love yourself

Dear Big Booty | A Love Letter to My Most Prominent Feature | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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Dear Big Booty:  

In contrast to my breasts, which took their time to arrive (and did so with little fanfare), you showed up front - or should I say, *back* & center - early in the sixth grade, along with your sidekicks, wide hips and cellulite.  You sabotaged my aspirations of becoming a ballet dancer, and filled me with body image dysmorphia and self-doubt.  You had outgrown most clothes and the kids at school would tease that they could see you “hanging out” of my skirts despite my best efforts to cover up. Even my mom affectionately called you "BB" for "big butt" as a teenager.  (Et tu Brute, MOM?! )

While you're fun to shake on the dance floor, we both know life isn't always a Nikki Minaj video.  The low cut jeans of the early 2000s bordered on the obscene for me, offering a bulls-eye view of my undies (and more) when seated. In middle school I quite literally wore my mother's jeans, and my favorite accessory was a flannel shirt tired around my waist to block you from view (note from the current me: It was the 90s, so this look was somewhat acceptable at the time, and while I’d love to take credit for the mom jean trend, truth be told I wasn’t that cool or forward thinking.) By the time I was 15 I was on the receiving end of cat calls nearly every day. It was before the “Me Too” movement and I am ashamed to say I believed the unwanted attention you brought was inevitable because of my shape, and I accepted it as “just one of those things.”

When I got my first job, I realized I had to be careful not to look unintentially sexy at work.  Pencil skirts were a staple for co-workers, but boy did they push the boundaries of decency whenever they graced my rear.  There was even one summer when I was so fed up with the unwanted attention that I cloaked you in peasant dresses. But then... peasant dresses.  

I wish I could say I came to terms with you on my own, but it took 90s heroin chic ending and figure-hugging Versace dresses coming into fashion for me to accept my own apple bottom jeans. Somewhere between J. Lo and Beyonce, I started to realize that -- hold up -- a round butt was perhaps a GOOD thing. Or at the very least not something to regret. My college dance troupe celebrated my curves and we worked my shape into our choreography. Eventually those booty-shaking moves became my trademark and I got the courage to stop hiding you altogether.  It was truly life-changing to FINALLY accept my body as it was. Flat chest + little waist + big booty = ME (and I could work it).

As I grew my boudoir business, I took many self portraits to beef up my portfolio, and to this day, my favorite shots are those of my derrière. Do I still have cellulite?   Yes.  Do I wish I were one of the 10% of women out there who don't have cellulite? Sure I do.  But I've learned how to pose and use light to flatter my curves & make them look beautiful in photographs.

Now that I'm getting older, my bottom - while still strongly resembling a lower case "b" - is slightly less rotund, and frankly, I miss it!   And perhaps the most shocking revelation of all as I near the big 4-0: a bit of cellulite is fine!  We are women, a lot of us have it, and it doesn't take away from our beauty or power one bit, so long as you don’t let it. Your beauty isn’t tied to a few dimples here and there, the same way it isn’t tied to the number on the scale, or the numbers on your birth certificate (says the woman whose birthday is in six weeks!).

And so, Big Booty, while I don't need to accentuate you (you need no help from me there), I no longer want to minimize you either.  I embrace silhouettes that emphasize my waist (hello A-line skits and high waisted pants) and found a tailor who helps show off my assists while still leaving plenty of room to sit down.  You are a part of me, and I dare say that sometimes I even like some of the attention you bring my way.  It took me years, but my dewdrop shape finally has the love it deserves, and my overall self is so much better for that loving acceptance.

xoxo, Stephanie

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