In the olden days they were prostitutes and porn stars, now they’re celebrities

What you need to know:

  • Ironically, 200 years after Baartman’s body was exhibited in London, Kim Kardashian, a white American woman with unusually large buttocks, voluntarily displayed her genitals in a magazine called The Paper.
  • For a brief moment in the 1960s and ’70s, feminists fought against this kind of commodification and objectification, but they were quickly subdued by male corporate interests, which put a value on women’s bodies and used them to promote their products.
  • How else can you explain the bizarre “socialite” phenomenon in Kenya where women with no talent and no education, but with huge bottoms, put their genitals on display on the Internet for the whole world to see?

In 1810, Saartjie Baartman, a black woman from the Eastern Cape in South Africa, was smuggled into London, where her naked body was put on display for four years.

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