He's gone by various names, including Sean John Combs, Puff Daddy and P.Diddy, among others. Rapper, recording executive, clothing designer, producer and ex-boyfriend of Jennifer Lopez, are just a few of the many hats he wears.
Now, Diddy adds "author" to his list of accomplishments with the publishing of his new book, "Culo."
Combs collaborated with Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine and fashion photographer Raphael Mazzucco to bring us a 248-page coffee table book about, what else? Women's backsides.
The press release states that the title of the book, which is set to hit stores November 22nd, is taken from the Italian word for buttocks, but as we all know, "culo" is also explicit slang for the same in Spanish.
A preview of the book has been made available via a promotional music video called "Pass at Me" by Timbaland, which features Pitbull and David Guetta. (The very danceable video is R-rated and probably shouldn't be viewed at work.)
Some of the lyrics to "Pass at Me" include this line sung by Pitbull:
Now she does what I say,
does what I please,
she lives on her knees.
It's all very predictable, and not the least bit shocking, at least to me. I listen to Pitbull's music and although I find the lyrics disappointing from a female standpoint, I would expect nothing less.
The book itself, I also don't have a problem with. My problem is with the project's conflicting messages, and that it is being publicized as something it is not. In other words, don't tell me it's a filet mignon when what I taste is a dollar menu cheeseburger.
Not sure what I'm talking about? Let me explain. A quote from the "Culo" book website states:
"No matter if you were raised to call it derriere, tush, rear end, or booty, culo is the new epicenter of female sexuality, desire, and empowerment."
Female sexuality? Check.
Empowerment? Get real!
Granted, from what I've seen, the book is highly artistic – gorgeous really, and not at all trashy – but regardless of how beautiful the photographs and female form are, just the fact that we're focusing on women's butts instead of their accomplishments, intelligence, bravery, inner strength, kindness, and creativity makes its qualification in the "empowerment" category rather questionable.
Another quote from the website, this one from Iovine, states:
"Fashion needs fewer girls who look like boys and more women with some 'Boom Boom Pow.'"
I can agree that beauty standards, not just in fashion, but in general, need to be rewritten to include acceptance of all of the diversity that is out there, but these kinds of careless remarks that compare slender women, or women who lack "junk in the trunk" with "boys" are still beauty standards that are unattainable to some.
In the end (pun intended), any beauty standard at all, no matter which direction it goes in, will feed into the endless cycle of self loathing so many women struggle to escape. There's nothing empowering about that.
Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the DC Metro area and the founder of Latinaish.com.