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big butts and i cannot lie.
giving you the j-lowdown
by matt morin
pop culture

America is famous for, well, making things famous. We’ve made Oprah, boy bands, and any actor who has ever appeared on Hollywood Squares into celebrities despite the lack of any identifiable talent whatsoever. Monica Lewinsky became famous just by blowing someone. And Ryan Seacrest and Keanu Reeves are famous because we’re all sure they blew someone to get where they are as well. And Madonna stays famous by…hell, I’m not even sure why she’s famous anymore. Unless you really think her line of Gap jeans will take off, she hasn’t done anything noteworthy in at least a decade. But out of all the head-shaking icons to grace the cover of US Magazine or E! there’s one I just simply don’t understand.

Will someone please explain J-Lo’s ass?

Pamela Anderson has the breasts. Jennifer Garner has the legs, and they’re wonderful, wonderful things, let me tell you. And Britney has the stomach. However, no celebrity since Dolly Parton and her 42 double Ds has successfully raised a body part to iconic status quite like Jennifer Lopez.

As a purely sociological experiment, try this the next time you’re out with a group of guys: Mention you happened upon the E! Entertainment Channel special about Jennifer Lopez. Then step back and watch them oooh and aaah as they conjure up mental images of her bulbous behind. It’s an almost universal reaction falling somewhere on the scale between Pavlovian and pornographic.

Somewhere right now P. Diddy is crying into his Denver Nuggets throwback jersey and Ben Affleck is grinning like the Cheshire Cat with a scotch and soda in hand.

Personally, I don’t get it. At all.

J-Lo herself, as well as her ass, does nothing for me. Her butt isn’t hot. It’s just…big. You want to know where you see butts like that? Any Kentucky Fried Chicken in the country. Or go rent B.A.P.S. Seriously, you put her rear end on a 43-year-old mother of two from Dallas and you don’t have a $15 million-per-picture diva. You have a beauty salon manicurist considering liposuction. As a matter of fact, the only thing remarkable about Jennifer’s derriere is the staggering amount of attention paid to it.

Type “Jennifer Lopez Ass” into Google and you’ll get 106,000 hits. Try “Rwandan Genocide” and you’ll get 38,900.

Think about that for a second. Ok, now be disgusted.

Last year the New York Post reported that Lopez insured her body for $1 billion, with each cheek getting $200 million. She’s definitely not the first (or the last) celebrity or sports star to insure her body for a ridiculous sum of money. But that means we now live in a world where, if Jenny from the block happens to suffer some tragic rump disfigurement, she’ll receive a check for more than the yearly GNP of Liberia.

Think about that for a second. Ok, now be disgusted.

J-Lo, for her part, certainly plays up her assets. I'm not terribly well-versed in J-Lo videos, but does she have a single one where she’s not on all fours, back arched, gluteus massivus pointed towards the camera? Her current Flashdance recreation features more shots of asses than a presidential cabinet meeting. Even back in the “Selena” days her butt was what she flaunted. Every other shot in that movie is low angle and from behind – in other words, it’s the same angle Ben probably sees every night. One review for her movie “Maid in Manhattan” said, “J-Lo’s butt is the only thing of interest.” However I guess when you have no other real talent, you simply turn the other cheek, crank up the hype machine, and give your fans what they want.

And what they want indeed. Buttock implants are now the “in” thing, with plastic surgeons reporting 10,000 more implants this year than last. I’m just making a wild guess that people aren’t getting them so they can look like Kelly Osbourne. Many companies are now making padded butt inserts so you can instantly have that junk in the trunk look. She’s created the worst case of sexual false advertising since the Wonderbra.

J-Lo has become the poster girl for The Year of the Booty. But despite plenty of rump shaking by the likes of Britney, Shakira, Christina, Beyonce and Mya, Jennifer is easily the biggest of the bunch, both literally and figuratively. However with Hollywood’s hot-today-not-tomorrow attitude, J-Lo’s seat of power may be slipping. A recent eDiets.com survey had Jennifer Aniston beating out Jennifer Lopez for the best butt in Hollywood 46% to 45%. Take that poll as you will, knowing that 7% of eDiets’ readers are on crack. (They voted for Oprah.) 1% even voted for Calista Flockheart, whose ass is so flat and lifeless it looks like a graph of Harrison Ford’s career over the past decade.

