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'Underbutt' shorts trend is an outbreak on campus

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:11 pm | Updated: 8:05 pm, Mon Sep 9, 2013.

Something is emerging on campus. Maybe it is the heat that brought them out.

The first time I saw them, I was taken aback. I thought it was a one-time sighting — like seeing someone wear a FSU shirt to class. But no, they have become as frequent a presence as the protestors at Turlington.

They are the crescent-shaped bare undersides of UF students wearing shorts with hems that arch up like disbelieving eyebrows. And this trend is not the result of an overzealous attempt to cut off denim jeans, but rather an intentional design choice.

The exposure most famous for the start of the “underbutt” trend was Rihanna’s revealing tweet of her bum. She almost full-mooned the world, wearing denim shorts that were cut into a thong in the back. Though the tweet was quickly taken down, the impression was made.

Miley Cyrus followed suit with cheeky shorts that, though modest in comparison to Rihanna’s, are what’s being shown off on campus.

Wolfgang owner, Matthew Turner, 31, said his shop does not sell any shorts of the “underbutt” variety. “I am a fan of girls wearing high-waisted jean shorts, but if your butt is falling out of them, it is probably not best to wear in public,” he said. “Keep it classy.”

From malls to music festivals to university campuses, you will see the young getting behind the trend. And I wonder, is this the first of many fashion crazes I am not going to understand? Though I have grown out of my teenage years, I’m still young. I like fashion; I’m not prudish, but I think these shorts would be uncomfortable and problematic.

Walking across campus right now is like taking a trip to the sauna, but immediately having to go to work before you have time to towel off. I can just imagine the wet blobs of human dough protruding from cinched hems sitting and sticking to bus seats and lecture hall chairs. I would prefer to maintain the divide between public toilets and all other seats.

And I am not alone. Chloe Dye, 23, albeit not a teenager, said she would not wear the risqué shorts and would rather no one else would either. “I wouldn’t want to sit down in a lecture hall class chair if I knew someone with underbutt had been sitting there,” the UF art history graduate student said.

But besides the discomfort, I wonder about the professionalism. I can see these shorts working at Bonnaroo, where it is socially acceptable to wear body paint, continually flash the peace sign, become spontaneously patriotic and do drugs, all at the same time. However, I don’t know see how you transition that look to an atmosphere constituting professors and academia.

Yet, women’s fashion is constantly evolving, and social norms continue to change.

Co-editor of the “History of Fashion” and master teacher of costume studies at New York University Nancy Deihl wrote in an email that “Women’s fashion depends on novelty, and sometimes the only thing that can be new about an established part of the wardrobe is how it is worn.”

Shorts are obviously not new — actress Catherine Bach of “The Dukes of Hazzard” and model Marilyn Monroe wore down those barriers, so now designers are trying to figure out a way to one-up the style, she said.

“The ‘underbutt’ is a real challenge for many women as you have to be shapely plus in shape for that crucial indentation to exist!” she said. “It’s a style that exists be- cause our culture is driven by change and fascinated by public nudity, even in small portions.”

The question now is, where will fashion go from here? Will the next semester’s trend be the two-fifth shorts?

What will happen to the canned, comedic trope where the protagonist dreams of going out in his underwear, when this dream (or nightmare), depending on your perspective, has become reality?

This story originally ran on page 7 on 8/22/2013 under the headline "Underbutt overdose at UF"

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  • Welcome to the discussion.

    9 comments:

    • glen broemer posted at 7:41 pm on Mon, Jun 30, 2014.

      glen broemer Posts: 27

      If this seems like overposting, I generally publish when I've been assaulted, or when my privacy is ignored, or when my cats cry out in pain by some action of government. I've been assaulted thousands of times over the past decade now, I'm sure that estimate is accurate....One of my cats is bleeding, hair missing from its back, and two of them actually have scabs on their back as a result of being shot with energy weaponry. According to one report this results from my publication of Ronald Reagan quotes and biographical facts, indisputable and in fact from wikipedia. The federal government of course has all the power in the world to stop it.

