Underbutt: Our Best Weapon Against the Bullshit Mythology of Cellulite


Thanks to the ubiquitous cheeky shorts trend, these days, you can’t angrily chuck an iPhone without hitting some teen in the exposed buttcheeks. Some naysayers might say that this is Bad because won’t somebody think of the intact hymens? or that it’s Harmful because what about those of us with buttcheeks we don’t wish to showcase? But I say bring ’em on. Bring on all the cheeky shorts, the underbutts, the upper thighbacks — as of now, they’re the best weapon we have against the bullshit mythology of cellulite.

Some background on the underbutt trend: while our very own Callie Beusman posited many moons ago (ok, like three months/moons ago but it feels like longer because there have been so many happenings this summer and not enough vapid but distracting blockbuster films to absorb my free time) that the phenomenon was but a novelty in a constantly changing “roller coaster of bare erogenous zones,” The Cut’s Kat Stoeffel seems to think that shorts so short that they expose the curvy bottom of the human ass have more staying power. (Blogfight after school by the swings, ladies. I’ll officiate/ bring wine. Also a blogfight is where we all braid each other’s hair.) And while Callie made some great points in her original post — that ass-to-train-seat contact is generally a Bad Idea, that assflashing shorts don’t really let your bits breathe, and that they look silly unless you’re standing like an American Apparel model dreading having sex in Terry Richardson’s hipstercreep lair — I’m hoping that Stoeffel’s end-of-summer proclamation ends up ringing true. Keep ass shorts around. Keep ’em around forever.

Hear me out: if a child (or weird teen) is afraid of monsters hiding under her bed, a parent or caretaker’s best course of action is to demonstrate to the child (or weird teen) that there’s nothing under her bed. See? Right there behind the bed skirt? Nothing. No monsters. Now please go to sleep; your parents are trying to sleep/sex each other. In the same way, ubiquitous underbutt on all body types proves that there are only, like, 6 people in the whole entire world who don’t have cellulite, and that’s just perfectly fine. In fact, the idea that somehow we should all strive for some smooth-buttbottom ideal has been bullshit all along.

As hard as I try to not be overly concerned with how my body looks and focus instead on what it does, I sometimes fall into the vanity trap. I gained weight after my last breakup, and for about a month at the beginning of the summer, I couldn’t run due to a bum hamstring, and I felt like an ineffectual, unsexy meat sack. Ugh my stomach this. Ugh my legs that. Ugh, gravity. Ugh, waning youth. But this spring — by gum — along came cheeky shorts like a deus ex machina to free me from the silliness of self loathing. One minute I was on the G train feeling mopey and bad about myself, and the next minute I look up to see asses, asses as far as the eye could see. Thin asses. Chubby asses. Dimpled asses. And all of the ass owners did not give a fuck that none of the asses were perfectly smooth. It was an ass judgment-free zone. So, in a way, underbutt-bearing bottoms are the sartorial equivalent of showing a kid that there’s nothing hiding under the bed. Everyone’s got cellulite, sweetie. You’re fine.

Cheeky shorts, as unsanitary and demanding of personal grooming as they may be, are a way to use fashion against itself. Trends have finally passed beyond the event horizon of inescapable, impossible-to-ignore ridiculousness. Here, says fashion, wear these to showcase the creamy smooth thighbacks that you’re supposed to have because the clothes we made for Ukranian 17-year-olds say so.

OK fashion, I’ll bite, you respond, pulling on a pair of cheeky shorts, revealing a normal amount of surface irregularity. You look at fashion expectantly.

Fashion narrows its eyes. You’re supposed to be thinner, says fashion.

EVEN THIN PEOPLE HAVE CELLULITE! you respond, AND I WILL WEAR WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT. You’ve won. We’ve all won. Remember that climactic scene in Labyrinth when Jennifer Connelly tells David Bowie’s magical codpiece “You have no power over me?” That’s you, in short shorts. And cellulite is the Goblin King.

The cure for cellulite isn’t science, diet, exercise, or bullshit creams that are somehow supposed to change the inside of your body from the outside; the cure for cellulite is reality. And, thanks to cheeky shorts, that reality has parked itself right in front of our faces.

[The Cut]

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