A few months ago, we teased Vogue for its tone-deaf discovery of big butts. Now I think we may have been a little premature. Big butts (and the appreciation thereof) might not be anything new — but we are living in an era of unprecedented ass awareness. Case in point: the Belfie Stick. Unlike its maligned cousin, the selfie stick, the Belfie Stick isn’t about getting your friends in the frame. (Although there’s no reason it shouldn’t be the harbinger of group-belfies.) The Belfie Stick extends and bends, so even a selfie novice can take a smartphone photo of her own butt without the help of a bathroom or gym mirror. And that means there’s no longer any excuse for not knowing what your butt looks like.
Similarly, one can no longer plead ignorance of the butt’s sexual possibilities. You don’t have to like butt stuff in the bedroom, but you can’t be shocked by it. We’ve achieved a critical mass of lyrics and think pieces that, in my experience, means one can expect to talk about analingus in medium-intimate mixed company.
I know I should rejoice at how liberated we all are, and be glad that I don’t have to master Kardashian kontortions to get a belfie. But, in some ways, butt ignorance is bliss. I used to cherish butt compliments. Because I can’t really see my butt, they were the only physical compliments that didn’t have to compete with my own, inevitably harsh self-examination. Now it’s on the list of attributes to be photographically (and sexually!) self-conscious about.
But if one must become as familiar with her butt’s imperfections as with those of her face, the good news is that a butt beauty cottage industry — Jen Selter butt fitness tips, these “pancakes to pound cakes” butt bras — has cropped up as well. All are conveniently located on Instagram.