Mooning – displaying the bare buttocks
The human buttocks are being linked to the Moon at times, just like in the case of the so-called sexual position “full moon”. This is due to the large, round shape of the buttock cheeks, which could occasionally remind of the lunar globe when properly lit or observed from the correct angle.
If someone shows their bum publicly, he or she usually does so to break a socially accepted norm and to express their protest or contempt. Or simply because of the fun of it provoking other people. This “baring the behind” is called “mooning”. It derives from the verb “to moon”, which means “to expose to the (moon)light”.
There is a long list of historic events of mooning. Amongst the Māori, the natives of New Zealand, this gesture exists as “Whakapohane” and has its roots in aggressive actions, whereby it was supposed to display disdain to the opponent. King Eduard III of England found himself and his archers faced with hundreds of bare French buttocks in the battle of Crécy, at the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War in 1346. However, the French did not gain anything with this move, they lost the battle.
But even in the present day, mooning does appear over and over, in the form of a protest. This is how Prince Charles and Lady Diana had to acknowledge it in 1983 through the Māori activist Dun Mihaka (which was originally aimed at the Thatcher regime), just like President George W. Bush was confronted by 200 naked behinds during a state visit in Sweden in 2001.
In our media landscape that is interspersed with nudity, the provocative value is rather small nowadays, and is often amplified when many people let their pants down simultaneously. This is referred to as “mass-mooning”.
After all, most campaigns are not to be looked at very seriously and there are hardly any photographs where one or another activist is not laughing. However, what the police has to say to this is a different kettle of fish: in most countries you may receive a ticket.