Michelle Got a Big Ole Butt…Now, That’s Change I Can Believe In!


Hello World,

About a week ago, some friends and I met at a forum my friend hosted to discuss various issues in the black community. Of course, one of those topics was the election of the first black president and the changes that are likely to take place in our community as a result. Many of the women, including me, spoke with pride of finally seeing a sho nuff Black woman celebrated at a worldwide level. For once, it seems that the ethnocentric standard of beauty rather than the Eurocentric standard of beauty won out…And no disrespect to my high yella sisters, but it seems to me that when many black men “make it” they choose to go for either the white girl or the closest they can get to it…But Barack, who is the next leader of the free world, chose a brown-skinned, black woman who goes weaveless. No disrespect to those who accessorize with weaves, but that’s cause for a celebration. Had this election occurred when I was a little girl, I’m sure it would have gone a long way to affirm the beauty that I sometimes questioned when I looked in the mirror…more about that later.

So when a friend of mine e-mailed this article to me a few days ago, I was delighted. I was also suprised that I had neither written nor said anything about one of Michelle’s most salient features.  In the article,  First Lady Got Back by Erin Aubry Kaplan, she describes her joy of seeing a woman with one of our culture’s most celebrated features in the White House.

“Free at last. I never thought that I — a black girl who came of age in the utterly anticlimactic aftermath of the civil rights movement — would say the phrase with any real sincerity in my lifetime. But ever since Nov. 4, I’ve been shouting it from every rooftop. I’m not excited for the most obvious reason. Yes, Obama’s win was an extraordinary breakthrough and a huge relief, but I don’t subscribe to the notion that his capturing the White House represents the end of American racial history. Far from it. There is a certain freedom in the moment — as in, we are all now free from wondering when or if we’ll ever get a black president. Congratulations to all of us for being around to settle the question.

But what really thrills me, what really feels liberating in a very personal way, is the official new prominence of Michelle Obama. Barack’s better half not only has stature but is statuesque. She has coruscating intelligence, beauty, style and — drumroll, please — a butt. (Yes, you read that right: I’m going to talk about the first lady’s butt.)”

Yes, that’s right Michelle, you can call her Mrs. Obama if you’re nasty, got a butt, and I, for one, say it’s about time that booties be celebrated at a worldwide level. Brothers, can I get an “Amen” this Sunday? One of the points that Kaplan makes in the article is how black women sometimes feel like we have to hide our booties to blend in at the workplace.

“Thanks to Michelle, looking professional and provocative in a distinctly black way will become not only acceptable but also part of a whole presidential look that’s more, well, inclusive. Now we’ll all be able to wear leggings to board meetings; we’ll sport pencil skirts sans the long jackets meant to cover the offending rear at big conferences where we have to make a good impression.”

As I said in my last post, I grew up in white schools. However, when I went home I was surrounded by black people in my neighborhood. This dichotomy created confusion when it came to my beauty and culture.  I remember in third grade as a part of a history lesson, my classmates and I had to dress up as American historical figures. A newspaper photographer took pictures of some of us and told us that we were going to be in the paper. I was crushed when I saw a picture of me and a classmate. In the caption of the picture, it was said that I was a “slave woman,” and the other girl in the picture was Betsy Ross. Umm, excuse me, Mr. Newspaper Photographer Man, I was Harriet Tubman!!! (If you couldn’t get that simple fact right, then you shouldn’t have been in the business!)  Incidents like this chipped away at my self esteem.

Around that same time, the little boys in my neighborhood began telling me I had a big butt. I did notice that my little girl dresses bunched up in the back but I wasn’t too self conscious about it until they started to notice. I also noticed that the little girl dresses on the white girls at my school moved easily over their backsides as they skipped along. (I won’t even get into my fascination with their swinging ponytails.) I figured if I noticed, they noticed too. So what was my antidote? Every day for a long time I started standing with my back against the wall and tried to tuck my butt in. I figured the wall would help me stand so that my butt went in rather than protruded.

