34-24-40. Those are the measurements that I go by and I am sure many others do too. Our body shape can be described as an hourglass figure in magazines, a Coca-Cola bottle by men or just simply “thick” by onlookers.

Those onlookers are something else, aren’t they? As we walk to go about our business, its become “normal” to be stared at, approached or even followed by admirers of this “coveted” body shape. And the attention is almost always sexual to the point that you’re presumed to be promiscuous or atleast “good in bed” if you’ve got a big butt. A voracious sexual appetite and curves just go hand-in-hand, don’t they?

And let’s not talk about finding clothes to fit your “exceptional” waist-to-hip ratio. No matter how popular curves are on the sidewalk and the stage, they’re still a rarity on the catwalk and in clothing stores. Get ready for the gap in the back of your jeans to be an ever-present, nagging reality. And don’t put on a pair of leggings unless you want the attention that comes with it.

In black and Latino communities, it seems like curves will always be in style. But that favor comes at a price. Being objectified in the media, on the streets and in our homes in the name of being “thick” is not as pleasurable as one would think. And that objectification has only gotten worse in recent years.

The fascination with curvy body types is now being embraced by wider audiences. Women without curves are seeking a number of methods including plastic surgery to look like video vixens, booty models and some shapely pop stars. But do they know what they’re getting into?

Don’t get me wrong. It feels great to be complimented and desired for a curvy shape but don’t ignore the objectification, (often) negative attention and fit problems that come with it.

Do you have curves? Have you experienced the downside to a shapely frame?

-Tunisia Z. Wilson

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  • Miss Lady

    We’ve got to adjust our culture. I’m shaped like a woman, but I don’t have no big ole booty, and Black men act as if I’m less than a woman because of that. I do have the luxury of not being sexualized all the time though. As long as the men in our community define our personhood in our figures, there will be a lose-lose situation.

  • Jane

    I’m glad I don’t have a big jiggly ass.