A few weeks ago there was a new girl in my Crossfit class. She had the “perfect” figure – small waist and a round Instagram-perfect butt. I am on Instagram a lot and I know what kind of a butt goes with #shesquats and gets a million likes – she had one of those.
There are so many seemingly fitness related hashtags on Instagram that bring up photos of butts. May I present exhibit a, b, c and d:
How much of this looks to be about fitness and strength? Well, Lauren Fisher on top right, obviously, but the rest??
I’ll let you ponder for a moment.
Strong glutes are very useful for running, lifting, jumping and sports in general, but a big round butt does not actually equal a strong butt. The new girl I mentioned could not squat a medicine ball, never mind an empty barbell. Her butt was pure genetics, yet she could have been all over social media hashtagging away in a way that makes girls think that you can ‘make’ a figure like that by squatting and lungeing and so on, and that it doesn’t matter what body type you have to begin with.
But it does matter what body type you have. Round butts are like thigh gaps or ‘toned’ slim upper arms or skinny waists – they exist on hourglass body types because of genetics and low body fat. Of course exercise helps, but compare a black or a Latino woman to a white non-hourglass figured white woman and you know what I’m talking about.
Super lean Crossfit girls do have nice butts as well, but they are generally not massive and these girls also have solid midriffs and solid thighs – they have a whole lot more muscles than just instabutts.
Thankfully I know I lot of women who love to lift heavy and do not do it to “work on their -insert peach emoji here-“. They lift because it feels awesome to be strong and they know that strong glutes help you move better, and help you run faster and longer.
This morning I listened to a Barbell Shrugged podcast called ‘How to add mass to dat ass’. I was hoping to hear something sensible but actually the guys just talked about how great big female butts are. A bit disappointing. This whole world’s gone to pot butt.
So what I can’t decide is this – Are butt photos empowering for women? Is it actually just the same thing as me posting pictures of my biceps and traps that I’m proud of? Am I just old and old-fashioned and jealous of instabutts? Is getting a larger/rounder butt really a strong enough motivation for some women to keep working out?