Thursday, August 6, 2015
A Big Butt
Now, you might not think that butts, big or otherwise, could become the subject of heated discussion around the Sunday dinner table for a fairly regular family of five, three males and two females, but you'd be wrong. They can and they will and they did for my family this week.
The immediate cause of this somewhat unsavoury heated discussion around last Sunday night's roast chicken family dinner, was the recent exchange on Twitter between two female superstar singers, Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj. If you're not aware of this exchange - where have you been??? - it seemed to revolve around the assertion from Minaj that her latest music video, which involves many close-range moving images of women's bottoms of the largay variety and scantily clad bottoms at that, all the better to make the point, which is something to do with empowerment to African women via the celebration and destigmatization of the BIG bottom - was not nominated for an award because it didn't feature smaller bottomed women, or more specifically 'skinny' women, as Minaj referred to them.
Swift, whose video was nominated, took offence because not only was she, a skinny women, in the video but so were other more or less skinny women, if less scantily clad.
Minaj denied that she was referring to Swift's video and said she was referring instead to a broader issues of racism in the awards system in its preference for skinny white women, or the white aesthetic in general. Swift had to apologise in the end, which seemed to me a bit harsh.
Anyway, our boys (16 and 22) needless to say hadn't heard a thing about this Twitter interchange and when they did hear about it from their sister (20) who was sympathetic to Minaj and disagreed with me, they, or at least the older one, went on a rampage about the 'fucking stupidity' of this woman, whom he didn't know from Eve, and the danger of her 'cheap big bum video' influencing young girls into thinking that it is alright to behave in this way to the degeneration of culture in general. He even went as far as to suggest that the unnatural system of monogamy, which is already up against it in modern culture, will be further jeopardised by this crass kind of message being sent to the younger generation. Wow! And we thought he was 'just' a computer geek.
His sister rightly pointed out, in retort, that he hadn't even seen the video and so was not entitled to comment, and that Minaj is not stupid, 'she really isn't', and that the point she was making had some validity because skinny women are always featured on music videos and most women aren't skinny, and worse still, that people are forever trying to tell women what to wear and not to wear and Minaj's video was saying F-off to that. Hear, hear!
Their father kept out of it and focused busily on the chicken instead. I had finally relented and cooked his favourite Brussels sprouts (which look a little bit like bottoms, if you think about it) to go with the roast, so he was quite happy really.
The younger boy attempted some early intervention on behalf of his brother, before slinking further and further down in his seat and losing his appetite entirely.
That left me.
Well, you may or may not be surprised to hear that I like a good argument when I can get one and in my family that is quite often. In fact, it may have been yours truly who not only passed on the 'arguing' gene to my brood, but started the argument on this occasion by sticking up for Swift, when my daughter, although a fan of Swift, was inclined to defend Minaj on account of generally not liking any hint of a suggestion that I might be advocating female skinniness in any shape or form. Better to promote genocide, really.
I tried to be cool. Unfortunately coolness is not a speciality of mine and verbal assaults did fly between the two female members of the family then, me saying it was a shame modern feminism had to be forever reduced to sex and that Minaj hardly represents the average non-skinny woman, being super groomed and fit, thanks to personal trainers, etc, and even relatively 'skinny' herself, except for her bottom, which even so has no cellulite on it. She had no comeback on the cellulite front. But we could agree, at least, that men policing what women wear is not on and women with big butts should not be ashamed of them.
Credit to our older boy for being able to get a word in edgeways once my daughter and I got going on this somewhat fraught topic - with a bit of personal history and baggage to go with it - but he kept up his end and the big butt brouhaha threatened to get entirely out of hand with the three of us going head to head to head.
Calmly, with a slightly worried and strained expression, the head of the family quietly rose to collect the dinner plates and ever so subtly hint that it might be time to wrap up our 'discussion'.
I have said before that feminism is a bit tricky, but, and it's a big but, does it have to be THAT tricky? I don't think it does, but then, I don't have a particularly big butt.