      Typically operating through puppets--including puppets in the judiciary--the right wing has for decades been committing crimes and trying to classify them to cover them up, a move explicitly forbidden by the Code of Federal Regulations. The right has accomplished its political objectives by presenting a fraction of the evidence to judicial officials who, having seen the pattern dozens of times before, could not help but realize that they were being presented with incomplete and inaccurate information.

      With either the willfully blind approval or the willful ignorance of the judiciary the right has killed & stolen several of my pets and routinely shoots energy weaponry at me and my pets. Recent harm to animals include: two kittens from a pregnant stray i took in were killed a few months ago. The remaining two, just 3 months old, shake their head as government operatives shoot them with energy weaponry. They shot the eye out or removed the eye of a large really good natured stray at the port, hobbled another cat at the port, shooting it with energy weaponry, and for years routinely killed and left dead animals in my path. A few years ago one of them threatened 'we'll just kill a cat every so often', in so many words. This has continued despite my calls to the police, the FBI, Congress, and my petitions in court. In the usual case, it appears that the right goes to a judicial crony for a ruling permitting them to harm animals to retaliate against me for my free speech. The federal government, the right wing in particular, interfered with my personal life and economic options for 3 decades, so their solution to my noting it is to kill animals. Makes perfect sense right? It does if you're a sociopathic criminal, criminally stupid, and hawkish. Invariably their lies are exposed and the wrongfulness of the harm is clear to everyone, though not until the animals have been maimed or killed. There is really only one solution, and that's to disempower them politically and to impeach them.

      If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth, right? the Democrats' great accomplishment is producing the political equivalent of a Rodney King video, clearly demonstrating the lies of the right, the right Hilary Clinton correctly identified as a vast conspiracy. Confirm by examining Central District of California Cases, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L --though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of their day to day assaults, a few month time slice indicative of a decade of assault, and more recently 9th Circuit case 11-56043.

       
    • grayeyedgirl posted at 11:18 am on Wed, Sep 25, 2013.

      grayeyedgirl Posts: 4

      Regardless of slut shaming or classiness or whatever, I don't care. I would like to know if those shorts are actually comfortable. I've worked on this campus since 2006; I have seen many fashion trends come and go. I have seen more butt cheeks then I would like to see over the years. My question is, "Is this a comfortable thing to wear?" I see young women grasping the front of their shorty shorts and yanking them down. I've seen them grab the back end of their shorty shorts and yank those down.

      Its obvious that this is not a comfortable article of clothing. Whether or not its classy seems to be more opinion. I think it it isn't all that comfortable looking. Especially if you're yanking them down all the time.

      My other question is for whom are these women wearing these shorts? Are they, honestly, wearing them for themselves or are they wearing them to attract people? Are they wearing them to show off their booties?

      I am a feminist but I struggle with some areas. Its hard not to notice butt cheeks flapping about. I don't comment. If I judge, it's in my head so as to not hurt feelings (plus, if we're going to judge on looks and dress I need to get in the front of that line to be judged). But at what point do we, as women, take responsibility and say you know I don't NEED to show off my butt cheeks to be considered beautiful and sexy?

       
    • jamieleemarks posted at 6:07 pm on Mon, Sep 16, 2013.

      jamieleemarks Posts: 1

      Unless you have the consent on the person photographed, this is horrendous. Alligator, come on. You're better than this. The publication simultaneously posts articles about slut-shaming, rape culture, and then posts a photograph of an anonymous woman's ass on its website? Horseshit, if you ask me.

       
    • imdjguy posted at 11:33 am on Thu, Aug 29, 2013.

      imdjguy Posts: 1

      This is an opinion, not a story or news. I'm a senior at UF and thought about writing this as an op-ed since my Freshman year. Reading "The exposure most famous for the start of the “underbutt” trend was Rihanna’s revealing tweet of her bum" made me laugh so hard. Pretty bad explanation of the girls doing this years ago. This has been happening before the tweet.
      So people have a problem with butt cleavage, but no breast cleavage? How does that work?

