My Anaconda Don’t Give A %$#& What You Think About Nicki Minaj’s Butt Implants (Or Plastic Surgery In General)

All four of the women in my immediate family have had plastic surgery. One of us had a breast augmentation, one of us had a breast reduction. Two of us had our eyelids lifted. One of us had body contouring done, one of us had a necklift, one of us had surgery under her eyes, and one of us had fat injected into her hands. One of us gets Botox injections, and one of us has had tattoos removed. Hell, one of us worked in a plastic surgeon’s office for a decade.

So imagine my dismay whenever my boyfriend tells me that Nicki Minaj’s ass is weird or doesn’t look right because it’s “fake,” or that breast implants are gross. It’s not a big enough deal for me to get in a fight about it, but it rankles a little whenever men tell me — I can’t think of very many women I know who have never considered the possibility of plastic surgery — that there’s something inferior about a woman’s body because it’s been surgically “enhanced.” Guys, you’re talking about my family. We’re all beautiful. If I never said anything about it, you’d never know — but even if the surgery was obvious, it wouldn’t change the fact that it’s our right to self-determine how we look.

I get the argument that women who autonomously decide to get plastic surgery do it because we’ve internalized men’s aesthetic standards and are trying to soothe the cognitive dissonance that results from not “naturally” living up to them; the argument that says, “Oh, sugar, it’s not your fault that you’re so insecure, it’s the patriarchy that made you do this.” But take my family: None of us are stupid. None of us are unaware of feminist politics or the ridiculous demands on women to be light-skinned if we’re dark, bronzed if we’re pale, always blue-eyed, to have tiny waists and tiny thighs, to look young, to have perky breasts, to have thin and shapely noses.

But then, what does it say that every single one of us is, you know, stocky? That we’ve all chosen to undergo plastic surgery but none of us has an itty-bitty little waist, that we’re all big-thighed, that we all have embraced the proportionate levels of wrinkling that come along with our 40-year age spread? For that matter, what does it say that all of us dye our hair, that my sisters and I all have tattoos and piercings? What does it say that, yeah, Nicki Minaj got butt injections, but she got them within a culture that has always put a premium on curvy bodies — and not just as a beauty standard? (To some extent, I just DGAF what my white boyfriend or any white person thinks about the size of a black woman’s ass or why she’d want to make it bigger.)

I just don’t buy that cosmetic surgery is always the result of some kind of emotional weakness. Hell, to say that, you’d also have to argue that trans* people are weak or insecure for undergoing surgery rather than it being a matter of them making an empowered choice to live their lives presenting the way they want to, and go ahead and argue that, if you want to be an ignorant dick.

So why is it different for women (in particular) who choose to undergo cosmetic surgery? To me, the explanations provided both by those who revile women who go under the knife and those who pity us all boil down to the same old logic about how women think: We’re insecure, we’re weak, we’re dependent. Satan, I rebuke thee! I’m tired of that way of thinking and I know too well from my own experience, and my family’s, that most of the time it’s not a hysterical attempt to make boys like us but rather a matter of “sure, why not?”, or to experiment with with the way we present ourselves, or a matter of taking care of our bodies. Not always, but most.

And that’s all well beyond the fact that it’s no one’s damn business, anyway. Men, stop recoiling in horror over the fact that a woman didn’t ask for your thoughts before she got boobs or butt shots. I know the idea that women maybe — just maybe — ornament ourselves for our own sake and not for yours is offensive to your delicate sense of power, but you’re mistaken if you think that literally every woman cares what you think about the “naturalness” of our bodies.