While the likes of the Kardashians and co have put bottoms on the map - fuelling an Instagram obsession with booty gains and poses to deliberately show off your ass-ets - that doesn’t mean all the body image hang ups have gone out the window.
While bums are coveted there seems to be one way to have them: pert and round. So for many of us, it’s just another body image hang-up to add to the pile.
But bums, like all body parts, come in different shapes and sizes.
That’s why two artists started a photography project called 1001 fesses - fess is French for bottom, btw - to encourage women to love their asses.
Emili Mercier and Frederique Marseille, from Montreal, Canada, describe the project as “an ode... expressing the beauty of ALL our bums”.
“The butt seems to be the body part women hate the most, and we still don’t understand why since it’s so soft, sensual and beautiful,” they told HuffPost UK.
“Also, photographing butts helps the concept of anonymous bodies since they are always pictured from the back, which brings poetic aesthetic and mystery. And butts are funny! It’s not as aggressive as a full frontal picture or other female parts that are obviously sexual, the goal was to desexualise the female body and just show it’s authenticity outside of a sexual aspect.”
Since the project began in 2014, the two childhood friends have travelled far and wide photographing bare bottoms in a variety of settings - both public and private.
The website reads: “We have to go meet these women, know their beauty, and transform these photoshoots into something more: human rituals, each a unique experience.”
Women volunteer themselves (and their backsides) to be part of the project by signing up to a private Facebook group. The artists announce when they visit a particular country to photograph new bums and women are able to apply. All the subjects are anonymous.
The project has been criticised because the majority of its subjects are white 20-something women. Mercier and Marseille insist this isn’t a deliberate choice of theirs, but they can only work with women who put themselves forward.
“We just wish more and more women will wish to participate.”
When asked how the women respond to having their photo taken, the artists said most are “surprised” but they eventually learn to love the photos.
“Most of the women who participate are always surprised to see their body in the pictures when they receive them,” they said. “Since it’s film camera, we have to develop everything before they see the final result and this is part of the magic...
“Sadly, most of the models have a first impression that they are ugly. But they love the pictures anyway... and slowly, most of them start seeing their beauty. We receive a lot of emails and calls from the models after while, saying it helped them feel good about themselves.”
The artists claim that Instagram and Facebook have censored the project’s posts.
“It’s so hard to create an online community around the subjects of body, self-esteem, woman emancipation and desexualising nudity. We hope our pages won’t be shut down the same way it happened 2 years ago,” they wrote in a recent Instagram post.
HuffPost UK has reached out to Facebook and Instagram for comment and has yet to hear back at the time of publication.