I’ve never been much of a gambler but when I do give in to temptation, I only make safe bets. It seems, however, that once-sure bets are no longer so. Just a few months ago, for example, one could safely have wagered that Cameroon would win the African Cup of Nations and that a Black man would never become a serious contender for the presidency of the United States. Similarly, before today, I would have confidently bet that a West African woman would never pay good money to make her rump bigger. Good thing I never had to make such a bet because, according to the BBC, I would have lost big. Thanks to a new dance craze in Côte d’Ivoire, it seems that some Ivorian women are now using chemical means to increase what their mamas gave them.
The glorification of the female posterior in popular culture is nothing new. Since 1978, when the English rock band Queen informed the world that fat-bottomed girls make the rocking world go round, much artistic talent has gone into lionizing women’s behinds, with the likes of 2 Live Crew and Sir Mix-a-Lot gaining national fame for their videos and lyrics on the subject. Rising to the demands of our butt-obsessed culture, many well-endowed female entertainers have successfully capitalized on their asse[t]s. J-Lo is almost as famous for her prominent (and reputedly insured) posterior as she is for her singing and acting, while Shakira, in addition to her genuine talents as a singer and songwriter, has achieved near-legendary status for her ability to gyrate her rear end. In some cases, a prominent posterior can even compensate for a total lack of artistic talent, as evidenced by Kim Kardashian, whose celebrity appears to rest solely on her prodigious—and allegedly surgically enhanced—backside.
I was therefore not surprised to learn that West Africa, the spiritual homeland of posterior worship, has contributed further to ass appreciation in the form of a new dance called the Bobaraba—which means “big bottom” in the Djoula language of Côte d’Ivoire. What is surprising is that some Ivorian women, apparently dissatisfied with the butts God gave them, are buying enhancements from local markets. These chemical enhancements go for the equivalent of $2.00 and are available as an injectable liquid and as a cream. Besides the fact that $2.00 could be spent on a host of more important things in Côte d’Ivoire, as anywhere, the treatments—whose active ingredient is identified as Vitamin B12—have not been endorsed by the Ministry of Health, and some local medical professionals have expressed skepticism about the safety or efficacy of the medication.
It’s sad that some people will seize any opportunity to capitalize on other people’s insecurities. It’s even sadder that exogenous beauty standards can so erode some women’s self-esteem that they would spend money on dubious and possibly risky beauty enhancements. After all, this is not the first time that artificial body enhancements have appeared on market stalls in that part of the world. For years, skin-lightening and hair-straightening treatments have been top sellers throughout West Africa, especially in francophone countries. Thankfully, some of the women interviewed for the BBC story are perfectly happy with their natural behinds. Which is great, because if Ivorian women are built anything like Sierra Leonean women, they’ve got nothing to worry about. Hopefully the bottom-enhancement fad will soon be a thing of the past.
With the way things are going, I calculate that it’s only a matter of time before someone invents a dance for men with huge bellies. After all, guys with prominent anteriors deserve the right to proudly jiggle something on the dance floor. Any day now.
In the meantime, I’ll keep “training” for that inevitable day. Phew! Is it time for another beer already?
Thanks to A for sending the link that inspired this post.