February 11, 2006


More silly studies and this one is entirely arse end about.

(This post is dedicated to Major Anya, for reasons that are no-one’s business but hers.)

Yes, a concerned group of scientists are in the process of answering the truly important, world changing question “does my bum look big in this?” (The Age, 27 December 2005)

It’s a question I have never been asked, by anyone, not by man, women or child.

It’s a question I have never asked of anyone either, although I can think of a few outfits – ah, but there ya go, I didn’t need to ask anyone’s opinion, because I can still remember that patterned, woolen winter skirt, totally “in fashion”, but oh so hideous, and having only given birth six months beforehand, it was probably not a good choice, from any angle. It was quietly laid to rest, after one or two outings, without the need to seek a second opinion.

I’m prepared to be proven wrong here, but my thought has always been: if you have to ask the “does my bum look big in this” question, then you probably already have your answer. Either that or you’re one of those excruciatingly vain individuals who will use any excuse to be told by anyone of any gender what a fabulous bottom you have, or that you are merely fabulous all over. In which case, naff off, because no-one gives a toss whether your bum looks big or not, in fact, they probably long for the day when it does.

Another rule of thumb would be: if you’re big everywhere else, odds are, your bum is too, and no matter what you wear, your bum will look exactly the size that it is.

Of course, there is also that old-fashioned idea of looking in the mirror, but no cheating: don’t kid yourself that just because you don’t have three dimensional mirrors, and just because you’re looking over your shoulder, that the image is distorted, or exaggerated, or unflattering purely because of the angle. Trust me, it isn’t.

Perhaps you are a svelte and lovely lass, with serious denial “iss-th-ues” about your enormous, yet boney hips. Face facts: your bum looks big to everyone but you, no matter that you have no need to wear a bra to support your minus A-cup endowments.

On the other hand, there is the entirely valid problem of designers, who, for reasons no scientists has ever investigated, insist on creating clothing for women that will transform the most attractive and / or scrawniest of women into ridiculous looking bundles of unattractive bumps of unbearable physical and asthetic discomfort – not to mention big bottomss, where none previously existed, and where no-one, in their wildest imagination had thought it possible for an over-sized bottom to morph.

Certainly our Scottish scientists will be offering up precisely the type of advice that one would expect designers should already hold the world’s most refined expertise, but a five minute observation of people on any street will demonstrate that designers do not create clothes to flatter women.

Hence my belief that this study is arse end about: instead of playing into this almost demented myth that all women refuse to leave their homes without first enquiring of someone – anyone – does my bum look big in this? – they should be studying why designers are, apparently, incapable of noticing the unflattering nature of the cut, the fabric, the pattern, or the style of the clothing they make for the female form. It has all the markings of being quite pathological. That would be a worthwhile study.

Another worthwhile study would be one that can establish whether or not women the world over really do ask the question, of all and sundry, “does my bum look big in this?”, because I don’t believe they do, or if I am proven otherwise, they could then conduct a study on why it is that women are, apparently, obsessed with how their bottoms look, and yet they entirely disregard every one of their other body parts; every oozing bulge and bump and crevice so plainly screeching to be tucked, disguised, or hidden in some flattering manner.

But, back to the actual study, as opposed to my fantasies about what they should be studying; an array of “standard” bottoms have been selected: Head researcher, Dr Lisa Macintyre, says four models had been chosen to provide a sample of female rears.” Just in case you weren’t paying attention, let me repeat the sample size: FOUR models have been chosen; that’s one, two, three, four. Quick – run out onto the street and try to find FOUR representative female bottoms, four, and ONLY four, no cheating!

Despite the preposterous sample size, not to mention the bizarre notion of being able to identify and find any “standard” bottom, let alone four "standard" bottoms, I am particularly pleased that the scientists will be making use of a rare technology, one that others have never thought of applying to the “does my bum look big in this” question. Yes, extraordinary as it may seem, they will be combining sighted people and photographs and seeking an opinion on how the various bottoms look. In other words, people will use their eyes to look at bums covered in different fabrics, cuts, colours, textures, and so on. Who would have thought? Don’t try this in the privacy of your own homes kiddies; leave it in the safe hands of qualified scientists.


