It was during a rather serious lunch in the heart of the City when I realised how much our society has become accustomed to seeing asses everywhere: naked, shaking, twerking, rubbing against something or wrapped in skimpy bathing suits. Showing one's posterior (especially when toned) has become the norm in music videos and on social media feeds, particularly on Instagram.
My lunch companion showed me a new viral video ad for a luxurious French interior design brand "Ligne Roset," essentially consisting of a speeded-up sequence of hundreds of ass photos with French can-can inspired music and it didn't even shock me. Doubting my moral standards, I showed the video around - and nobody considered it even remotely extravagant.
Yet the truth is that despite its joyful message, this video reveals the extent to which human bums are omnipresent in media. After the entertainment industry and social media, it is now the turn of advertising to experiment with the attraction power of the ass. A few years ago, Renault, another French prominent brand, already shook the world of advertising by promoting their "Mégane" with a video of women shaking their bottoms. What was an isolated case, now has become a trend.
Since the ass-liberating trend began in the 90s, we have become incredibly open-minded about revealing our bottoms. For my generation, whose teenage years fell during the Britney Spears G-string revealing craze, we have grown up having bottoms permanently in view . In my middle school, there would be rows of asses, framed by wooden classroom chairs, sliding out of low-waist, tight jeans and decorated with colourful G-string lines. No wonder the boys had poorer grades in school than we girls did!
When JLo came parading around with her voluptuous derriere in slim jeans, the type of bum you had started to define the person you were. The firm, imposing posterior became the definition of female power of girls who rule the world. If you have a big butt and you carry it proudly - you're outspoken, loud and strong. Beyoncé has been, undoubtedly, one of the main ambassadors of the "big bum equals power" movement. This is contrasted with the catwalk beauty ideal, of a small and firm, model-type bottom, the type the 'girl next door' would have.
Kim Kardashian, of course, has taken this to a whole new level. She has made us all believe that it's normal to be known for and by one's bottom. Since her white swimsuit Instagram shot, all celebrities have taken the cue and started an ass assault on social media... The insane world of showbiz has also been teaching us that making provocative bum movements is synonymous with maturity. Mylie Cyrus started "twerking", while Alicia Keys at one point in her career decided to play her piano standing and showing off her bottom. Big girls are not bum-shy - that's the main message.
It is not new that brands plug into trends and take the cue from social media when searching for creative ideas to sell their product. Perhaps we will see more bums appearing to advertise other products than just body-lotions and jeans. Watch out, it might be that the bum is the new cat!