extra special. But doesn’t it seem too much in accordance with Eurocentric aesthetic hierarchies that a very light-skinned straight haired—white by Latin American standards—woman is the icon celebrated for her so called black ass? (133).*** The amalgamation of racialized body parts on the figure of Jennifer Lopez described by Rivera not only serves to devalue blackness, but her so-called racially nebulous features conflate geographies, histories and ethnicities so that the meaning and social practices of ‘race’ are glossed over and obfuscated. Her racial and ethnic background becomes a malleable category that upholds ideologies of racial equality and melting pot multiculturalism while ignoring the inequalities of the Puerto Rican diasporic experience. Furthermore, through the idealization and popularity of Jennifer Lopez’ body, historically determined

Authors: O'Neil, Moira.
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15
In other forms of popular culture, some media alluded to an historical connection
between the popularity of Jennifer Lopez’ posterior intensive music videos and the “booty
revolution in general to the encaged performances of Sartje Baartman or the so-called Venus
Hottentot. Salon.com, a popular online magazine described the specific proportions and
appropriate size of new rear end aesthetics:
In fact, the rise of the noticeable behind is ultimately putting even more stress on the
body conscious: No longer do you just want a skinny butt, now you also need one
that is "high, round, shapely and firm," according to Elle. It has to have enough
curve to round out those low-rise jeans, and enough oomph to create a comely
cleavage without evoking the Hottentot Venus.
Distancing the fashionable trend from a very crucial historical predecessor disconnects booty
fashions from racial and racist origins and implications, despite overt references to the ethnic
background of Jennifer Lopez. Rivera*** in her work on Puerto Rican diasporic
communities and hip hop questions why Lopez became the figure to embody what
historically and culturally has been defined as a “black ass”—why a Latina woman becomes
the figure to embody “blackness”:
Perhaps Lopez does have a certain something that makes her ass seem extra special. But
doesn’t it seem too much in accordance with Eurocentric aesthetic hierarchies that a very
light-skinned straight haired—white by Latin American standards—woman is the icon
celebrated for her so called black ass? (133).***
The amalgamation of racialized body parts on the figure of Jennifer Lopez described
by Rivera not only serves to devalue blackness, but her so-called racially nebulous features
conflate geographies, histories and ethnicities so that the meaning and social practices of
‘race’ are glossed over and obfuscated. Her racial and ethnic background becomes a
malleable category that upholds ideologies of racial equality and melting pot multiculturalism
while ignoring the inequalities of the Puerto Rican diasporic experience. Furthermore,
through the idealization and popularity of Jennifer Lopez’ body, historically determined


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