It didn’t work. In the seventh grade, this guy, Francisco Ruiz, said to me, “Why is your butt so big?” (Yes, I still remember his name.)  I was flabbergasted and unsure how to respond. I,  after what seemed like ten minutes of stunned silence, finally uttered, “I don’t know.” After that I had had enough, and I was determined to go to a black high school. I lobbied for my cause for about a year.  As I said in my last post, my parents did finally relent and let me go to a black high school and from the moment, I walked into its doors, I no longer felt like I had to apologize for my big booty.  By the time I graduated from high school, I had totally stopped trying to camouflage my booty altogether. In fact, my shorts and jeans were probably too tight for my mama’s taste.

And now that I’m in my ’30s, there are even books to back up what I now know to be true. Having a big booty is like having “an open door that no one can shut.” (Shout out to my Bible Study class! Tell me if you can find where this excerpt of scripture is found in Revelation. Forgive me if I’m being sacrilegious.) Has anyone ever read  “The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right?” It is basically a book about playing hard to get as a strategy to get a man. The first rule in this book is, “Be a ‘Creature Unlike Any Other.” The feminist answer’s to this book is “The Real Rules: How to Find the Right Man for the Real You.” The first rule in this book is, “Treat Men the Way You Want Them to Treat You.” Both books have good points. But the third book,  “The Sistahs’ Rules (Not to be Confused with The Rules): Secrets for Meeting, Getting and Keeping a Good Black Man,” I can really get down with.  Rule #1 in this book is, “Celebrate the Power of the Booty.” Now, I know that brothers like to quote this line from Poison -“Never Trust a Big Butt and a Smile.” But they just frontin’. They know there is power in the booty!

Having a big booty can take you places in life – just ask Michelle O.

P.S. I wish I could go back in time a la “Back to the Future” and tell that my 8-year-old self! And since Kaplan referred to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s hit, “Baby Got Back,” in her commentary, I feel compelled to include his video here.

Any Thoughts?




~ by jackieholness on November 23, 2008.

13 Responses to “Michelle Got a Big Ole Butt…Now, That’s Change I Can Believe In!”

  1. As a male I must say I noticed Michelle’s shape a long time ago. But I’m not going to agree that her physical assets took her places. If we were talking about getting in the club while there is a line out front, or having a role in a rapper’s video, then I would agree that the size of the booty means everything. But to be CEO or President of a major company, First Lady of the United States, or the most powerful Media Mogul in the world, I don’t think a butt is necessary. Obviously Media Goddess Oprah didn’t start out with the best curves. But I think most men would agree that through the years, her assests have been trimmed and shaped to require a second look from time to time.

    Yes, it’s great to see sistas with butt in high positions, but this is not anything new, at least not from my perspective. I grew up in the 70s so TV had a big influence on how I saw the world too. Wonder Woman (Linda Carter) and a host of other white females were the standard for a good looking woman for some of us little black boys. But Pam Grier and Jane Kennedy, to name a couple, pretty much showed me the light so-to-speak. No, they were not First Lady, but they had positions of power I would say. From that point on, it was clear to me what I really liked.

    Just because you have a big butt doesn’t mean you can’t acheive positions or power. And shaking it in a video is not something to be proud of in my opinion. But for the record, I didn’t vote for Barack because his wife was fine either. I admire and respect Michelle and it has nothing to do with her physical features. Her mind, heart, and spirit just happen to be wrapped in a very nice package… no disrespect intended.

  2. I am really enjoying your writings girl!

  3. Great article from Salon. To me everything about Michelle is perfect. That sister is my shero!

  4. Michelle Got a Big Ole Butt…Ok, now don’t get me wrong I am a black woman and I love, love, love my shape and have worked hard to maintain it. Beautiful coke-a-cola bottle shape with a lovely round package in the back. However, I will not be wearing leggings to a meeting at work. It seems to me what we fail to realize is that some women look very different in their clothes than others. White women look totally different in a pair of leggings than women of color. Their back sides are not as noticeable.

