Big Bum Theory: the fascination with curved hips

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The fascination of curved hips.

Forget the selfies, everyone is now gaga over belfies (butt selfies), with influential celebrities breaking their backs to get a better angle of their bodied butts.

Big buttocks have now become the motto of social networks.

Go to TikTok or Instagram and chances are you’ll come across a woman showing off her butt within seconds. Some pretending to do something else but keeping the camera focused on their backs.

The fascination of the buttocks has become so great that women undergo surgery to get the desired behind.

But where does the obsession with girls with big asses come from? The phenomenon is not new as most of our historical art, since the 15th century, has captured paintings of human buttocks.

Evolutionary psychologists have reasoned that rounded buttocks may have evolved as a desirable trait because they provide a visual indication of a woman’s youth and sexual maturity.

Some evolutionary biologists have speculated that the attractiveness of big buttocks stems from an inherent association of the behind with fertility. And since hormones play an important role in the placement of body fat, women are biologically predisposed to have bigger buttocks and hips due to the higher presence of estrogen in the blood.

In his book, Studies in the psychology of sexBritish psychologist Havelock Ellis claimed that big hips were a mark of fertility and beauty.

“Thus, we find, among most peoples of Europe, Asia and Africa, the major continents of the world, that large hips and buttocks in women are generally considered an important characteristic of beauty”, writes Ellis in his book.

“This secondary sexual character represents the most pronounced structural deviation of the female type from the male, a deviation required by the reproductive function of women, and in the admiration it arouses, sexual selection is thus in line with natural selection.”

To support this theory, a study carried out at Bilkent University in Turkey with 300 men revealed that it was not the back that men coveted, but rather the curvature of the spine, otherwise known as vertebral jamming. One of the study’s researchers, Dr David Lewis, said the spinal wedging developed out of necessity.

“This would have allowed ancestral women to shift their center of mass to their hips during pregnancy, a period in which there is a dramatic forward shift in their center of mass,” he said.

“This benefit is critical. Without being able to do this, women would experience a dramatic increase in hip torque, putting them at risk for muscle strain and injury,” he added.

Other anthropologists have insinuated that human beings are the only primates to develop breasts because they look like shapely buttocks.

But fast forward to the 21st century, where fat bums are prominent on the internet, in magazines, and in music videos.

Take, for example, the classic 1992 hit, baby came back by Sir Mix-A-Lot where he sings, “I like big asses and I can’t lie, you brothers can’t deny, that when a girl comes in with a tiny little waist, and a round thing in your face, you soar.”

We also can’t forget how Beyoncé ensured the quality of her behind with her 2002 hit song, singing “Cause my body too bootylicious for you, babe.”

The era is filled with people like the Kardashian sisters, whose funds grew with their bank account balances, making their posteriors as important as their careers.

But the fascination with big butts is also on the rise in Kenya, with socialites such as Vera Sidika, Risper Faith and Corazon Kwamboka enjoying massive social media followings thanks to their bodies.

When Corazon first appeared as a magazine cover model for Pulse, many men were curious to find out who she was. The law graduate had to refute claims of using drugs to enhance her body, saying she had good genes.

“It’s true that men eye my butt, but they also look at other women. I’m a size 14 or 16 below, then my upper body is a size 8 because I have a small waist,” she told Pulse.

To get that desirable body, even though it comes naturally to others, some people have had to change their eating habits and spend hours in the gym.

It’s no wonder that hashtags like #squats and #glutes have over 22 million and 7 million likes on Instagram, respectively, with popular fitness influencers enjoying millions of followers looking for butt makeovers.

However, in recent years some women have gone a step further and opted for cosmetic surgery to achieve that shapely derriere – giving rise to terms such as buttock lift and buttock augmentation – opening up a thriving market for quack cosmetic surgeons.

Buttock lift, cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of the buttocks, has been considered an expensive method to achieve the desired body, with buttock augmentation procedures costing upwards of Sh500,000.

For this reason, those who cannot afford these surgeries opt for gel, creams, pills and capsules purchased from local beauty stores, the cheapest being 600 Sh.

Elsie, a 22-year-old university student, said she used gels and creams between 1,500 and 2,500 shillings to improve her appearance.

“These curvaceous babes have it all. Look at Vera and Risper Faith who became so popular after launching their ‘career’ in Pulse magazine. They are now earning big bucks and have entered the glamorous league of celebrities. Lately, having a big butt pays off,” Elsie explains, adding that she lands modeling gigs every time she posts her photos on social media.

However, Dr Duah, a local pharmacist in Nairobi, says most of these products have no scientific evidence to deliver the advertised promises.

“These manufacturers are playing on women’s ignorance and desperation. Even surgical procedures to enhance your breasts and back carry risks that people rarely hear about. They are not 100% safe as many assume,” a- he declared.

Christine Nyaboke, a hairstylist, says her attempts to achieve a curvy look turned tragic after the enhancements she was using backfired.

“The pill I was using, suggested by a friend, was not giving me the results I expected. So one day another friend suggested an alternative, which I bought,” Christine said, adding, ” I started applying the cream to my hips, thighs and buttocks with visible positive results, until one day I noticed that one of my buttocks looked bigger than the other.”

But the trend for seemingly big buttocks continues to evolve, as women who don’t want to risk cosmetic surgery or crash diets are now opting for body-shaping underwear.

Alice, a public relations manager, says she has used padded bras and tight underwear, which make her waist appear small, enhancing her curves.

“I use a push-up bra and a body shaper to accentuate my curves,” she says.

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