I didn’t watch the Espy’s last night a.) because I don’t have cable, 2.) because I don’t even watch sports and III.) I’m pretty much over awards shows. But because I do frequent the Internet, there was no way I could miss the “buzz” about tennis champ Serena Williams at the ceremony. Or more accurately, Serena Williams’ ass.
The same thing happened last month when Free (former co-host of BET’s 106 & Park) showed up to the BET Awards in a form-fitting, sparkly dress. #FreesAss became a nationally trending topic on Twitter:
I cannot begin to tell you how uncomfortable this makes me. The comments made about Serena and Free weren’t even about me, but they made me cringe,cower and cover up sitting alone at my computer. As a Black woman with a big butt, this type of attention is the bane of my existence. No matter what I wear, whether it be long and loose or short and tight, some combination thereof or anywhere in between, it is impossible to hide my behind. I am Big Booty Judy and I come from a family of Big Booty Judy’s. All of the women in my family have junk in the trunk. We can’t help it…we were born this way. Full disclosure: I was thin as a rail until after I had my son in 1998. According to legend, in my family you don’t “fill out” until you turn 25 or have your second baby. I did both in the same year.
To have one’s body dissected, objectified and fetishized in such a manner is an absolutely despicable feeling. It’s like being molested by the words and attitudes of absolute strangers: the stares, the cat-calls and those bold S.O.B.’s that have gone as far as to reach out and touch me. I will never understand why people think it is ok to do this. It is sickening to be approached in an overtly sexually aggressive manner for no reason other than having a high, round ass. Having people comment one way or another on something you just can’t help, something as personal as YOUR BODY when you do nothing more than stand at a bar/attend award ceremonies/walk down the street is absolutely dehumanizing and degrading. I have gone through this so much in the last 13 years that I find myself actually apologizing for my own ass to people, being embarrassed by it and sitting down when I’d rather be standing. It’s not a compliment and it is not fun to be the world’s seemingly favorite sexual fetish. I just want to have a peaceful public existence in this body. Can I live??
And for those who would dare come through here and tell me “Oh, well…they knew what was gonna happen when they put on those dresses. They wanted the attention.” I would advise you to miss me with that bullshiggity. There is nothing you can wear to hide an ass like that. Serena is one of the greatest tennis players who has ever lived, black or white, male or female. I don’t recall seeing too many comments or posts about her athletic accomplishments after her appearance on the Espy’s, DESPITE it being a sports awards show. Where’s that kind of attention? I attended a panel discussion hosted by the Black Women’s Health Imperative in May here in DC, focusing on the sexual health of Black Girls. Free was one of the panelists and spoke so eloquently and strong about her dedication to bettering the lives of little Black Girls (as well as the street harassment she experienced as a young girl due to having the body she does). Where were all the people with their comments then? Oh.
Look, my point is this: can ya’ll just stop and consider that these asses that amaze you so much are attached to women with feelings, thoughts, talents and ideas? Can you remember that our bodies are our own and that there is a proper way to admire and compliment the beauty of a woman if you feel moved to do so?
“Unf. Dat ass!” ain’t it.