The Politics of Buttocks

The Thrill Of Bralessness

From academia’s Clown Quarter, rumblings of radical import:

Gender and Women’s Studies Professor Sami Schalk suggested she may cease wearing a bra to work, citing, among other things, male “policing” of women’s bodies. “I don’t want to wear a bra to work,” Schalk said on Twitter. “It’s harder on my body & expensive AF.”

Nothing signals gravitas quite like a juvenile abbreviation for the words as fuck.

“All so [sic] some students think my tits don’t sag or don’t know I have nipples? Why?! As person with large breasts my body has always been heavily policed bc of how other people, mostly men, respond to it.”

An educator, remember. A shaper of young minds.

Schalk has gained notoriety on the UW-Madison campus for her outspoken opinions ranging from twerking to anti-police rioting. In 2019, wearing a cape that declared “I AM 100% THAT BITCH,” Schalk twerked with rapper Lizzo at a Madison show. In a column at Vox, she declared it “an act of political defiance.”

And a grown woman.

The event in question, this act of political defiance, and preparations for it, can be witnessed here

“When Lizzo joined in, booty to booty — my butt blessed — it was pure Black Girl Magic,” she recalled.

When not exulting in her blessed buttocks and their magic blackness, or sharing boudoir photoshoots, or referring to the police as “fucking pigs,” Dr Schalk offers snacks and advice to rioters and arsonists, including reminders not to video each other while indulging in said rioting and acts of arson, as this may be incriminating and result in consequences, and subsequently harsh the buzz of being so terribly radical.

Recently, Schalk has focused on her right to be freed from the constraints of clothing and undergarments. When one Twitter [user] counselled that it was okay to occasionally “show some ass,” Schalk heartily agreed. “My ass is great,” she responded. “Sometimes I like to share it with the world.”

American readers will doubtless find comfort in this use of their tax dollars. $102,000 per year, or thereabouts.

But hey, bras are expensive as fuck.

Reheated (60)

For newcomers, more items from the archives:

Artists For Gaia

Our betters sail north at taxpayer expense. Gas is released courageously.

Such was the level of inspiration, some of the assembled artists began to work their creative magic immediately: “Tracy Rowledge constructed three series of ‘automated’ physical drawings, mapping the movement of the boat during the expedition.” For readers of a technical inclination, these ‘automated’ drawings involved suspending a felt-tip pen from the underside of a chair, resulting in random scribble on numerous sheets of paper positioned underneath. This feat was “REALLY exciting,” we learn, as it “explored movement, time, place and permanence.” The radical innovation also freed the artist to leave the dangling pen and do something more interesting. According to her two brief blog entries, the sum total of her commentary, Ms Rowledge spent much of this liberated time struggling with Greenlandic place names and making sure her fellow passengers knew how “overwhelmed” she was. 

I Don’t Deserve This Shabby Treatment

On the routine vainglory of the academic left.

Professor Surber’s self-regard continues to tumesce. He has fathomed all of history and it validates him. Liberal-arts professors tend to be leftwing, we’re told, “because we liberal-arts professors... have carefully studied the actual dynamics of history and culture; and we have trained ourselves to think in complex, nuanced, and productive ways.” In short, if you haven’t reached a similarly leftwing conclusion, then you haven’t achieved sufficient complexity and nuance in your thinking, you peasant. Luckily, we can count on Professor Surber and his peers to guide us to the light, such is their benign magnificence. They may be cruelly underappreciated, but by God they’re better than us and they will save us from ourselves.

You’ll Notice They All Wear Shoes.

The unhappy sights at San Francisco’s 2012 radical nude-in:

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Big Ambitions

For those who missed it in the comments:

While fat activism has disrupted many dominant discourses that causally contribute to negative judgments about fat bodies, it has not yet penetrated the realm of competitive bodybuilding. 

Savour that sentence. Let it roll around your mind.

According to its author, Richard Baldwin, fat bodybuilding should be a thing that exists. Specifically, “a fat-inclusive politicised performance… embedded within bodybuilding,” in which the “assumptions” and standards of the sport would be “destabilised,” with the result that “everyone” can be “taken seriously,” regardless of their girth and athleticism. Competitors, we’re told, would “showcase fat through poses… that display fat in a body-positive way,” while wearing whatever commodious garments are deemed to enhance the, um, aesthetics of their gyrations. And hey, showcasing fat is what sport’s all about. 

It takes time to make a fat body. It takes even more time to make a politicised fat body. This is precisely the message fat bodybuilding should convey: the fat body is a body built by time and work and deserves to be respected.

These are the dizzy heights of Fat Studies scholarship.  

Unlike Mr Baldwin, I make no claim to being “dedicated to fighting oppression and promoting social justice,” but actually, it occurs to me that a fat body, by which the author seems to mean an ostentatiously obese one, is quite easy to arrive at, as it generally involves the abandonment of self-denial, succumbing to temptation by default, and a tendency to shun any avoidable exertion. Basically, torpidity and a lack of care. A point somewhat underlined by the unremarkable fact that the number of fat people exceeds by orders of magnitude the number of bodybuilders.

