Friday, July 22, 2011

Kim Kardashian: A case of Steatopygia?

kim-kardashian by newfldlab
kim-kardashian, a photo by newfldlab on Flickr.

I often read from experts on beauty and female anatomy that some women among all races exhibit traces of Steatopygia. When I read it first, I was not aware of what it was all about.

So, for those who are still like what I felt initially about it, Steatopygia “is a high degree of fat accumulation in and around the buttocks”. Often fat deposit can extend to the back and front of the thighs, and sometimes up to the knees.

Historically, Steatopygia is a genetic characteristic of the Khoisan people (also spelled as Khoesaan, Khoesan or Khoe-San). Khoisan is a name coined from the names of two ethnic groups of Southern Africa.

Though Steatopygia is prevalent conspicuously among women, it can also be observed in men. Pygmies and the Onge tribe of the Andaman Islands (India) also are reported to have this genetic characteristic of, possibly, evolution.

As is well known now, human beings were initially quadrupeds like apes, but in the course of evolution, possibly taking many millennia, Homo sapiens started to become bipeds, presumably when they wanted to stand up to pluck fruits from trees, to have a vision over a wider area than quadrupeds, and many more reasons.

So, as can be seen in the case of four-legged animals trying to stand up on their hind limbs, with awkwardly protruding buttocks, in the course of evolution, when the humans first tried to stand up, their buttocks were more protruded out.

Also, in the case of most Homo sapiens, females have a tendency to gather more adipose tissues in the buttock area than the males.

Anthropologists are of the opinion that Steatopygia was a characteristic of women who inhabited originally in an area extending from the Gulf of Aden to the Cape of Good Hope, but now the characteristic can be seen predominantly among the women of the Pygmies and Khoisan. Sometimes Steatopygia is also noticed among people from other parts of Africa, not essentially among women, but more among male Basters than among Khoikhoi (Khoisan) women.

With due apologies to the anthropologists, I would stress that Steatopygia-like characteristics can be observed among a small percentage of women of all races, places, etc. For instance, if you are familiar with art/ paintings, you must have noticed that almost all women in the art of Peter Paul Rubens showed characteristics of Steatopygia. It suggests that this characteristic was a symbol of beauty for European women.

The extreme case is the animal-like treatment given to Sarah Baartman (Saartjie Baartman), the most famous Khoikhoi woman who was given the derogatory title “Hottentot Venus”. She was forcefully imported to Britain, then taken to France, and shown around to Europeans as if she is a circus animal, until she died at about the age of 25 years.

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