First, there was planking, then nutscaping, now Cheeky Exploits is taking Instagram by storm.
Their mission is a simple one, ‘making the world happier, through butts’, encouraging travelling millennials to submit pictures of their backsides in exotic locations.
There’s no doubt as the account grows you’ll start seeing more of it, maybe even have a bit of a giggle.
But before you get too excited I’d like to remind you that an account like this is actually problematic in practice.
Completely ready to embrace the account as a bit of light-hearted fun, I began scrolling down the feed looking at the butts (an average day on the Metro Lifestyle desk). There were butts in idyllic rainforests, tanned bodies with blindingly white butts on mountain tops, sculpted butts attached to tanned bodies holding surfboards…
I had scrolled for a good five minutes before I realised something. Bar one or two slightly (and I stress, SLIGHTLY) curvier women, I’d just been looking at the same backside over and over again.
All of the women could be models in some kind of hot, hipster travel magazine or an Instagram celebrity.
The only place there seems to be any real diversity on the account was in the men featured, and even then it’s pretty sparse – maybe one or two larger men, a few flat dude butts dotted throughout, but that’s it.
Accounts like this, that claim to be an aspirational, fun way of helping to spread the body positivity message can actually cause a lot more harm than good when they only show one kind of body over and over again.
In my opinion, online accounts which fall into a category of ‘spreading the love’ need to start being more responsible with their online exhibitionism.
Any picture featuring a woman has at least double the likes of those pictures featuring a man.
One commenter acknowledges this, saying ‘Cracks me up how the female butts get 6k-10k likes, and the male butts get under 1k. You gotta take a page out of Tina’s book on Bob’s Burgers: all butts are beautiful! Free the butts!’
Free the butts, indeed.
Obviously, the account has no control over who will like what photo and perhaps in time this sort of reaction will balance out. However, it serves as a reflection of the (intended or not) sexualisation of the women’s backsides pictured.
Read the comments for yourself, and you’ll see the difference in the way people react depending on which gender is being shown, meaning there are still some kinks that need to be worked out in the accounts message and so many others like.
Showing nothing but the backsides of cookie-cutter travel hipster types is not enough to, ‘spread the love.’
As curators of an account that is growing quickly in popularity, Cheeky Exploits have a responsibility to make sure their message is coming across clearly.
Having the ability to personalise your message is one of the best things about starting a campaign or project on social media, you have the power to affect change. If you want to be celebrating butts – celebrate all butts.
I’m all for butt positivity, I don’t think this is it.
A reply from Cheeky Exploits
I am cheeky exploits, and I would prefer to remain anonymous, but I am a 31-year-old married woman living in London. I have from the beginning run this account on my own and I continue to do so!
The entire account was started as just a fun thing that I did with my husband and friends and was never meant to have anything to do with travelling or the ‘trend’ that it seems to have evolved into since the media picked it up. We did it just as a funny, thrill and for a very long time I can remember saying, ‘my dream is for a stranger to send me a picture of their butt,’ and the first time it happened I was over the moon! Since that first butt was sent to me I have not had a shortage of content to post and continue to occasionally do ones of me because it’s just fun!
It has been slightly upsetting to see that it has been typically stricken as a page with, as you worded it, ‘‘hot, toned, yogi types.’ I have tried incredibly hard to convince many types of butts to participate but at the end of the day I can only post what content I actually have and these are simply the type of ‘butts’ that are sent to me.
I always wanted this account to be for everyone! Butts are butts and the only photos that I turn away are not because of their size or colour but simply because I do have a certain aesthetic look that I want to keep with my photos (I have always enjoyed photography and also use this page as a way to showcase photos that I take) so I don’t post photos that are blurry, grainy, too up close, sexual, etc.
I was inspired to start it after a friend showed me their friend’s account, which was a similar light-hearted account about butts in public. I loved the idea so much I thought I would try it with my own spin.
Butts for me have always just been funny and literally, everyone in the world has one so I have never seen it as overtly sexual or inappropriate so that is really the reason behind it being my focus. It’s all about fun and being a bit daring.
As far as where I want this page to go, I want to spread as much love and body positivity as possible and literally just try to add a bit of joy and happiness to this very scary time that we are living in! I would love more than anything to start receiving more diverse photos so if anything comes from this article I hope it is that people understand that the entire purpose of this page was spreading love and body confidence and body positivity and that the media has assumed that I have not included more diversity on purpose, when in fact I would love nothing more than to receive more of it!
And I haven’t really put too much thought into who I would love to feature on my page but I would say off the top of my head people I love right now that would be really cool to get a photo from would be Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Tina Fey because I am absolutely obsessed with these women and think they are about as funny as it gets and think they would come up with a great one! I also admittedly have a girl crush on Ruby Rose so that would be pretty cool!