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Culture

The History of Human Fascination with Butts 

Looking around at the animal kingdom, I can’t help but wonder where are all the butts? Even our closest genetic relatives the great apes do not have as big of butts as humans do. This is most likely related to human bipedal motility. Ultimately, the shape of your butt is dependent on the shape of your pelvis and how your muscles and fatty tissues cover the pelvis.

Not only do humans have the juiciest ass in all the animal kingdom, we also have a fascination with our own butts and our fellow man’s rear end. I don’t know about you but I went to many high school baseball games just to see some athletic ass. And I have definitely bent over too slowly in front of someone I find attractive in hopes they will stare at my butt. When you think about it though, why are we obsessed with butts? Here are some theories: 

Some evolutionary biologists have surmised that this fascination stems from an instinctive association of red rears with fertility. This bears weight because the waist to hip ratio can be indicative of high chances of reproductive success. 

Biologically, women are predisposed to having larger hips and buttocks because of a higher presence of estrogen in the bloodstream. Hormones play a major role in fat placement in the body. 

In 1927 a British psychologist by the name of Havelock Ellis wrote a book called Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Ellis spent some time in this work addressing butts. He claimed that a large butt is a mark of beauty and fertility. Ellis also mentioned that he thinks corsets and bustles were designed to emphasize the butt, not the waist. 

Freud had another explanation. He blamed human fascination with butts on the Anal Stage of psychosexual development. This is a period from ages 1-3 where the human learns bladder and bowel control. Freud believed that this period of development was to blame for the human fascination with the erogenous zone of the anus. 

Butts have a long standing romance with the art world. Paintings and sculptures of the naked booty date all the way back to 28,000 B.C.E. In Renaissance art, men’s butts had more erotic associations than women’s. Many sculptors would but much more focus and emphasis on the butt than anatomically correct. Henceforth yielding the first unrealistically juicy ass. 

Flash forward to Kim Kardashian, the modern day big booty mogul. Whether you blame evolution, estrogen, potty training, or art for the human fascination with butts, I think it’s safe to say that if you read all the way to the end of this article you truly have a dump truck of an ass. Do with that what you will.

Margaret Bovard is a senior at Furman University from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she is a Health Science major. In addition to being a writer for HerCampus, Margaret works in a cardiology lab on campus and participates in theater. She is very passionate about sustainability and hopes to be an alpaca farmer one day. Margaret is an old soul, in her free time she knits, cross stitches, and complains about her back pain :). She can not wait to see the impact that HerCampus will have on Furman's Campus.
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