I’ll pass on all of the above, thank you. Give me Kylie Minogue’s money maker every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Maybe Lopez herself is even starting to reconsider this ass-backwards approach to her career. For the poster for her new movie Gigli, she insisted that her seat filler be digitally retouched and slimmed down. Apparently, even in Hollywood, sometimes bigger isn’t always better.

Bottom line – it’s kind of sad that her ass is what she’ll always be known for. Her bootie has officially eclipsed her own fame. When someone says Jennifer Lopez, you’ll never think “actor” and you’ll never think “singer.” Your first image will be of her big, round behind, which, when you think about it is rather appropriate. Only in the entertainment industry can someone be best known for a part of the body involved with making excrement.


Matt would love to be George Plimpton...welll, except for the being dead part. He supplies the doing and the writing. All he asks of you is the reading.

more about matt morin


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russ carr
8.13.03 @ 12:03a

FYI: A search for "Matt Morin ass" only turned up 1,720 hits.

tracey kelley
8.13.03 @ 2:58a

J-Lo is this generation's Carmen Miranda.

jeffrey walker
8.13.03 @ 9:49a

Type "Jennifer Lopez Ass" into Google and you'll get 106,000 hits. Try "Rwandan Genocide" and you’ll get 38,900.

With all due respect, Matt, there aren't that many Rwandans who have phone lines, much less Internet access. How can they makes web pages on this topic? Especially the ones who are now dead? On the other hand, J-Lo's ass has killed no one that I can prove, and there are many admirers left to talk about it in cyberspace.

Besides, there isn't a huge marketing machine sponsoring pages on the Rwandan Genocide, where there is such a machine doing ANYTHING to make you pay attention to lackluster J-Lo.

Besides, Genocide is such a biased term. Have you tried, "Kabuga's war on terrorism?" Said with tongue in cheek.

sarah ficke
8.13.03 @ 10:11a

I never really noticed J-Lo's butt as being particularly large until it was marketed that way. Objectively, it's not that big. Just big compared to the other skinny butts of Hollywood.

jael mchenry
8.13.03 @ 10:47a

I thought that too until the Flashdance-ripoff video, where I believe that it actually looks big. Really big.

jael mchenry
8.13.03 @ 10:50a

A Google search for "jael mchenry ass" turns up only one hit: here.

matt morin
8.13.03 @ 10:54a

Tracey, I was thinking she's more like this generation's Charo.

erik myers
8.13.03 @ 7:48p

My thought on J-Lo is this: If she didn't sell her body on screen, would she be popular? Hell no. She's a product, ever bit of her. It's sad that people can't see past it.

I'm with you, Matt. I don't find her attractive. I think she's skanky and I don't understand why people are so goddamn fixated on her.


reem al-omari
8.13.03 @ 8:39p

I just want to know why you're soooooo worked up about J-Lo's ass that you have to actually spend time looking up websites dedicated to it online and compare its hits with that of Rwandan Genocide. You even took the time to write about it.

Women come in all shapes and sizes, and not every woman has to look like blonde amazon woman (Kylie Mynogue who's blown or done God know what to make such a huge come back from the 80s!) In conclusion, if you don't like the way J-Lo looks, then you could start by not looking up her ass online AND not writing about it. Peace...

robert melos
8.13.03 @ 10:06p

Shakira is this generation's Charo. Lopez is this generation's worst nightmare. And I'm under the impression she used to have Ben Affleck, but now she has him not. I guess he wasn't fooled by the butt that she's got. One thing's for sure, she used to have a little, now she's got a lot.

BTW, the column made me laugh.

heather millen
8.13.03 @ 11:07p

I have to agree with Sarah. Marketing aside, I've never noticed that J-Lo's ass was all that large. But I have wondered if my ass is as large as people say her's is... ya know, just for comparative measure.


juli mccarthy
8.13.03 @ 11:29p

While I've never given as much thought to Jennifer Lopez's butt as Matt obviously has, I will say that I think it's high time we roundy-tush girls got some open ogling.

erik myers
8.14.03 @ 7:26a

That's a whole different issue. If we actually do ogle aren't we being weird and creepy(at least by the definition of others)?

That might be one of the other reasons JLo is so popular -- men can openly ogle without getting into trouble.

tracey kelley
8.14.03 @ 11:08a

I think we ought to make "gigli" a verb for f-up. Such as: "Man, you really giglied that, didn't you?"