Via Darleen

Penetrating Insights

Lifted from the comments, another visit to academia’s Clown Quarter, where issues of deep and pressing import are probed good and hard:

In turning attention to this understudied and overdetermining space — the black anus — “Black Anality” considers the racial meanings produced in pornographic texts that insistently return to the black female anus as a critical site of pleasure, peril, and curiosity.

Hey, I’m just reading what it says here

And in other, entirely unrelated news

82 percent of articles published in the humanities are not even cited once. Of those articles that are cited, only 20 percent have actually been read. Half of academic papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, peer reviewers, and journal editors.

A mystery, it really is.

Behold his Radical Buttocks

This just in

On August 21, the world’s first official, naked public performance art festival will occur in the streets of Biel, Switzerland, featuring projects from 18 international artists. 

Local artist Thomas Zollinger has organised a two-day display of self-imagined transgression, during which he and his fellow artists will “increase beyond gallery walls the presence of the naked body as an artistic medium,” and will “explore the possibilities of the naked body in the urban space.” But sadly, not in the way that people with particular tastes might actually want to pay for. Instead, “nakedness is employed as a sculptural element in dialogue with the architectural environment, ground structures and pedestrian traffic.”

Be still my girlish heart.

Given the lack of pornographic appeal, and with it a lack of public interest, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some funding issues have arisen:

Although Biel’s culture office and other institutions helped fund over half the festival’s cost, the organisers are seeking donations online to cover artists’ lodgings, security measures, and other expenses. Incentives to contribute include options to participate in a nude performance of one’s choosing: for 111.55 CHF (~$127 USD), one may partake in “Naked Audience,” which involves stripping and sitting on a chair on a sidewalk while watching pedestrians; 280 CHF (~$290 USD) earns one an invitation to a “Naked Lunch” during which a series of “creative activities” will unfold.

Oh don’t pretend you’re not tempted.

Mr Zollinger’s earlier forays into Incredibly Daring Nude Performance Art™ can be beheld at length here. Where, for instance, you’ll find a seven-minute piece titled Naked UFO, also staged in Biel, in which members of the public cope quite well with the Incredibly Daring Nude Performance Art™ - a composure that rather deflates the ostentatious claims of transgression and taboo, and the alleged “challenge and confrontation of the naked body.” A handful of people wait around looking slightly puzzled, possibly hoping that something interesting will happen, eventually. Two children look amused before wandering off to be amused by something else. And for the most part passers-by pass on by, their minds somehow unshattered by the Incredibly Daring Nudeness™ of it all.  

Hey, Franklin found it

The Wrong Colour Buttocks

A Guardian headline brings to light another pressing issue for its readers to fret about:

Why does a black butt only look good in white skin?

Our fearless interrogator, our prober of deep mystery, is Yomi Adegoke, who tells us that she “writes about race, popular culture and intersectional feminism.” Heavens, what a surprise. It’s not Ms Adegoke’s only question, though. She has more:

So the attributes that black women have so long been shamed for have finally been given the… seal of approval due to a new Aryan aesthetic?

Oh my. An Aryan aesthetic. She went there, being so fearless.

Ms Adegoke’s article is at times hard to follow and extrapolates a little too wildly from things that someone said on Twitter. It isn’t without its gems, however – candidates for our ongoing series of classic Guardian sentences. Among them, this:

The black female body is still played for laughs as butt prosthetics become the new blackface.

From what I can make out, our indignant Guardianista is upset that some white female celebrities have been happily drawing attention to their fulsome hindquarters, which are, it seems, the latest must-have fashion item among the suggestible and insecure. No, I hadn’t noticed. Possibly on account of my total lack of interest in MTV and celebrity tattle magazines. But apparently it’s a thing, the hugeness of one’s arse. And this pride in ample buttocks simply will not do. Not when ladies of pallor are the ones doing it:

White women popularising what black women have always had is the latest example of the mainstream media’s cultural appropriation… The era of the big booty has neither started nor ever stopped for black women… Despite what the mainstream media told us, black women never stopped aspiring to possess the curves society so hated.

It turns out that the well-upholstered rear has been “appropriated” in “a world where white is right.” Two ladies named Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, possibly pop artistes, have been,

using huge novelty bottoms as performance props in a bid to appear contemporary and comedic while accessorising the black aesthetic.

A pop cultural detail that had hitherto, and regrettably, escaped my notice. Doubtless all pale women, being so determined to appropriate and oppress, will soon be turning up to work with huge foam bottoms attached to their person. And according to Ms Adegoke, larger than average buttocks are a “part of black culture” - a part that is “now deemed good enough to gain a level of mass respectability after getting a belated thumbs-up from white society.”

You heard her. Thumbs-up or not, big buttocks are black culture. So you white folk mustn’t pinch them.

Update, via the comments: 

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