Butts : A Backstory
But why? In Butts: A Backstory, reporter, essayist, and RadioLab contributing editor Heather Radke is determined to find out. Spanning nearly two centuries, this "whip-smart" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) cultural history takes us from the performance halls of 19th-century London to the aerobics studios of the 1980s, the music video set of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" and the mountains of Arizona, where every year humans and horses race in a feat of gluteal endurance. Along the way, she meets evolutionary biologists who study how butts first developed; models whose measurements have defined jean sizing for millions of women; and the fitness gurus who created fads like "Buns of Steel." She also examines the central importance of race through figures like Sarah Bartmann, once known as the "Venus Hottentot," Josephine Baker, Jennifer Lopez, and other women of color whose butts have been idolized, envied, and despised.
Part deep dive reportage, part personal journey, part cabinet of curiosities, Butts is an entertaining, illuminating, and thoughtful examination of why certain silhouettes come in and out of fashion-and how larger ideas about race, control, liberation, and power affect our most private feelings about ourselves and others.
Published: USA, 2023
ISBN 13: 9781982135485
ISBN 10: 1982135484
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Butts : A Backstory