As ‘belfies’ become the pic du jour, Deirdre Reynolds asks why are we so obsessed with our bottoms.
THE selfie is, like, sooo 2013. Now it’s ‘belfies’ that are set to take over in 2014. Kim Kardashian, Kylie Minogue, Kelly Brook and Rihanna are just some of the cheeky stars who’ve posted snaps of their posteriors online recently.
If you want to get ahead, these days you have to get behind, says social media expert Paul O’Mahony.
“When it comes to using social media for self-promotion, selfies take the least possible effort but offer the greatest exposure for celebrities,” says O’Mahony, CEO of Social Media Frontiers.
“This latest trend for celebs to bare all in belfies is just an extension of that.”
From Miley Cyrus twerking on the VMAs to Cheryl Cole’s tattoo, bums have never been more en vogue.
“Music videos like Blurred Lines seem to be driving the trend,” says Emer O’Mahony, co-director of Cork Fashion Week. “And Rihanna is always putting up pictures of her bum.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s very sexy to take your clothes off for a belfie, but what I am happy to see is more curvy women in media.”
O’Mahony also runs Lockdown Models and says the agency’s size 16 model, Liz, is its most booked model. “Women cheer and clap every time she goes down the catwalk, and men don’t complain either,” says O’Mahony.
“The average Irish woman is now size 14, so it’s great that clients are booking models who reflect that.
“Size zero is not the du jour thing any more.”
Brazilian model Dai Macedo certainly got a bum deal after being crowned Miss Bumbum 2013.
The 25-year-old beat off competition from 14 other finalists to scoop the top prize of €2,000 cash and €15,000 worth of modelling contracts at the controversial event in São Paulo recently.
And she’s predicted to make thousands more thanks to her eye-popping 42-inch derrière.
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of devotion,” bootilicious Macedo told Agence France-Presse.
“I denied myself a lot of things: no nightclubs, no sweets. I went to the gym Saturdays and Sundays.”
Closer to home, Pippa Midleton has raised the bar for all women ever since she sashayed down the aisle after big sister Kate at the royal wedding in Britain two years ago, turning her into an overnight internet sensation. “Pippa definitely set the new standard for how a perfect rear should appear,” says Karen Nason, spokesperson for Debenhams Ireland. “Widely publicised photos of her shapely behind made ‘bum envy’ a part of everyday conversation for women all over the world.”
The high street store sells a padded bum booster (€15.50) available in size 8-18, which gives girls two extra inches of junk in their trunk, as well as control tights (€13) that lift the bum.
“Buying a pair of padded pants gives instant results compared to hours and hours of working hard in the gym,” adds Nason, “and costs a lot less too.”
Fifteen years after shooting to fame in Out of Sight, there’s no fear of Jennifer Lopez slipping out of mind.
Bot idol Jennifer, 44, told Heat magazine how fans are still fascinated with her most famous asset.
“It’s obsessive,” she said.
“It’s true I could serve coffee using my rear as a ledge, but I’m proud of my butt.”
It’s a fixation pop queen Kylie Minogue, 45, can relate to. Her impossibly pert rear helped to relaunch her career in 2000 with her Spinning Around video.
“The Sun in London ran a front page declaring my bum a national treasure. I really did laugh at that. It’s not like it can actually do anything, except wiggle,” she said in an interview.
Not everyone is born with a pert bum, and women here are prepared to splash out hundreds of euro to give their rear a boost.
“The main concerns are cellulite, flatness and loss of elasticity — that everything’s going a little bit south,” says Sinead Downey, manager of Therapie Clinic Cork.
“What they’re looking for is curve and lift.”
VelaShape is one of the most popular treatments.
“It’s a non-surgical treatment which uses a combination of infrared light and vacuum suction to break down fat and lift and tone the skin,” says Downey.
A course of six treatments starts from €395, but you can still get a better bot on a budget, Downey adds.
“Body brushing is brilliant for the bum. It doesn’t have to be a big expensive brush — just brush toward the heart until the skin is red before you get in the shower.
“If you never did anything else apart from body-brushing three times a week, you would see a massive difference in the appearance of the area.
“Brazilian waxing and contour tanning can also help give you a backside to rival Miss Bumbum 2013.!”
Psychologist Sharron Grainger says there could be a perfectly good explanation why we’re so preoccupied with posteriors, both our own and other people’s.
“Today’s obsession with celebrity bottoms may be a feature of evolution,” says Grainger.
“Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection shape how we choose a mate.
“As humans who have evolved from animals that walked on all fours, the bottom was a big turn-on to the male of the species.
“Even today, a full, rounded buttocks like J.Lo’s is considered a sexual turn-on.
“Curvy women have also evolved as attractive because women needed a layer of fat to survive during times of famine,” she adds. “So curves became a sign of a young, healthy female.
“Men, through evolutionary programming, seek females who are best suited to carry on their genes.”
Certainly there are few men who would ignore Scarlett Johansson because she’s too curvy.
The actress’s sex symbol status was sealed by a lingering shot of her knicker-clad rear in Lost in Translation in 2003.
But the 29-year-old admitted she was so insecure about having her bum on show that she resorted to bribing the artistic director to make it look better.
“I told the director of photography that if he made my arse look bad he’d never work again,!” she joked.
“He was like, ‘I promise you — it will look really nice’, and he came through. My arse looked OK.”
Lady Gaga clearly has no such worries if the artwork for her new single Do What U Want, featuring a close-up of her flawless butt, is anything to go by.
Paul O’Mahony says: “Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus’s backsides are now the stuff of breakfast conversation.
“Will this help their album sales this Christmas? Absolutely.”
“The belfie may be a passing fad, but it will only be replaced by the next weird and wonderful body part that celebrities are happy to share, depending on their finances.”
“We wouldn’t advise any of our models to post belfies,” says Emer O’Mahony of Lockdown Models.
“On a couple of occasions when younger girls joined the agency, we had to get them to clean up their Facebook and Twitter pages.
“We’d like our models to be role models — and to leave something to the imagination,” says O’Mahony.
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