Blake Lively has been making the press rounds for new movies, and while she was at Cannes she posted the below photo with the caption “L.A. face with an Oakland booty” that caused quite the controversy. As a curvy black woman, I didn’t appreciate the comment but I get why someone like Blake Lively would feel like her words were humorous and not harmful. And there’s really no convenient time for a white woman to use women of color’s body parts as a punchline—especially when they are continuously appropriated in media.
Obviously some fans agreed with her, and some of her fans felt it was inappropriate—noting that making light of having a butt isn’t funny, and that people get made fun of and mistreated for those kinds of things, not mention its slightly insensitive racial overtones.
She told SiriusXM today, “It’s something I was proud of. I never meant to offend anyone. But Sir Mix-A-Lot, he actually said a very nice thing, he was very defensive and kind, because it’s just about celebrating women’s bodies, and that’s what I was doing. I would never want to hurt anyone’s feelings or upset anyone. I was celebrating my body…it’s nice to have a nice curve and not look like you’re starving to death.”
And while Lively may think that talking about body image in a joking manner is celebrating the diversity of women, I beg to differ. In Hollywood of course there are a plethora of women who go to extreme lengths to fit into sample sizes, but women, especially women of color don’t find it funny to poke fun at something they naturally have that women pay thousands of dollars for.