       
    • Alligator sux posted at 12:52 pm on Mon, Aug 26, 2013.

      Alligator sux Posts: 1

      Award winning journalism at its finest. You suck alligator. Go f yourself

       
    • Romulan posted at 5:11 pm on Fri, Aug 23, 2013.

      Romulan Posts: 483

      >However, I don’t know see how you transition that look to an atmosphere constituting professors and academia.

      That should probably read 'CONSISTING OF' instead of 'CONSTITUTING'.

      klacklac, I'll just say that I wouldn't be surprised if the author doesn't have the physique/physical conditioning to pull off wearing the shorts herself, hence the jealousy aspect. I realize any woman should be proud of her body, but you know what I mean (the idea of the shorts is not to see rolls of fat being squeezed out.) People who play with Twitter and Tumblr all day, while compulsively drawing with Microsoft Paint, probably aren't in great shape. People who are in sad shape usually sweat easily.

      I too wondered about the girl in the photo since her backpack is somewhat recognizable. I wouldn't think there was anything unusual about her shorts if I saw her walking.

       
    • klacklac posted at 2:41 pm on Fri, Aug 23, 2013.

      klacklac Posts: 6

      @Romulan, it is indeed slut-shaming! Unfortunately, we live in a society where people like the author of this silly piece think they can gauge someone's character based on something like the outfits they wear or the number of their sexual partners. It's an inherent double standard because in no way are men judged like this: men aren't held to standards of "modesty" based on fashion choice and you'd never see a comparable article written about a male fashion trend.
      This article and its tone are also greatly dependent on the male gaze, which is the idea that women exist in the public eye for men to look at before anything else. This is supported by the fact that the first person quoted is not a woman who wears this kind of short (not once was such a woman quoted, although there is a picture of one) or even a woman who doesn't, but instead a man who encourages women to "keep it classy," e.g. keep your attire reasonably desirable without showing evidence of your personal autonomy.
      There's also the question of whether the woman in the article's picture was asked if a picture of her rear could be used for the story. Because neither her name nor face was included, I suspect the answer is no, which is yet another frightful example of how the male gaze and continued objectification of women lead people to think that women's bodies are public property for their consumption.
      This whole article is an extremely misguided foray into internalized misogyny.

       
    • Cat posted at 8:16 pm on Thu, Aug 22, 2013.

      Cat Posts: 1

      ^^ You should write for xojane.

       
    • Romulan posted at 6:19 pm on Thu, Aug 22, 2013.

      Romulan Posts: 483

      I have to ask the obvious... Is this a case of "Slut Shaming"?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slut-shaming

      Keep in mind that men can walk around campus without shirts if they so choose. I think it would be fine to allow women to go topless without becoming lawbreakers.

      I am opposed to any mindset that would ultimately lead to something like the Burka, and I can appreciate that some women want to show off their bodies without shame. I think it's fine and probably not much different from the reception the mini-skirt received in the 60s.

      It is slightly amusing when they flip under in the back and the wearer decides to stop and pull them back down. It seems like it could be an inherent problem with the design, based on what I've seen.

      From Wikipedia... "Slut shaming is defined by many as a process in which women are attacked for their transgression of accepted codes of sexual conduct,[5] i.e., of admonishing them for behavior or desires that are more sexual than society finds acceptable.[6] Emily Bazelon says that slut shaming is "retrograde, the opposite of feminist. Calling a girl a slut warns her that there's a line: she can be sexual but not too sexual."[7]

      Many have stated that slut shaming is used against women by both men and women.[8] Jessica Ringrose has argued that it functions among women as a way of sublimating sexual jealousy "into a socially acceptable form of social critique of girls' sexual expression."