    A woman of colors rear is very…attractive. Even to white men, yes I said it white men, they are not blind to the booty, this is why white women are trying their best to get a little junk in their trunk these days. The reason why I am saying this is because I had a revelation yesterday at the mall. In my search for the perfect jean I found myself at Miss Sixty. Ladies when I say if you have curves and want a jean that will accentuate your assets, go to Miss Sixty. The price is not cheap but it will be the best money you have ever spent. Just looking at my backside in those jeans let me know that if I purchased them, I would not have a problem finding a date. My backside looked so gorgeous, mesmerizing and hypnotic that I could not believe I had all that behind me and could not keep my own eyes off my backside. So if a pair of jeans makes a black woman look like that, imagine a pair of leggings, at a board meeting!

    No matter what the caucasian ladies wear, we as women of color still have a responsibility to uphold the utmost respect for ourselves in the work place in our dress, work ethic and attitude. We do have curves and should not hide it because it is who we are and we are beautiful! We should wear our clothes the way they should be worn but also be mindful of the hypnotic presence that our rear ends give off.

    I saw a black lady in the hall the other day with a pair of leggings on. Her butt was so big that she made me stop, turn around and look. Shazam! Not cool.

  5. As the token representative of the Caucasian people on this blog, I feel I must once object to this sort of casual stereotyping. Some white girls have perfectly adequate booties.


    Well. Maybe not.

    Still thinking about that one…

    Just kidding!!! Great post. Michelle Obama is my hero too.

    ; )

  6. @DR, Thank goodness for women like Jayne Kennedy and Pam Grier because they did show me that “black is beautiful” when I had issues as a little girl! And words can’t describe how I feel about the Miss O!

    @KS, Thanks for your support!

    @Chicki, Michelle is a sheroe to me too!

    @TT, sometimes I’m so fine I can’t stand myself too:) Ima have to check out Miss Sixty…

    @Tess, don’t hate, congratulate! Just kidding! Just so you know other Caucasian people read this blog too. But you are my biggest Caucasian fan!!! And with just a few squats,you, too, can achieve the booty :)Just Kidding! I love you just the way you are!

    Again, y’all, this is all in fun! Please don’t take all of this too seriously!

  7. As a booty enthusiast, I feel that I should weigh in on this topic. =)

    But I don’t wanna look at Michelle that way; it’s like oogling my aunt or something.

    I am, however, happy that she represents a renaissance of the world’s acceptance of Black beauty.

    That is a beautiful thing indeed.

  8. I think First Lady Obama is a Beautiful woman. And also as a black man I wanted to encourage all the sistas that you all are beautiful and you were queens of nations centuries before this day and time. Sorry ladies… I guess you dont here that enough from us.

  9. @ Soul Daddy, “Booty enthusiast!” Very funny 🙂

    @ Unree Thompson, that’s really sweet! 🙂

    @ All the guys who commented on this post, thanks! I was thinkin’ this may be a topic of interest! 🙂

  10. […] have never been obese, but I have struggled with body image issues pretty much since I realized I had a body! I apologize to those who knew me from age 20-25, my […]

  11. Jacqueline: well said!!! Not just your comments about my piece, but your own story of struggle with your body, specifically your butt. Very honest and in a way heartbreaking. I went thru very much the same thing, though i’m technically a ‘high yella sistah’ — black neighborhood, white school, etc. I , too, wish I could go back and talk some confidence into my 8 year old self. I was naturally shy and reclusive, so the black image truama made things that much worse. These are very important stories that need to be out there.Bravo to you, keep on writing, and please keep in touch. I’m a fan.

    Btw, many many MANY black people have pretty much called me a race and gender traitor for writing this. I can deal with white backlash, but the black rejection is disappointing. So thanks for your letter, I needed it.

    Happy holidays

  12. […] written about my angst over my booty on this blog before and how it took me til I went to high school to love and appreciate my […]

  13. […] have never been obese, but I have struggled with body image issues pretty much since I realized I had a body! I apologize to those who knew me from age 20-25, my […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: