chapter  19
12 Pages

Hottentot 2000 Jennifer Lopez and Her Butt

One need not have seen all or even part of the 2000 Grammy Awards show to have heard about Jennifer Lopez and "The Dress." Hot off Donatella Versace's pret-a-porter line, it was a sea-green, see-through chiffon splash of a tropical leaf pattern, of which all $10,000 worth draped gracefully to the floor. It had a daringly low-cut V neck that extended several inches below her navel, where it barely fastened with a sparkly brooch, and then opened out again, exposing all of her legs. Thus, the popular Puerto Rican celebrity announced the first award of the evening, standing nearly naked in what some have called a "glorified bathrobe." Yet even in an industry in which most starlets show off their bodies in random states of undress, Lopez caused a sensation like no other. Indeed, "the Versace dress caused stunned chatter because of what it threatened to reveal: a womanly body of breathtaking proportions."]

What is not at all stunning is that so much attention should be focused on Lopez and her body. Since the beginning of her career, journalists have filled magazine and newspaper articles with references to, and puns on, the word "butt." Interestingly enough, what rarely receives mention is her race; when it is noted, it is from a distance, as in "Jennifer Lopez, of Puerto Rican descent' or "whose parents are from Puerto Rico." No one seems to be able to say, "Jennifer Lopez is

Puerto Rican." Instead, what we read is along the lines of "Jennifer Lopez, whose spectacular ass juts out as expressively as her swollen mouth, is terrific."2