  1. Caz, after many years of studious attention to this particular topic, I humbly offer my opinion.

    It is a serious matter that doctors such as myself have sunken their teeth into, forgoing commercial considerations.

    Wearing one of my other hats, and oh there are so many, as a semi-pro photographer, it does not surprise me that someone wearing a white lab coat is completely ignorant about the philosophy and aesthetics of womens' bottoms. They are a spectrum. And there are dimensions of the spectrum. And they look different from different angles. And that is nothing to say about the difference in textures.

    I think I should offer my assistance to the team. Straight to the bottom of the class for me.

  2. All good and well Captain, but with only four bottoms at your disposal, a connoisseur such as your good self would be in need of additional research material all too soon.

  3. I would have to say you are right but still seek advise from husband.(which he feels the need to lie) LOL. I am compelled to ask if it is too big and I know the answer.LOL

  4. +5 insightful. Nicely spoken.

    btw does my bum look big in this?

  5. ...the bigger the sample the better the outcome. It would be a pure selfless act in the best interest of science.

  6. Caz: "enormous, yet boney hips"? Now that's funny.

    Psydoc: Your puns are really, really bad, even for a scientist.

    Ben: Yes.

  7. Psydoc: Did I say "puns"? I meant "buns". Ha!

  8. Anonymous1:51 PM

    My, errr, bottom and I thank you for this honour.

  9. Does my comment look big in this?

    Using four bottoms as "standard" is as ridiculous as pretending insecurities about the body can be contained in the one posterior area.

    By the way, whence comes "less than 10% of the information on the Internet has been indexed?" - not disputing just curious.

  10. jgm: my puns are horrible. Bummer!

  11. Deek - I read a serious article only recently, within the last two months, would be my guess; which I wish I'd kept, but if I kept every interesting article I'd be up to my neck in papers - wish I could provide some referenced quotes for you, but, alas, not.

    But, back to the point, the 10% may be too low; might have been less than 20%, on the other hand, may have been only 2% (though seriously, that sounds way too low).

    Still, it was a fraction only, and the article mentioned how long it would take to index all the data currently out there - forever, not in our lifetimes, not in our children's lifetimes. So, unless you have a direct URL, at least 80% (let us say for now) of information won't be available to you, not via any search engines. Given that more & more information is added to the Internet everyday, I would hazard a guess that the proportion being indexed won't ever rise to great heights; perhaps the best we can hope is that the percentage doesn't decrease.

    I'm not especially surprised by this; I read a fascinating article, at least 8 years ago, about all the data collected from space exploration - it's a bit like when the Holy Grail is put in an unmarked box in the basement of a government building at the end of one of the Indiana Jones films - most of the space data has NEVER been looked at, and I still recall very clearly the quotes from a scientist about how if we stopped collecting space data "today" it would take thousands of years to analyze the current data. His point almost seemed to be: hell, we could have discovered all sorts of things, but we don't know and we will never know, because we'll never have time to examine all of the data! And we continue to collect more data from space everyday, most of which, metaphorically, ends up in an unmarked box in a basement. It left quite an impression on me, as you will gather.

    Well, to my mind, data out there on the Internet is a bit like the space data, growing, growing, unrelentingly - we have access to only the tip, the easy bits perhaps, the popular bits, the fluffy bits. So much depth of information is probably out there, but we'll never be able to access it.

    Sorry I can't give you a reference.

  12. Captain - you really need your blog back again, to accommodate the proliferation of your puny puns, err, I mean buns.

  13. Yeah! What happened to the discussion about checking out women's backsides??

    The control group of 4 is pathetic as there are so many different sizes and shapes. There are some that are going to look big even if you look down a telescope the wrong way, so what does it prove?

    As far as clothes are concerned, there is fashion and there is style. Style never goes out of fashion, and a well-dressed woman always looks good (I guess can be said for a bloke who takes pride in himself (I'm still learning this one :)

    I'll never be one of these faggy metrosexuals though - there was a report on News.com.au about Valencrimes Day and how a bloke might spend $110 on "products" to spruce himself up with before he goes out on a first date. What kind of bar of soap and deoderant costs you $110?

    To finish... My favourite backside on a woman: one who dances. *drool* :)