At this point…a lot of us. Men and women alike have played their part in appropriating a “culo culture” which has officially come of age or, at least, intends on leaving a more lasting, influential imprint on mainstream media with the upcoming November release of the photography coffee table book CULO by Mazzucco. By having haughty hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine (whose been admiringly name-dropped by rappers in lyrics) associated with the book, it will surely garner more attention than many other pieces of art-centric items coming out in bookstores this fall. Moreover, in a classic strategy in order to stimulate projects on the horizon, it has already been met with both amused and derisive reactions—all with just a few frames of the book being released.
While the title of the book alone is a bit crude and downright outlandish, what really has some people talking about CULO is that it is an entire collection of photographs dedicated to the derriere. Raphael Mazzucco, the artist, shot models from around the world, and the results were clearly meant to arouse any blue-blooded male. However, when the announcement of the book was released along with the cover art, some members of the blogosphere’s black and feminist circles were quick to reprimand the book as being potentially disrespectful; it seemed to promise that women would once again be placed as only sexual objects, utterly cultivated for eye-candy pleasure.
Having seen a couple of images, in my humble opinion, they are still of a higher value than, say, anything you’ll find in Straight Stuntin’ magazine. While I thoroughly acknowledged the complaints of this latest hedonistic venture, as I was viewing the slideshow — from two of some of the most iconic, powerful men in music — my mind began to swiftly ponder.
Over 12 years after Jennifer Lopez made a Bronx-girl-done-good splash in Hollywood as a beautiful, but non-stick-figure actress, and video girls suddenly found more widespread appreciation on the cover of men’s magazines and VH1 specials documenting a day in the life as a “hip-hop honey,” who’s really to blame for perpetuating this “culo” culture?
What exactly is so insulting about a book about asses that we haven’t seen before?
I got to thinking about this after reading comments that meant well in defending women and morals, but were expected, based upon the condition of the book. Men may be the googly-eyed, hard-bodied culprits of this gender war meets fervent sexual contagion of the mind, but I couldn’t help but ask, as women, have some us actually acquiesced to “culo” culture?
Since video models like Melyssa Ford blew up, followed by no-talent celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Amber Rose bumrushing the spotlight (not to mention the popularity of butt implants and pop stars flaunting their goodies with no shame), could it be that all of these uber-coequettish influences for women are just as much to “blame” for this book existing as the three aforementioned men?
The backside has taken over breasts as being the most ogled and appealing part of the female body for quite some time now, and with books like CULO being published, it suggests that countless women (young and older) remain tied to the commitment and pressure of keeping up with beauty standards — whether archaic, over the top, or chosen for us. It’s not because they, or we, are naïve or obtuse in the head. We just want to be considered beautiful and desirable, which is just another bullet point on the list for women attempting to be and have it all. Who are the leaders of this “culo” culture and what are the current pop cultural stems attached to its come up?
“Blame” may be a strong word to use here, but honestly, maybe Diddy and company aren’t entirely the only ones we should be nuzzling our chins towards with a furrowed brow. Let’s have a little faith that much of the photography inside the book will contain a bit of a gorgeous aesthetic, yet the arising issues–is it art or objectification–that immediately surrounded CULO are nothing new.