An Ode to Outies

 Stop me if you have heard any of these comments before. “Eww, she has an outie, that’s so gross!” “She’s hot, except for that outie!” “I hate outies, they remind me of that scene from “Alien”!” Yes, chances are if someone has an “outie” bellybutton and has it on display for all to see, someone else has to point it out (no pun intended) and go on a mini rant about how they can’t stand the sight of it. Frankly, I think such behavior is childish and belongs in grade school. In my opinion, we need to stop all this senseless outie shaming.

   Now, let’s be clear, there is a certain tribal aspect to why outies get so much hate. The world population of people with outie bellybuttons is anywhere between 10-20%, so naturally, the majority is going to pick on the minority. And yes, I can understand that certain people are put off by certain visuals, such as moles, freckles, and “skin tags”. I myself was born with a skin tag on my left ear lobe, so it looked like I was wearing a brown earring, but my parents had it removed later on in my youth. And I do know the feeling of finding someone attractive, yet one little feature is distracting them from said beauty, like say, an otherwise beautiful woman with a skin tag on her eyelid. But in the case of outies, I think it’s a matter of people making a mountain out of a molehill.

   When people say they hate outies, they are thinking of an extreme, usually a bellybutton that sticks all the way outside of the stomach. In other words, they are mistaking a hernia for an outie. It is rare for outies to be that large or protruding; most of them are about the size of a marble and rest about even surface with the stomach. Granted, there are factors that can make a bellybutton turn inside out and become the hernia I just described. The two most common are pregnancy and exercise. In both cases, the abdominal wall or the abdominal muscles are being pushed outwards, and this pushes the internal bellybutton skin along with it. The result is the bellybutton becoming an outie, and in some cases, when combined with fitness training, you get the completely inside out, tube-like outie. See for example, TV hostess Kelly Ripa or crossfit athlete Cary Kepler.

   But having a regular-sized outie is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, many celebrity women have found success, even if they had this feature. The first example would be Raquel Welch. She was a major sex symbol of the 60s and 70s, made famous by the movie “One Million Years BC”, in which she spent her entire screen time in a fur bikini; her unique outie on constant display. Now granted, Welch gave birth twice before her rise to fame, so we may never know if her outie was natural, or the result of childbirth, but either way, her unusual bellybutton didn’t stop her from living in bikinis throughout her multi-decade acting and modeling career. Playboy Magazine even named her “The Sexiest Woman Alive” at the height of her fame. Not bad for a MILF with an unconventional bellybutton.

   Not until the 90s came around did we have another female celebrity who would bare her outie bellybutton. It was then when Toni Braxton made her debut, and with it, her sizeable outie. She was still considered a very beautiful and sexy woman, as she went on to make chart-topping hits and collect Grammy awards. During the tale-end of the decade, we had innie bellybutton bearers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, but we also had T-Boz and Chili from the Grammy winning girl band, TLC, popular actresses Katie Holmes (Dawson’s Creek), Mena Suvari (American Beauty), Victoria Pratt (Xena: Warrior Princess), Gabrielle Union (Bring It On), and fashion model Kate Moss, all showing off their outies every chance they could.

   Granted, that was twenty years ago, and those celebrities have run out of their fifteen minutes of fame. However, there are a few current actresses with outie bellybuttons, yet have found significant success nonetheless. The best example would be AnnaLynne McCord, of “90210” fame. AnnaLynne is never shy about her little outie, displaying it in bikinis during her vacation time, or wearing any number of revealing outfits on “90210” (including a homage to the infamous Princess Leia metal bikini), or just wearing cropped tops while out in public and posing for a magazine editorial. There was even a scene in her movie “Excision”, in which there was an extreme close-up of her outie as her character examined it. Not to have it surgically altered into an innie, but simply to realign it on her stomach. It’s come to a point that it’s hard to recognize her without her bellybutton showing. Since “90210” has been canceled, AnnaLynne has had steady work in film and television to this day.

   And then, of course, there’s the one business where beauty is all the importance, the fashion industry. Back in the day, it was unheard of for fashion models to have outie bellybuttons. I mentioned Kate Moss before, but it seems even she gave in and had her outie surgically made into an innie. This is no longer the case these days. Many of today’s top paid models like Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio have given birth twice each, and have gone from innie to outies and inbetweenies as a result. But there are a fair share of models who naturally have outies, since as Izabel Goulart, Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid, Josephine Skriver, Jasmine Tookes, Monika Jagaciak, Lais Ribeiro, and Sara Sampaio. All of these women have either appeared on the runways of the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion shows or in the pages of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

   Of course, all those models I listed are owners of either shallow innies, and marble-sized outies, far from the gnarly outies that seem to gross out critics of such bellybuttons. No, when it comes to truly unsual outie bellybuttons, look no farther than Emily Ratajkowski. Emily is like a living work of art, as if she was created into existence via “Weird Science”. However, she has quite the large and gnarly outie bellybutton. Did this hurt her modeling career? Not at all! In fact, in the past two or three years alone, she was featured in music videos for Taio Cruz’s “Fast Cars”, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, and Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody”. She’s been on the cover of GQ, Cosmopolitan, and FHM, and has twice been featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She’s appeared opposite Sara Jean Underwood in a Carl’s Jr. ad, opposite Taylor Kitsch in a “Duty of Duty: Advanced Warfare” ad, and beat out Jennifer Lawrence to be named Esquire Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” for 2013. She has also transitioned into acting, appearing in the films “Gone Girl”, “Entourage”, and “We Are Your Friends”. There’s probably a good chance she’ll rank in the Top 10 of this year’s Maxim’s Hot 100 List. All this while wearing as many cropped tops and bikinis in public, totally unashamed by the knot in the center of her tummy.

   My point is that if women with outie bellybuttons can go on to win music awards, have steady work in the acting or modeling industry, or even be considered the Sexiest Woman Alive, I’m pretty sure the berating of outie bellybuttons has become irrelevant. Having a little extra piece of skin didn’t stop these women from achieving their goals. So ladies, whenever you feel uncomfortable about wearing that cropped top or bikini because it leaves your outie bellybutton bare, don’t worry about. Your outies are not gross, they are unique, and anyone who says otherwise is shallow and closed-minded. You should love the skin you are in

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