Butt cracks

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past few years, you’ll have noticed that our culture is awash with butt cracks. This is a trend I first reported on back in 2002, when I noticed that Madonna was wearing pants that stopped half way up her ass.

Perhaps the best known butt crack is the one revealed by the Coppertone Girl. The ad, first revealed in 1946, shows a young girl at the beach with her bottom pulled down by her dog. The idea was to show the difference between finely-bronzed Coppertone skin and pasty-white covered up skin.


As you can see in the picture above, the original Coppertone Girl revealed pretty much her full butt. Oh, those were innocent times. Recent versions of the iconic ad show far less of the girl’s behind, reducing it down to a small crack not unlike what you see on teenage girls on Ste. Catherine street on any given warm day. I suppose one must keep up with the times. After all, a full ass in the face is a bit rude — it’s a bit like being “mooned.” But a little butt crack can be cute.

Imagine my surprise a few days ago when I happened upon a Coppertone display at my local pharmacy. Behold, the mutant Coppertone Girl! It appears she has a single buttock, sans crack!

where's the crack?!

That’s just stupid. No doubt some fearful corporate types are worried that their 60-year-old little girl will somehow attract hoards of perverts who will hang around pharmacies with their hands in the pockets of their baggy pants and will not even buy the product. This, despite the massive proliferation of free perversions, both legal and illegal, available online and offline.

Do we need to see the butt crack in order to get the message that Coppertone is a suntan lotion? No, of course not. But do we want to live in a society that is so fearful and paranoid that even a well known iconic image like that is considered potentially dangerous and offensive? I don’t think so.

15 thoughts on “Butt cracks

  1. Some junky must have smoked it!

  2. I fully agree on the silliness of the political correctness, but the other interesting thing is the change in society’s attitude toward tans! Clearly, from looking at the munchkin in question, they’re no longer selling suntan lotion, but sunscreen – she’s got essentially no tan!

  3. Light & Dark, that’s right. And it’s funny that someone called “Light & Dark” pointed that out. :-)

  4. Jodie Foster began her acting career at the age of two as the Coppertone girl in a TV commercial. I’ve found the reference in Wickipedia but I’ve never seen the picture of her butt.

  5. Not sure wht type of posing Jodie Foster was doing at the age of 2, however her butt et al has had plenty of exposure over the years. Her role as a twleve year old prostitute in Scorsese’s Taxi Driver is particularly poignant to this discussion regarding the volatile mix of sex, selling and children.

    My heart goes out for the dog in the add. He’s looking a lot more salt & pepper than in the original. Sixty years of hanging on to a bathing suit bottom. ( I believe the original family snapshot invoved a diaper) What’s that in dog years? Time to upgrade with the Taco Bell Chihuahua and start cross-selling free Chalupa’s with each lotion purchase. Yo Quero Coppertone!

  6. You should see the long (and I mean long) discussion threads on Flickr, debating whether or not it’s “safe” to post pictures of one’s own half or fully naked kids on Flickr. (I’ve even been “warned” against posting pictures of myself as a child ‘sans’ clothes.) People have even debated whether or not it’s “ok” to post pictures of naked newborn babies. Soon, I swear people will want to censor sonograms y’know “just in case”.

    I half understand safeguarding the identity and location of children. That’s basic caution. But, what gets me is that this is more often an attempt to somehow control what goes on in the minds of others. As if any true perversion could be quelled by censorship, or cured by denial. I remember a blogger long ago creating a big stir (back when that was possible and blogs were counted in the thousands) when she defended the death penalty, saying that she would want it for child rapists in order to keep them from fantasizing about and re-living the crimes in their minds. It was very telling to see how many people agreed with her. We’re becoming a society that doesn’t only settle for ‘right’ behaviour but is obsessing over ‘right’ thinking as well.

  7. Yeah, sorry to get off-topic, but when I videotape my 4-year-old son, I try to be careful to not be getting shots of him standing up in the bath. Not that it’s wrong–for Christ’s sake, it’s my baby son! He takes a bath! And he’s naked! But the way society has gone — maybe not wrongly so, in the light of the Rise Of The Internet Predator — one could possibly be prosecuted for possessing videotapes of such activity! It’s mind-boggling, but true.

    I’m still not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I think it’s ridiculous that one should feel weird about photographing or videotaping one’s own child in “non-clothing” situations, but on the other hand, I definitely see the pervs coming out of their holes to view this stuff. We definitely live in a different age from our parents, don’t we?

  8. It’s an interesting question of whether sex and nudity should be publically considered less tabou.

    In Europe it’s more open, but I’ve seen fully dressed men casually walking around in circles next to topless beaches and had fellow female students encounter men in their train cabin self gratifying themselves. It’s like legalizing drugs. There’s less of a interest since it’s not tabou, but it still has some drawbacks.

  9. I’m still surprised how uptight North-America is about nudity. Before coming to Québec I had thought the attitude toward nudity would be more relaxed, but I’m not really sure about that. It took me a while before I found a nude beach here, which surprised me, coming from Europe where they are plentiful and where on every beach girls sunbathe topless.

    And I noticed the prudery affect me too, because I last week I had a long discussion with my girlfriend if it was okay to put naked pictures of her on my blog. She was fine with it, but I’m still hesitant.

  10. So they removed the crack (and the tan, as pointed out already) but they’re OK with her remaining topless?


  11. Howdy!

    You were a little prescient, Joyce Ballantyne Brand (the artist who created the original) died last Monday (the 15th).

    If you want to read the obit, try this.

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