Over the last couple of days, there’s been a lot of dialog about selfies – quick snapshots of oneself, posted to the internet for the sole purpose of showing off, well, yourself. While a conversation about the merits of selfies is entirely warranted, not enough scrutiny is being placed on a much more specific, curious type of selfie – the assie.
For the unfamiliar, an assie is a picture of your anus, usually taken from a flattering angle. Often, they’ll show off a recent bleach job or perhaps a wax, but just as often, all we are looking at is a slightly puckered, unremarkable asshole. There’s barely anything in the picture to distinguish one anus from the next, and if it weren’t attached to an account, you would have no idea who you were even looking at. It would just be another asshole.
While it would seem like a largely innocuous and banal issue, critical thought won’t allow us to accept it as such. No, there has to be more to this. Why are young women across the entire world (western Europe, Australia, US, and Canada) dropping trow and pointing a lens at their chocolate starfish? Is it cultural narcissism? Is it feminism? Is it the patriarchy? Or is it just good plain ole fun?
The feminist camp, as always, is torn on the issue. The very point of feminism is to elevate women above all other genders, passively trumpet racial equality in your downtime, and streamline access to celebrity gossip. It would seem that the assie would fit perfectly with this agenda – one assie is indistinguishable from the next, and they’re ambiguously sexual while maintaining the ability and potentiality to shit all over anything at any moment. So what’s not to like? Well, a lot, according to several feminist voices.
“The assie is a affirmation of the patriarchy’s message to young women,” says Lorna Blauhardt, professor of Black People at the Granola College of the Mountains. “Girls are told they are nothing more than their anus. They’re told what to cover it with, what to put in it, even what color it should be. Victoria’s Secret? What do you think that’s a euphemism for? It’s her asshole, obviously.”
“Can an assie be empowering? Possibly, but not yet,” adds feminist blogger Erica Gloria-Hole. “Until we live in a society where women aren’t expected to wipe or bleach – until we’re seeing girl’s assholes the way they should be, it’s nothing more than exploitation.”
Some are quick to criticize this assessment. Preeminent feminist Windy Lez, both an intellectual and physical giant, sees the assie as the greatest thing to happen in women’s liberation since Ryan Gosling. “Most women never even see their asshole. We live in a world that shames women for having assholes. When a woman takes an assie, she affirms that not only does she shit and fart like boys, but that she’s not ashamed of her anus. She’s proud of it, she knows it’s beautiful.”
Many agree with this sentiment. In fact, many takers of assies feel that it’s their only form of validation. Somehow these completely untalented, bland individuals who derive zero sense of satisfaction from their work or interpersonal relationships still feel entitled to acclaim and constant adoration. In turn, they need to post pictures of their asshole online to counteract the effects of the extremely crushing and competitive society we live in.
But is this body-positive self affirmation, or is it just narcissism? Outside of feminism, in the real world, are assies anything more than just a picture of your anus? We shouldn’t be so quick to label every act of teenage indulgence as empowerment or oppression. After all, it’s just a picture of their asshole, right?
Something can’t be empowering if it’s not bestowing power upon someone. Power is a factor of inequality, and there really isn’t anything more equal than an asshole. Everyone has one, and everyone has the ability to take a picture of it. To try to elevate yourself using something so inherently powerless is, well, an asshole move. To show the world your asshole isn’t a statement affirming your equitable inclusion among the world of assholes, it’s a statement of superiority – you’re saying, “my asshole deserves to be seen more than the other assholes!” We already assumed you had an asshole, you didn’t need to show us, and it’s not anything to be proud of.
Perhaps pictures of assholes, just like the assholes themselves, albeit ubiquitous, are best left ignored. There’s a reason biology hid them so well.