Something I never reckoned with before: apparently the flaunting of feminine navels is a recent trend that was once considered controversial. Having lived most of my life in the Britney Spears Epoch, I was not aware of this historical omphalophobia (fear of belly buttons). But it apparently was once the case; actresses in old movies when wearing two-piece outfits were careful to cover their offending navels with high-riding bottoms or navel jewels. Yes, Kim Novak and Joan Collins demurely covered theirs with navel jewels; and some cast members of Gilligan's Island did likewise. Even the old beach movies like Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo featured nary a belly button. Yes, even Walt Disney movies went to the tune, "Yes, We Have No Navels"; not until The Little Mermaid were they different.
Advice columnist Ann Landers came out against navel exposure as bad taste.
Even in these more open times, Taylor Swift generated some further curiosity and controversy by deliberately avoiding exposing her navel. Apparently, if nowadays, people notice that they never saw it, they begin to wonder why. I think the astute Ms. Swift managed another publicity coup by doing a subtle mini-Garboesque move. (Taylor Swift has abundantly demonstrated that she is smarter than the average bear!) In short, she was messing with people.
A little factoid about navels (umbilicuses): about 90% have "innies," about 10% have "outies." Having an "outie" or an "innie" apparently is not an overwhelming handicap to an acting or modeling career; however, some women have opted for umbilicoplasty (navel surgery) for esthetic reasons. Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that a vertically ovoid umbilicus in a 54-46 ratio was the most pleasing.
So who was the first major navel flaunter? Apparently, it was Brigitte Bardot. Was that the less-cited reason why And God Created Woman achieved such notoriety, or was it from The Girl in the Bikini?
Now this omphalophobia seems to be restricted to feminine navels. Guys can display theirs without blame. Could the open display of feminine belly buttons nowadays be a by-product of the feminist movement? This is something to contemplate before the 2016 swimsuit season.
Who knows, maybe 2016 may be the last hurrah of the openly-displayed umbilicus. God knows what the new political landscape will allow.
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