Photo Credit: courtesy of Whole Lotta Love
There’s no shortage of songs dedicated to women’s body parts. Shakira’s hips don’t lie. Sir Mix-a-Lot likes big butts. ZZ Top knows a woman with some serious legs. (Confession: I asked to be announced at my little brother’s 1992 Bar Mitzvah with this last song playing in the background as I made my grand entrance.)
But why fetishize a single body part when you can celebrate a woman’s entire body? That’s what’s happening with WHOLE LOTTA LOVE: An All-Star Salute To Fat Chicks tribute album, being released August 31. According to the endeavor’s MySpace page (I hope this doesn’t mean the album will be coming out on cassette tape? Get a Facebook page!), the album "is a musical homage to the big, beautiful women who make the rockin' world go 'round" and "will feature all-new recordings of popular songs praising the fuller female figure, originally made famous by some of the biggest names in rock and pop music. These anthems to abundance will be performed by renowned rock & rollers from yesterday and today, along with a select few rising stars." So far, Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls, AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie, Poison’s Unskinny Bop and Spinal Tap’s Big Bottom will be recreated, among others.
Lest you think the project is being handled solely by scrawny men in black skinny jeans, bandanas and sunglasses, all vocals are being coordinated by newcomer Celisa Stratton, a 6'2", 400 plus pound "supersized songstress." "Since this is a salute to fat chicks, my intention was to make the song sound FAT," she says. "So I changed the key and utilized my full vocal range to create a whole new version of the song. Hopefully in listening to this track, people will see the point of view of a proud fat woman who has a whole lotta love to give."
I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this project. It would seem the goal is to celebrate plus-sized women, but it almost seems like it’s becoming farcical. At what point does a tribute go from honoring to mocking or condescending. I’m not plus-sized myself, so I can’t say. But let’s say a bunch of musicians got together and started making songs about how much they love cankles (which I DO have). Singers were remaking Stand by REM and my beloved Legs by ZZ Top. I’d have a hard time believing Anklepalooza’s orchestrators were being honest and not ridiculing me. Granted, there isn’t a big cankle acceptance movement going on right now like there is with people embracing curves, but calling women "fat" still has a negative connotation.
With that in mind, here’s a surprisingly long list of feel-good songs for curvy women – or any woman, for that matter:
"Big Girls (You Are Beautiful)" by Mika
"Fat Bottomed Girls" by Queen
"Brick House"by The Commodores
"Bootylicious" by Beyonce
"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera
"Big Ole Butt" by LL Cool J
"Legs" by ZZ Top
"Video" by India Arie
"Get Off" by Prince
"Unskinny Bop" by Poison
What's your favorite body image-boosting song? Chime in below.