Sex Symbols: A Look at the Growing Fascination With the "Booty" (Includes Videos)
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Sex Symbols: A Look at the Growing Fascination With the "Booty" (Includes Videos)

During the 1950Â’s, the attention shifted to women like Jane Mansfield, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe, who while slighter in build, were considered no less voluptuous, their breasts no-less attention-getting. So, if breasts were the focus of attention fifty years ago, when did it shift to womenÂ’s rear-ends?

In the 1940’s, it was Hollywood’s so-called “sweater girls” who came to represent the American ideal of “sexy.”  Known for their hour-glass figures, women like Jane Russell, Lana Turner, and Rita Hayworth, while considered beauties in their own rights, were largely set apart as sex symbols by their prominent breasts.

During the 1950’s, the attention shifted to women like Jane Mansfield, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe, who while slighter in build, were considered no less voluptuous, their breasts no-less attention-getting.  So, if breasts were the focus of attention fifty years ago, when did it shift to women’s rear-ends? Let’s look at the breast-to-booty transition via sex symbols of each era.

Marilyn Monroe:

After appearing as the first ever Playboy centerfold in December of 1953, Monroe went on to star in many feature films, including Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Some Like it Hot, and The Misfits, rocketing her to stardom while making her one of the most desired women in the world.  Teasing audiences with provocative attire both on- and off-screen, many remember her shapely form inside the sequined gown she wore at John F. Kennedy’s birthday party given at Madison Square Garden at which she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” This outfit illustrates what a comparatively tame booty this classic sex goddess really had.

Raquel Welch:

Making her film debut in the 1966 sci-fi fantasy Fantastic Voyage, which prominently displayed her physical attributes in a skin-tight jump suit, Welch then appeared as a scantily-clad cavewomen (ala “Jane”) in One Million Years BC later that same year, making her an instant sex symbol. And though known for her stunning beauty and size 37C bosom, her reported 35” hips were rather modest compared to today’s trend.

Bo Derek:

Instantly hailed as one of the most desirable women in the world after appearing in the 1973 film Fantasies, Derek sealed her sex-goddess status in 1979 with the making of 10, starring against British actor/comedian Dudley Moore. Following several nude spreads in Playboy, two films during which she spent much of her on-screen time in various stages of undress, as well as working as a Victoria’s Secret model, Derek became the object of sexual fantasies throughout the world. Although deemed head-to-toe perfect, her 34” hips were considerably smaller than what is considered “prime” today.

Kelly LeBrock:

After appearing on numerous magazine covers and in fashion spreads (including an exclusive Christian Dior campaign), and then becoming Eileen Ford’s most sought after model, LeBrock’s jaw-dropping sexy roles in The Women in Red and Weird Science made her known as the undisputed “perfect” women, and the focus of sexual fantasies for men (and women) world-wide. But while her 34E chest would perhaps make her popular even today, with such a relatively small bottom, she might not garner the same status were she making films today.

Jennifer Lopez:

After first making a name for herself as a dancer and actor, “J. Lo” released her first record, On the 6, in 1999, bringing both her considerable musical talents, as well as her physical attributes to world-wide attention via her music videos, “If You Had My Love,” “Waiting For Tonight,” “Let’s get Loud” (for which she was honored with a 2001 Grammy), and “Ain’t it Funny.”  Natural beauty aside, her reported 42” posterior drew such attention that a work-out video was produced showing how to get a “butt like Jennifer,” the rumor spread that J. Lo had actually insured her rear-end for a billion dollars, and the so-called “bubble-butt” became the most desired bottom for men to touch and women to possess. (Her breasts, incidentally, are reported to be a modest 34B.)


Though launching her recording career in 1990, it wasn’t until the world witnessed Shakira's hip-gyrating performance in her 2001 music video “Whenever, Wherever,” that listeners got to appreciate her reported 37” physical attribute, and she attained the attention her talent and beauty deserves.  With Latina physicality quite in vogue today, she is one of several women bringing worldwide acclaim to Spanish-speaking performers everywhere.

(“Whenever, Wherever” video pulled by industry)

Beyonce Knowles:

Known only as “Beyonce,” Knowles first rose to prominence in the late 1990s as lead singer for the R&B female group Destiny’s Child. Launching her solo career in 2003 with the album Dangerously in Love, she had hits with “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy,” which not only earned her five Grammy Awards, it spawned attention to the “body men would die for.”  Today, Knowles’ posterior is frequently compared with the equally physically-gifted model Kim Kardashian, who measures a reported 34C, 26, 39.

Model Kim Kardashian


Images via and


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Sex With Older Women

Sex and the Five Senses

History of Sex Toys

>  How to make Sex Better

Breasts and Walking Upright

Sex in Middle Age

>  The Health Benefits of Sex


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Comments (6)
Ranked #1 in Popular Culture

Interesting discussion, James. Even the body is subject to fashion.

Yes, interesting. Sorry, I'm out of votes

Ranked #4 in Popular Culture

Excellent and fascinating topic, James.

Ranked #29 in Popular Culture

Very useful illustrations to demonstrate your argument.

Ranked #10 in Popular Culture

WoW! a real "booty-full" article and its amazing history, thumbs up.

Why is it that White people see themselves as the center of the universe. They think that their perception of beauty is ubiquitous. There are more than 7 billion people on this planet, and the majority of it\'s inhabitants are not white. This means that sexual attractiveness is culturally specific. Insofer as the so-called recent trend of \"booty\" attraction, Black males have been attracted to women who possess round voluptuous butts for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, older Black males will teel you that if a woman has large breasts and no butt, that won\'t cut it. White men like breasts, and Black men prefer legs and behind.