Mooning can be used to express disrespect.

Mooning is the act of displaying one's bare buttocks by removing clothing, e.g., by lowering the backside of one's trousers and underpants, usually bending over, whether also exposing the genitals or not. Mooning is used in the English-speaking world to express protest, scorn, disrespect, or provocation, or can be done for shock value, fun, or as form of exhibitionism. Some jurisdictions regard mooning to be indecent exposure, sometimes depending on the context.

Word history

Moon has been a common shape-metaphor for the buttocks in English since 1743, and the verb to moon has meant "to expose to (moon)light" since 1601.[1] As documented by McLaren, "'mooning', or exposing one's butt to shame an enemy [...] had a long pedigree in peasant culture" throughout the Middle Ages, and in many nations.[2] Formerly, "mooning" was slang for "wandering idly" and "romantically pining".[3] Although the practice of mooning was widespread by the 19th century, the Oxford English Dictionary dates the use of "moon" and "mooning" to describe the act to student slang of the 1960s, when the gesture became increasingly popular among students at universities in the United States.[4]

Mooning incidents

The legal position related to mooning varies between jurisdictions; some consider it indecent exposure, while others classify it as legal self-expression.

In various countries and cultures



In 2016, mooning in a public place in Victoria was made a criminal offence/ something for which you could be punished.[5]

New Zealand

Whakapohane is the Māori practice of baring one's buttocks with the intent to offend. It symbolises the birthing act and renders the recipient noa ("base").[6]

United States

Students at Stanford University conduct a "mass-mooning" in May 1995. This demonstration was in protest of censorship in the American media.

In 2006, a Maryland state circuit court determined that mooning is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment as a form of speech.[7][8] 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."[7]

Defense attorneys had cited a 1983 case of a woman who was arrested after protesting in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building wearing nothing but a cardboard sign that covered the front of her body. In that case, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals had ruled that indecent exposure is limited to a person's genitalia. No review of the case by a higher court took place since prosecutors dropped the case after the ruling.

In California, an appellate court found in 2000 that mooning does not constitute indecent exposure (and, therefore, does not subject the defendant to sex offender registration laws) unless it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the conduct was sexually motivated.[9]

Notable incidents of mooning

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mooning.


  1. Nester, Daniel (2009). How to be Inappropriate. Counterpoint Press. ISBN 978-1593762537.
  2. McLaren, Angus (1997). The Trials of Masculinity: Policing Sexual Boundaries, 1870-1930. University of Chicago Press. p. 186.
  3. "Moon". The Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
  4. Forrest Wickman (June 27, 2012). "Mooning: A History". browbeat: Slate's culture blog. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  5. "Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences) Act 2016", s24.
  6. "Part 3 - A Collection of Behaviours, Philosophies, Emotions and Cultural Influences". He Hinatore ki te Ao Maori A Glimpse into the Maori World. New Zealand Ministry of Justice Tahu o te Ture. March 2001. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  7. 1 2 Londoño, Ernesto (January 4, 2006). "Mooning Deemed 'Disgusting' but No Crime in Md.". Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. p. B01. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  8. "Judge rules 'mooning' is not illegal in Md.". The News Journal, redistributed from the Associated Press. January 6, 2006. p. B6.
  9. "In re Dallas W. (2000) 85 Cal. App. 4th 937 [102 Cal.Rptr.2d 493]".
  10. Bloom, James J. (2010). The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D. 66-135: A Military Analysis. McFarland. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7864-4479-3.
  11. Josephus, Flavius (80); Whiston, William, translator (1737). "The Wars Of The Jews Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem, Book II, Chapter 12". Evinity Publishing Inc.
  12. Queller, Donald E.; Madden, Thomas F.; Andrea, Alfred J. (2000). The Fourth Crusade. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-8122-1713-1. As the ships pulled away from the shore the Greeks on the walls hooted and jeered at the defeated attackers. Some of them let down their clouts and showed their bare buttocks in derision to the fleeing foe.
  13. Tenzer Feldman, Ruth (2008). The Fall of Constantinople. Connecticut: Twenty-First Century Books. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8225-5918-4.
  14. "Battle of Crécy". California Archery. 2002. Retrieved February 4, 2006.
  15. Jarymowycz, Roman Johann (2007). Cavalry from Hoof to Track. Praeger. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-275-98726-8. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  16. Axtell, James (1992). Beyond 1492:Encounters in Colonial North America. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-19-508033-5.
  17. "Californians bare bottoms for passing trains". BBC News. July 11, 2010.
  18. Liss, Sheldon (2005). "Mooning Amtrak Trains, Southern California USA". Retrieved 2006-02-04.
  19. Mike Kay (April 2011). "Book Review "Whakapohane"". The Spark. Workers Party New Zealand. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  20. Bellows, Alan (November 19, 2007). "Remember, Remember the 22nd of November", Damn Interesting. Retrieved on 2011-09-05.
  21. Wedell, Katie (November 6, 2008). "Five Favorite Pauly Shore Moments". Dayton Daily News (OH). p. GO28. 2. Audiences first get a view of Pauly's "south shore" when he moons the camera in "Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge.(WebCitation)
  22. Tatum, Charles (March 29, 2003). Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge.
  23. "Cheeky anarchists in palace protest". BBC. August 3, 2000.
  24. "Macy Gray - Manchester Apollo - 7.6.02". Designer Magazine. 7 June 2002. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  25. Youngs, Ian (November 17, 2005). "Legends turn out for Hall of Fame". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  26. "Police take no action over Barton incident". BBC Sport. October 4, 2006. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  27. "Moss pretended to moon crowd after scoring". ESPN. January 10, 2005. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  28. Adams MD, Patch (July 26, 2009). "May - July 09: Guatemala, Brazil, Gaza, DC, Albuquerque". Gesundheit Institute. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010.
  29. "Officials Charge Hikers Who Moon Cog Railway". WLBZ 2. Associated Press. November 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  30. "Oh. My. God. Yvette Fielding pulls a moonie on telly tonight". 10 May 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  31. "Yvette Fielding". YouTube. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  32. "Yvette Fielding". YouTube. 26 December 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  33. Malkin, Bonnie (October 24, 2011). "Queen mooned by construction worker in Brisbane". The Daily Telegraph. London.
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