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. Mooning often is taken further, where it turns from gesture to assault. This is known as a "pressed ham", where the said person forces his buttocks onto the face of the victim or a window.
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 among students at universities in the United States.
In various countries and cultures
Whakapohane is the Māori practice of baring one's buttocks with the intent to offend. It is as offensive in Māori as in Pākehā culture — symbolises the birthing act and renders the recipient noa ("base").
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".
- At the Siege of Nice, in the summer of 1543, Catherine Ségurane, a common washerwoman, led the townspeople into battle. Legend has it that she took the lead in defending the city by standing before the invading forces and exposing her bare bottom.
- 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.
- An example of whakapohane was performed by Dun Mihaka to Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles during the 1983 royal tour of New Zealand.
- 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 (MAM). 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.
- A tradition of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers Mooning the Cog has developed on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mooning.|
- Nester, Daniel (2009). How to be Inappropriate. Counterpoint Press. ISBN 978-1593762537.
- McLaren, Angus (1997). The Trials of Masculinity: Policing Sexual Boundaries, 1870-1930. University of Chicago Press. p. 186.
- "Moon". The Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
- Forrest Wickman (June 27, 2012). "Mooning: A History". browbeat: Slate's culture blog. Slate.com. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- "Part 3 - A Collection of Behaviours, Philosophies, Emotions and Cultural Influences". He Hinatore ki te Ao Maori A Glimpse into the Maori World. New Zealand Ministry of Justice Tahu o te Ture. March 2001. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Londoño, Ernesto (January 4, 2006). "Mooning Deemed 'Disgusting' but No Crime in Md.". Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). p. B01. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- "Judge rules 'mooning' is not illegal in Md.". The News Journal, redistributed from the Associated Press. January 6, 2006. p. B6.
- "In re Dallas W. (2000) 85 Cal. App. 4th 937 [102 Cal.Rptr.2d 493]".
- Bloom, James J. (2010). The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D. 66-135: A Military Analysis. McFarland. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7864-4479-3.
- Josephus, Flavius (80); Whiston, William, translator (1737). "The Wars Of The Jews Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem, Book II, Chapter 12". sacred-texts.com. Evinity Publishing Inc.
- Queller, Donald E.; Madden, Thomas F.; Andrea, Alfred J. (2000). The Fourth Crusade. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-8122-1713-1.
As the ships pulled away from the shore the Greeks on the walls hooted and jeered at the defeated attackers. Some of them let down their clouts and showed their bare buttocks in derision to the fleeing foe.
- Tenzer Feldman, Ruth (2008). The Fall of Constantinople. Connecticut: Twenty-First Century Books. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8225-5918-4.
- "Battle of Crécy". California Archery. 2002. Retrieved February 4, 2006.
- Jarymowycz, Roman Johann (2007). Cavalry from Hoof to Track. Praeger. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-275-98726-8. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
- Axtell, James (1992). Beyond 1492:Encounters in Colonial North America. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-19-508033-5.
- "Californians bare bottoms for passing trains". BBC News. July 11, 2010.
- Liss, Sheldon (2005). "Mooning Amtrak Trains, Southern California USA". Retrieved 2006-02-04.
- Mike Kay (April 2011). "Book Review “Whakapohane”". The Spark. Workers Party New Zealand. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- 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)
- Tatum, Charles (March 29, 2003). Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge. eFilmCritic.com
- "Cheeky anarchists in palace protest". BBC. August 3, 2000.
- "Officials Charge Hikers Who Moon Cog Railway". WLBZ 2. Associated Press. November 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- Adams MD, Patch (July 26, 2009). "May - July 09: Guatemala, Brazil, Gaza, DC, Albuquerque". patchadams.org. Gesundheit Institute.
- Susman, Gary (June 20, 2001). "News Summary: Class Act". Entertainment Weekly.
- Wickman, Forrest. Mooning: A history. When did people start baring their butts as an insult?. Slate. June 27, 2012
- Wilkes, Sam. Mooning In Movies: A Supercut Everyone Can Get Behind (NSFW VIDEO). The Huffington Post. July 17, 2013