Bums, booty and the passion for ass
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Bums, booty and the passion for ass

What’s driving the current global obsession with butt, नितंब, culo, matako, طيز , patootie, 屁股 and whoopee cakes?… These news flashes and more in this week’s Sex in the Press.

This article was originally published on 2 April 2015.

In recent years, booty – a strongly-curved bum – has bounced far beyond its traditional strongholds of hip-hop videos and communities in Africa and Latin America.

'Butts' have taken over 'breasts' as common search term. Butt implants are currently the mostly quickly growing form of plastic surgery worldwide. International fashion designers are developing bum-enhancing jeans. Electronic music companies now sell devices that can sample twerking – the shaking of a strongly-curved bums – and turn these movements into beats, to inspire more twerking.

 

Is this a sign of globalisation? Or is the world becoming less divided into penises and vaginas, and instead, more united by what we all have: a sitting cushion.

What’s the bottom line with this fascination with mahaga?

Are we just dogs?

Perhaps an answer lies with the question: ‘Why do dogs like to smell butts so much?’.

A dog smells another dog’s butt to get the gossip on another dog’s mood, eating patterns and love life. It’s basically social media but then via chemicals instead of news feeds. And chemical communication is found throughout the animal kingdom – including with humans.

So is the ass just trying to tell us something?

Unfortunately, humans lack a couple of things that dogs have: chemical-secreting anal sacs and a secondary olfactory system that is able to bypass the smell of poop.

So we must sniff deeper for an explanation behind the trending of culo.

Butt for brains

'Researchers have discovered that the development of babies' brains depends on fat supplies that are located in their moms' posteriors and thighs, and the amount stored there might directly impact a kid's intelligence, according to ‘Curvy women can make smarter kids, study suggests’.

So perhaps 'men might be attracted to curvier women because there's a chance of them having smarter kids,' a reproductive scientist suggests.

A previous study found that when men are hungry, they show a slight preference for larger women – perhaps because it suggests that such women have better access to food. Another study found that admiring a curvy women triggers the part of the brain associated with drugs and alcohol.

So is our thirst for नितंब simply a hard-wired addiction?

A bubble of evolution?

'The reason we're so attracted to serious curves goes all the way back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. You see, a woman having a back that curves approximately 45 degrees above the top of her butt means she would have had an evolutionary advantage in pre-civilized society,' according to ‘Let’s not oversimplify Kim Kardashian’s butt appeal’.

Turkish researchers suggest that a big butt helps pregnant women maintain a better centre of gravity. They are then able to forage longer into pregnancy without risking spinal injury.

An appealing idea. But like many appealing ideas pitched in the name of evolutionary biology: bullsh*t. We simply don’t know enough about our ancestors to make such conclusions. As one sceptical scientist points out: increased foraging could also increase one’s chance at being eaten by a sabre-toothed tiger.

In short, our response to Kim Kardashian’s 屁股 'resists any overly simple explanations'.

Or is it just another trend with a big but?

In his opinion piece ‘Kenya: the big booty obsession’, Oyunga Pala celebrates his country’s current 'big butt pandemic' since beauty was previously defined by western standards – 'reed thin models with malnourished looking bodies as dictated by the fashion gods.'

'Many urban bred African women grew up with serious body esteem issues, convinced that having an outstanding bottom made one undesirable. But ever since Serena Williams and Jennifer Lopez made their posteriors as prominent as their careers, the power of the booty has risen astronomically.'

But Pala has a big but: 'The dark side of this body-part obsession is that women who are not naturally endowed will be labelled unattractive.'

In another words, whatever size you’re packing, you should just follow the immortal advice of funk legend George Clinton: 'Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow'.

 

What do you think is behind the current global fascination for ass? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.

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