The Effects of JLo’s Butt
|1998 Entertainment Weekly cover|
There is no question that Jennifer Lopez is one of the sexiest women in Hollywood. But what is it that makes her so beautiful? Is it her personality? Her talent? Her charm? Hardly. In fact, as we have learned throughout countless class discussions and readings, it is her body — more specifically her butt — that has garnered her fame. In many ways, JLo’s gluteus Maximus is more famous than she is — she even devoted a whole song to the body part that defines her as the bodacious and sexualized Latina that she is today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxtIRArhVD4). Sure, Jenny from the Block wasn’t always known for her derrière, but that is what makes this fact so surprising. Celebrities are constantly being judged, manifested and recreated to fit an image, a profile and a stereotype — bring in the race and gender card and you have a concoction so toxic that people stop seeing the person and start viewing objects.
Latinas and African American throughout popular media are known for their seductive, sensual qualities and, like Sofía Vergara and Jennifer Lopez, are known for their bodies and not necessarily their talent. Because of her ethnic background, Vergara is constantly being appropriated to fulfill certain roles and stereotypes — her accent is exploited, clothing choices to accentuate the signature Latina figure that is revered by women everywhere. However, JLo is the exception to the rule. Her popularity has allowed her to crossover into “white” Hollywood and around the world.
JLo’s popularity represents so much more than the rags to riches story of Jenny from the Block (Bronx). Her beauty has reset a standard for what beauty is in Hollywood — curves are now more popular than the emaciated stick figure look that has taken so many teen girl lives; JLo has also set an ideal Latina look book for Latinas — to be attractive, one must maintain a small waist and a large posterior. Unfortunately, this sets an unattainable standard for women that may not have a similar genetic body structure. In the Beltrán reading, she says, “Latinas in the U.S. don’t necessarily buy into white American cultural standards that pose that women should strive to be model-thin. Although young, acculturated Latinas increasingly internalize conflicting ideals, traditional Latino cultures often tend to consider women most beautiful with some weight on their bones, which connotes health, inner peace, and success.” I think it is important to not that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes and though JLo supports this, no one can beat her flawless glam.