“Prepare audience for maximum impact,” Jennifer Lopez teases, or maybe warns, before leaning over and bouncing her bottom for the next four minutes and 17 seconds in the music video for “Booty.” J. Lo, girl, we’re prepared. In fact, we’re desensitized. We might even be over it.
I swear, if I see one more butt…
Yes, butts are having a moment. Well, maybe butts have already had their moment. It has been a month where no one could stop talking about butts. First Nicki Minaj released the ass-tastic music video for “Anaconda,” generating water cooler chat about the video, butts, and what it all means. Then Vogue published an article titled “We’re Officially in the Era of the Big Booty.” Then the Internet collectively ridiculed Vogue for said article. The New York Times Style section ran a big feature on butts this week, which is how you know butts are having a moment and also how you know that moment is over.
And in the wake of that, riding the crest of butt fatigue, Jennifer Lopez is releasing a brand new music video for the remix of song “Booty” with Iggy Azalea. There’s almost a little bit of irony in the fact that J. Lo—she of the derriere so divine that she had a $27 million insurance policy on it, she of the rear end that might be responsible for this whole thing—is now the one beating the dead horse. Well, beating the dead horse’s ass.
The video is sexy, I guess. It is basically Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea and a bevy of anonymous beauties somnambulantly grinding in various locations, intent on one thing: making you look at their butts. The song is silly and ridiculous and catchy and fun. Really, it’s just Jennifer Lopez saying “booty” a lot. The video? Well it is just faithfully illustrating those lyrics.
Some are calling it pop porn. Some are calling it provocative. Some are calling it exploitative. Some are calling it empowering. But, at this point, it’s kind of just boring.
It’s so blatant and blunt that it makes Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” look like high art.
When Nicki Minaj released her “Anaconda” music video, the blatant booty was meant to spark a conversation. Several conversations, actually. One is the obvious one: Minaj wanted people to talk about the jarring amount of butts in her video as a way of merely generating buzz around her new song. That worked.
The other conversation is a bit more nuanced. A little about equal-opportunity sexual exploitation and little about empowerment, Minaj’s video is a message that women should be unabashed about their NSFW desires, unabashed about flaunting their bodies—especially if they’re not a size zero—and unabashed about craving attention and demanding respect not just in spite of it all, but because of it all.
There are debates to be had about whether or not Minaj is responsible about how she’s going about starting these conversations and how successful she is at make these points—considering that, for the most part, people are just talking about her butt—but it’s admirable and maybe even important that she’s trying to do it at all. Butts for a good cause, I guess.
As for Lopez’s “Booty.” It’s just butts. Butts butts butts.
To be fair, it’s not as if one should have expected anything different from a Jennifer Lopez music video entitled “Booty.” And Lopez looks astonishing and amazing in the video. And maybe there was an intended campiness that was supposed to accompany the aggressive titillation that we’re missing. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with a Jennifer Lopez video that is just incessant butts in the first place.
But we’re in an age, god help us, when booties should mean something, where mere objectification is no longer adequate. Because butts for the sake of butts? We’re tired of them. At least I am. And if I am then you probably are, too. Because I really love butts. I’m just tired of pop culture being assaulted by them.