Dear Vogue,

You recently published an article titled “We’re Officially in the Era of the Big Booty” by Partricia Garcia. You’d think, as a big-bootied woman, that I might greet this article with open arms, support, excitement, and a sigh of relief, but you’d be wrong. So wrong. I hated your article.

For women like me, acceptance of a big booty is not a fad isolated to a singular era. Big butts are not bell-bottoms, nor are they grungy flannels, overalls, skinny jeans, or any other fashion trend that comes and goes with the seasons. Girls with big asses can’t ditch them as soon as they go out of style. Our asses are our bodies, not an accessory. I did not see a big ass on the runway at New York Fashion Week and run out to the nearest Forever 21 to get a knock off so that I could be hip and cool and current. I was born with this ass. The time I have spent and will spend with my ass is not limited to an era. My ass is me, it always has been, and it always will be.

Identifying big asses as something that is currently on trend disgusts me, and your statement “a large butt was, [in the past] not something one aspired to, rather something one tried to tame in countless exercise classes” is a blanket statement that makes me want to punch you in the face. How many big-assed women did you interview to come to that conclusion? Where are they from and what are their backgrounds like? I was 12 years old the first time I realized my ass was extraordinarily large. I was handing back essays in my 7th grade English class, walking up and down the narrow aisles of desks. I turned a 180 to hand a paper to a student I had already walked passed and in doing so I knocked another student’s binder off his desk with my ass. Kids laughed and made jokes. I shrugged and went about my business. This experience could have sent me down an adolescent hormone fueled downward spiral of distorted body image, self-hatred, and eating disorders, but it didn’t. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I have never once aspired to have any ass other than the one I was born with, and I have never once tried to “tame” my ass with exercise. Did you interview me, or women like me, before you wrote your article? I was made aware of the size of my ass almost 20 years ago, and we’ve been BFFs ever since because it is me and I love me and society’s collective idea of what beauty is and isn’t is of no interest to me and never has been. Did you consider this perspective at all?

Your article references famous curvy women in an attempt to, I assume, subconsciously tell your readers that celebrities are paving the way for ass acceptance with catchy songs like “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child and that we commoners should follow suit. You try to valiantly challenge mainstream society through song, asking, “Can you handle it?” What I think you’ve missed is the opportunity not to ask society if it can handle a big ass as a new idea of beauty when it’s been conditioned to reject certain body types in favor of others, but instead to ask if society can handle the woman attached to the ass. My ass does nothing particularly worthy, simply by existing. It doesn’t contribute to society in any way. But my ass is a physical symbol of my strength, and I use that strength to help my friends move, to support my legs during walks to end Alzheimer’s, and to swim fellow river-goers’ rafts back out to the current when they’ve gone off course and gotten stuck on rocks. My physical strength empowers my spirit. My physical strength is what I use as a foundation for emotional strength. I use the power derived from my big ass to propel myself mentally and spiritually and I am fierce. I am force to be reckoned with. Vogue, Ms. Garcia, next time, can you ask society if it is ready for that?

“We’re Officially in the Era of the Big Booty” is well intentioned, sure, but is misguided and does more harm to women with big asses than good. Your article talks about Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez, who I love, but who are only a tiny sample of big-bootied women in the public eye, and who, unfortunately, use their asses as a means of sexualizing women. Have you ever had attention drawn to a part of your body that you have no control over? Let me assure you, I do not want society hyper-sexualizing me, and women like Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez covering themselves with what appears to be buckets and buckets of clear L.A Looks hair gel and seductively rubbing it all over their bodies reinforces the idea that women want their bodies objectified and want the associated attention that comes with objectification. Have you ever been told, as you leave the grocery store, that you’re going to start an earthquake walking around with all that booty? I have. Are you a white woman and have you ever been asked why you’re built like you’re black? I am, and I have, and all I could think to say was “I’m built like me.” Have you ever been asked how you fit into your jeans? The list goes on, and none of it is awesome. Please stop perpetuating this attitude with your articles.

I think I’ve said all I have to say to you, Vogue and Ms. Garcia, but I’d like to leave you with these words from Nike, who celebrate big booties in a way that I support (in an ad that ran four years ago, mind you, so technically you’re late to the Big-Booty Party):

“My butt is big and round like the letter C, and ten thousand lunges have made it bigger, but not smaller, and that’s just fine. It’s a space heater for my side of the bed. It’s my ambassador to those who walk behind me. It’s a border collie that herds skinny women away from the best deals at clothing sales. My butt is big and that’s just fine.”

Stephanie Slinkard