Bootilicious August 6, 2007Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Beauty, Culture, Gender, Namibia.
“Sista, are you African?”
“No, I’m from the UK. I’m English”
“Ahh. I can see you are white and what-what, but your body, it is like an African, not a white person. Are you sure you are not African?”
Unlike back home, a big round bottom is highly appreciated here and the African women sure have them. And apparently so do I. For anyone who doesn’t know me personally, I am a comfortable UK size 10-12, 5’4”, with ample bust and “junk in ma trunk”. I have been the same shape for years, and even at my fittest and slimmest, I have always had a big bum, which caused me a fair amount of insecurity as a teen. But I have now learnt to be comfortable with and appreciate it. Living over here, I feel incredibly modest in the derriere department, pushing out any Western insecurities I may have about my shape.
It is hard not to notice an African woman’s behind. Some have even stopped me in my tracks. They are big, round and often disproportionately larger than their frame, like they have extra cushions shoved down the back of their trousers, and can cause you to leap for cover in the mall on a Pay Day weekend. Even the skinner girls have some weight kicking out from their lower back. I call them “Projectile Butts” as they are literally project out from a woman’s frame. As we’d say back home, “an arse you could rest a pint on”. Or an entire round of drinks.
And the women are so proud of them: the tighter the trouser or skirt the better; all the better for that hip-rolling strolling, leaving a trail of whooping guys in their wake. The correct answer to “Does my bum look big in this?” being “Hell yeah!!”
During a workshop I was on last week, I was amazed that almost every person on the workshop took time to come and point out that I was “made like an African”, and not like a skinny-ass shilumbu. One girl was even convinced that I have some African heritage in my blood to produce the form that I have today, which I am pretty sure I haven’t got. Four of the women even whipped open the shower curtain of the communal showers as I was washing to get a good look. “Just checkin’”, they whispered eyeing me up and down, before moving over to the mirrors to check their behinds, leaving me soap-sudded and astonished at such an intrusion.
For the girls, it is more curiosity, but for the men, their questioning is often just a way to justify their oggling over my bum. Some guys I know from the bar call me “Africa Butt”, and shout “Goodbye Africa” when I walk away, eyes glued to the back pockets of my jeans.
What I like about over here is that a curvy woman is properly appreciated; not called fat, lard-arse, chubby, cuddly. Breasts aren’t seen as objects of passion, but of necessity, for feeding one’s off-spring, and not an object to be gawped at or a discussion point for drunken lads on a stag do. Wide hips and a big round bum are a healthy sign of child-bearing ability. Being thin, on the other hand, is a sign of poverty or sickness, not glamour or style. Being fat is a sign of wealth. I’ve never bought into the Western pressures to be thin, as I’m fit and healthy just the way I am, I’m not overweight or fat and I mostly eat whatever I like. And if Western men are too fickle to understand that anorexial skinniness isn’t sexy, but is a serious health condition that can lead to infertility, at least I know a place where I know my booty is truly appreciated.