Total eclipse of the moon
The author is a deputy industrial 1 team editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
“Mooning” is the act of displaying your buttocks to someone. It is considered an expression of scorn, ridicule or political protest. According to Wikipedia, the moon has been a common metaphor for buttocks in English since 1743, and showing your bare buttocks was considered an act of mockery in many countries since the Middle Ages. In the 1995 movie “Braveheart,” Scottish hero William Wallace and his supporters moon the English soldiers.
As mooning became popular among U.S. college students in the ’60s, it was included in the Oxford English Dictionary. Nevertheless, in a civilized society, showing your bare buttocks is a controversial act — it can be considered a crime or freedom of expression.
In 2006, a Maryland state circuit court acquitted a man indicted for mooning while fighting with a neighbor. 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,” and determined that “mooning is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment as a form of speech.”
At an official event for a political party, an act similar to mooning became controversial. “Bare” buttocks were not exposed, and it was technically not “mooning” as it was neither meant to ridicule the viewer nor did it contain a political meaning as protest.
Korea’s short track skaters were also involved in a controversy involving exposing someone’s buttocks. Yet as it was forcibly done by another, it is not related to “mooning.” Everyone has the freedom to decide whether to show their buttocks or not, but you also have the right to interpret the act yourself. I don’t want to waste time criticizing a childish act.
JoongAng Ilbo, June 28, Page 31