My slightly conservative significant other surprised me the other day when, out of a clear blue sky and apropos of absolutely nothing he said, “Have you ever heard of twerking?” Well no, I live in a bubble most of the time and so, not surprisingly I hadn’t. He then typed a name that I don’t remember and probably shouldn’t say anyway into YouTube and there was this attractive and very amply endowed young woman shaking her generous assets to the music.
Have you seen that very funny Terry Crews commercial for Old Spice with him twitching his chest and ab muscles in time to music? Well this gal can do that with her butt! And, it is just as funny. When I finally stopped laughing and wiped the tears from my eyes it dawned on me that this was perhaps not intended to be a joke. So I actually listened to the lyrics – “my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun”. Seriously? I am highly skeptical of the suggestion that his discriminating “anaconda” would flatly refuse to take notice of a skinny girl “twerking” but it is true that this particular gal did have a unique spin on it. Wikipedia describes twerking as “a type of dancing in which an individual, usually a female, dances to music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low squatting stance.” They don’t say anything about the ability to work either buttock individually so I’m pretty sure that’s special.
But, all joking aside, does this not epitomize the downright foolishness of North American sensibilities that we can revel in blatantly raunchy displays of sexuality while simultaneously resorting to childish euphemisms like “anaconda” and “buns”? And maybe that is the joke.
It brings to mind a book I read recently called, “What French Women Know” by Debra Ollivier in which she talks quite extensively about the more open and matter-of-fact attitude French women have toward their physicality in general. She references French philosopher Roland Barthes who took particular notice of the difference between French and American toys. The American dolls being prudishly devoid of gender or hint of biological function while at the same time (this was 1957) the French toys in his words, “literally prefigure the world of adult functions” and “prepare the child to accept them all by constituting for him, even before he can think about it, the alibi of Nature”.
Ms. Ollivier’s comment was particularly succinct “Could it stand to reason that children who grow up with the realities of the body are primed to be less childlike and more matter-of-fact about sexuality as adults? Could it be that this offsets the extremes in America, where we swing on a vine between hard-core voyeurism and tee-hee giggliness about the body?”
This particular video demonstrates that pendulum swing exceedingly well and if Ms. Ollivier can be believed, what French women know is that it is just plain silly.