I agree with Reem - I don't find Kylie Minogue talented or attractive either.

I was in the grocery a couple of days ago, and 4 out of 5 entertainment rags had Jen and Ben on the cover, claiming possible breakup over Ben's excursion to a strip joint.

I ask you: who cares? But Time Warner shoves this crap down our throats because most Americans apparently need to leave their crappy lives behind and float in the fantasy of celebrity. What the hell ever.

sarah ficke
8.14.03 @ 11:17a

It's a pretty shoddy fantasy, then. I'd guess that any number of ordinary couples have had the same fight that Ben and J-Lo are having.

juli mccarthy
8.14.03 @ 11:22a

That's a whole different issue. If we actually do ogle aren't we being weird and creepy (at least by the definition of others)?

OK, you have a point here - my choice of words wasn't a good one. Subsititute "appreciation" or "admiration" for "ogling." The truth is, guys have been checking out my rearview since I was a teen, but until J. Lo's big butt became big news, very few of them would admit to having a fondness for a cushy tushy. The size of my rear has always been a touchy subject with me, but J. Lo HAS made it easier for those of us who aren't built like Callista Flockhart. Curvy is in now, and that's a good thing as far as I am concerned. Consider those teenage girls with body image issues, too. If Lopez can make even one young girl feel more comfortable with her own body, she's done us all a service.

russ carr
8.14.03 @ 12:35p

If Lopez can make even one young girl feel more comfortable with her own body, she's done us all a service.

Especially if she gets it on video. Joycelyn Elders and Nancy Friday would be thrilled.

russ carr
8.14.03 @ 12:37p

The way I see it, the Affleck/Lopez thing boils down to this: One big ass deserves another.

jeffrey walker
8.14.03 @ 1:14p

That's pretty funny, Russ.
P.S. - Kylie Minogue is attractive. It is anticipated that the new video for her line of underwear will be very popular, considering her first such video was downloaded three million times. see here

matt morin
8.14.03 @ 2:37p

See, you can blame the media on distorted body image, but if you think about specific examples, there are just as many larger examples than smaller ones. J-Lo, Anna Nicole Smith (back in the old days), Dolly Parton - none of them were the size 0 waifs and they get just as much (if not more) attention than Britney and her stomach.

erik myers
8.14.03 @ 4:37p

But each of those women has been ridiculed as well as appreciated. Even as an 8-year-old I remember jokes about Dolly Parton's assets. Meanwhile, the magazines employ a series of generic models tailored to fit into designer clothes, and those women have a much larger negative effect than the positive effect of J-Lo's booty.

matt morin
8.14.03 @ 5:00p

Yeah, but these days overly skinny women get made fun of just as much. Think about all the Calista Flockheart jokes. Or Laura Flynn Boyle?

And you don't see 95 tv stories specifically about some supermodel's skinny thighs. But turn on Extra or E! or Entertainment Tonight or any other entertainment news show and you'll get some story about J-Lo and her famous behind.

sarah ficke
8.14.03 @ 5:09p

Touche with Calista Flockheart. By the way, that was me and not Erik. It's a pain in the ass having 2 Intrepidites on one machine.

reem al-omari
8.14.03 @ 10:19p

I think we all have great points. We've all thought an awful lot about J-Lo's ass, and my conclusion is this (if anyone cares) most male "intrepidites" don't like big booties...

russ carr
8.14.03 @ 11:26p

I like John Bigboote.

matt morin
8.14.03 @ 11:28p

Nice Buckaroo Banzi reference! Genius!

erik myers
8.15.03 @ 7:35a

I think we all have great points. We've all thought an awful lot about J-Lo's ass, and my conclusion is this (if anyone cares) most male "intrepidites" don't like big booties...

Y'know? In general, I am a fan of big booty -- but J-Lo really doesn't have one. It's only big because it's in close-up shots so much.

lisa r
3.31.04 @ 2:45p

Tracey, I was thinking she's more like this generation's Charo.

Possibly, Matt, but at least Charo was entertaining in a campy sort of way.

As for Twitney's stomach not getting much attention, it's been eclipsed by the "is she or isn't she still a virgin" hoopla. J-Lo's backside focus, on the other hand, turned out to be highly appropriate advertising for "Gigli", which turned out to be so much box office manure.

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