In many cultures, curvaceous hips on a woman are considered a sign of fertility. The aesthetically pleasing feminine feature has long been linked to the healthy delivery of babies. In our grandmothers’ circles, they make it plain: “Girl, look at you with those babymaking hips.”

Hips, much like the large derriere of many-a-brown-sister, are the ultimate ‘sign’ of Black femininity. Today, the ‘perfect 8’ female form drives the masses crazy. Notice the international appeal of voluptuous-bodied superstars like Beyonce and Serena Williams. Though mainstream (read: Eurocentric) standards of beauty still revere a stick-thin look, trends directly derived from the God-given features of Black women are a fixture every season. The current pop culture obsession with bottom-heavy physiques, however, has seemingly created an unintended consequence—more and more Black women are not only investing in butt injections, but hip injections and padding, too.

Sisters in the Black South, it appears (particularly Atlanta, where this writer is reporting from), are clamoring for these enhancements in a race to lock down all the hip and booty-love. But why?

The stories of black market butt and hip injections continue to roll in. Just last month, 30 year-old Vanity Wonder made headlines with her book “Shot Girls,” which details her addiction to silicone butt injections. Photos of her enlarged bottom are shocking. Her hip-to-waist ratio is so extreme, one wonders if the decision was born out of a desire to look better or a distorted idea of what a Black woman’s body should look like. Wonder’s injection addiction led her to become the assistant to a popular black market practitioner. To many onlookers, it can be mind-boggling to see a woman exaggerating a body part that may have already been ample. Wonder offers insight on this notion. “It’s not even because they didn’t already have a butt. They look in the mirror and they don’t like what they see,” she told Mail Online. “They want the image they see in the mirror to match the image they have of themselves in their head.”

What is that image? After perusing the aisles at the recent Bronner Brothers International Hair Show, it was impossible not to notice the number of faux bottoms with the added support of hip pads. Despite how artificial the hip padding appeared, woman after woman swayed from side to side, the poorly hidden pads shifting awkwardly off their natural hips the whole time. Though Atlanta is still the sophisticated gem that Kelly Smith Beaty described in a Huffington Post Black Voices article “Will the Real Black People of Atlanta Please Stand Up”—there’s a sub-culture primarily influenced by deep-fried hip hop, where anything artificial goes. Though there are no official numbers on the rise in hip augmentation among Black women of Atlanta, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that this trend is real.

In parts of the south it seems there is no escaping the music video culture that is pushing the women to the far limits of sex caricatures. And who’s to blame? Celebrities have done their fair share of pushing this agenda. Kim Kardashian further accentuates her buxom body by wearing shaping undergarments that exaggerate her butt and hips. Nicki Minaj has made her larger-than-life hips and backside part of her schtick. Of course, artificial butts and hips are anything but normal, as evidenced by the February 2011 death of London student Claudia Adusei, who died shortly after having silicone injected into her buttocks at a Hampton Inn in Philadelphia. Her two friends survived after receiving hip augmentation, according to Fox News.

I am not enough. In this writer’s opinion, this is what these procedures and pads ultimately scream to the world. What is a growing trend in ATL can easily become a reality in other parts of the country. Black women have to soul search on this one. As celebrity trainer and fitness guru Jeanette Jenkins says, “If you’re not happy with your butt and hips, even putting pads on is not going to change how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror. Recognize that God made you perfect.”

 What are your thoughts on the rise of butt and hip implants and padding?