Mooning is the art of displaying one's bare buttocks by removing clothing, e.g., by lowering the backside of one's trousers and underpants, usually bending over, whether also exposing the genitals or not. Mooning is used mostly in the English-speaking world to express protest, scorn, disrespect, or provocation but can also simply be done for shock value or fun. Some jurisdictions regard mooning to be indecent exposure, sometimes depending on the context.
Moon has been a common shape-metaphor for the buttocks in English since 1743, and the verb to moon has meant 'to expose to (moon)light' since 1601. As documented by McLaren, "'mooning', or exposing one's butt to shame an enemy [...] had a long pedigree in peasant culture" throughout the Middle Ages, and in many nations. Formerly, "mooning" was slang for "wandering idly" and "romantically pining." Although the practice of mooning was widespread by the 19th century, the Oxford English Dictionary dates the use of "moon" and "mooning" to describe the act to student slang of the 1960s, when the gesture became increasingly popular at among students at universities in the United States.
In Chilean Spanish, the act of mooning is known as cara pálida, lit. "Paleface".
Patrick Devine, 19, from County Donegal, Ireland was arrested on 27 July 2007 for allegedly dropping his trousers as a dare in Saint Louis, Senegal. Devine, a student of Queens University Belfast, spent one month in jail for his alleged actions.
In 2003 two British tourists were convicted and fined €920 each on indecent exposure charges for mooning.
In 2006, a Maryland state circuit court determined that mooning is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment as a form of speech. The court ruled that indecent exposure relates only to exposure of the genitals, adding that even though mooning was a "disgusting" and "demeaning" act to engage in, and had taken place in the presence of a minor, "If exposure of half of the buttocks constituted indecent exposure, any woman wearing a thong at the beach at Ocean City would be guilty."
Defense attorneys had cited a 1983 case of a woman who was arrested after protesting in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building wearing nothing but a cardboard sign that covered the front of her body. In that case, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals had ruled that indecent exposure is limited to a person's genitalia. No review of the case by a higher court took place since prosecutors dropped the case after the ruling.
In California, an appellate court found in 2000 that mooning does not constitute indecent exposure (and, therefore, does not subject the defendant to sex offender registration laws) unless it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the conduct was sexually motivated.
Notable incidents of mooning
- In 80, Flavius Josephus recorded the first known incident of mooning. Josephus recorded that in 66 AD, at around the beginning of the First Roman–Jewish War, a Roman soldier mooned Jewish pilgrims on their way to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, causing a riot, an over-response by the Roman military, and the deaths of thousands of pilgrims.
- In the Siege of Constantinople in 1204, the Greeks exposed their bare buttocks to the Crusaders after they repulsed them from the walls.
- During the Battle of Crécy in 1346, when king Edward III of England took Caen on the way to Crécy, several hundred Norman soldiers "exposed their backsides to the English archers and many of them paid a high price for doing so."
- A number of early explorers of the Atlantic coastline noted that the Etchemin tribe of Maine practiced this custom.
- Since 1979, The Annual Mooning of Amtrak has been an annual tradition in Laguna Niguel, California on the second Saturday of July, where many people spend the day mooning passing Amtrak trains; some passengers ride the trains that day to witness the event. This has inspired a chain of "train moonings" throughout the country.
- On November 22, 1987, an intruder interrupted the broadcast signal of Chicago PBS affiliate, WTTW with a strange video of himself dressed to resemble Max Headroom. He exposed his buttocks to the camera.
- Pauly Shore first mooned on film in Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge (1989) as his character, Buzz, tricks a mall guard into leaving his booth.
- In June 2000, a mass mooning event was organised outside of Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom by the Movement Against the Monarchy (M'AM). A large police presence prevented a large scale mooning, but a few individuals did so. This event is known as the Moon Against the Monarchy.
- On 7 June 2002, Macy Gray mooned the crowd during her performance at Manchester Apollo concert in Ardwick Green, Manchester, England.
- At the 2005 UK Music Hall of Fame awards ceremony, musician Ozzy Osbourne mooned the crowd after a set he played.
- In October 2006, English Premiership footballer Joey Barton was fined £2,000 for mooning Everton fans.
- A tradition of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers Mooning the Cog has developed on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
- On January 9, 2005, Randy Moss of the Minnesota Vikings pretended to moon Green Bay Packers fans following a touchdown he scored. He was fined $10,000 by the NFL for the incident.
- At the Patch Adams Full Moon Festival three-day event to raise money for his Gesundheit Institute! and Albuquerque, 200,000 people pay $100 each to moon as a group and lend a hand with local projects.
- On 10 May 2007, Yvette Fielding pulled a moonie out a Soho restaurant window on the final episode of the reality television series Deadline.
- On 24 October 2011, economic inequality protester Liam Warriner of Sydney ran alongside the motorcade of Queen Elizabeth II and a waving Prince Phillip for 50 metres with an Australian flag clenched between his exposed buttocks, before being accosted by police.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mooning|
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- Wedell, Katie (November 6, 2008). "Five Favorite Pauly Shore Moments". Dayton Daily News (OH). p. GO28. "2. Audiences first get a view of Pauly's "south shore" when he moons the camera in "Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge."(WebCitation)
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- Adams MD, Patch (July 26, 2009). "May - July 09: Guatemala, Brazil, Gaza, DC, Albuquerque". patchadams.org. Gesundheit Institute.
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- Malkin, Bonnie (October 24, 2011). "Queen mooned by construction worker in Brisbane". The Daily Telegraph (London).
Wickman, Forrest. Mooning: A history. When did people start baring their butts as an insult?. Slate. June 27, 2012