You know what I find so empowering about Big Freedia? Well, you see, all my life I had butt shame. I was ashamed of my ass for being too big and too nice—a giant, constant attractor of unwanted attention—you know, the kind of unwanted attention that blames the victim for attracting it in the first place and for not knowing how to react. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I was always very conscious of how big my butt was. I monitored it obsessively by trying on different pairs of shorts and seeing how they fit. I did this every day, all my life. And then I discovered Big Freedia, transgendered pioneer of the New Orleans-based Sissy Bounce scene.
“Bend over!” the self-proclaimed Queen Diva demanded in a booming, maternal voice. “I want ass everywhere, ass everywhere!” From here she transitioned into the song of the same title, and a sea of asses of every shape, texture, and color thrust into the air, immodestly clad, celebrating seemingly autonomous lives as they rippled and bounced to the rhythms of gluteal freedom. We call this dance, I later learned, twerking.