Thus far, the responses are:
Informant 1 reflects, "The butt is a study in contradictions. Most women long for their butt to be smaller, rounder, tighter, while men seem to think that big is beautiful. The butt is very useful on the stage and dance floor, clenching it lets you spin faster and have more balance, while sticking it out and shaking it gives you the confidence of Beyonce!"
Informant 2 asks, "What is the butt? My personal cushion I bring with me wherever I go. The largest muscle in my body, it keeps me from falling over as I trot around on these two legs. Socially? It is an acceptable thing for others to grab and hang onto (if I know you). Gives me a little thrill every time someone does. But my butt is still MINE. My butt is not a ghetto booty, but it still likes to shake and dance."
A more musically inclined person, Informant 3 notes, "Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is "Baby Got Back." The second thing that comes to mind is that I do not, though I am rarely bothered by a lack of moneymaker to shake. I shake it anyway."
Informant four finds butts (maybe her rear) problematic:
"here's my take on the butt:
I've never really been a huge fan of the butt in general. Probably because after I hit puberty at the end of my sophomore year in highschool, it just seemed to get in the way of my cross country and track events (not that my butt is gigantic, but we're talking pre-10th grade :)). I don't have an aversion to big butts on other people, but I have never understood the reasons behind their sex appeal, probably because I'm from Hawaii, the land of the small Asian butts."
Informant five finds that rears can be in one's face and maybe even in one's mind:
"I think that society thinks of butts as kind of like a walking personal add that others can see, read, decide whether or not they'd like to "tap that" without actually testing out the goods, and then fantasize about it (which leads to fantasies involving other aspects of the other person). For example, John may glance at Jessica's ass, and if he decides that he likes it, he will stare at it and think about having sex with Jessica. However, if John does not find Jessica's ass particularly attractive, there will be no significant response, and he will act like it isn't even there. Another example is that when I was thinner (and considered myself more attractive at the time... but that isn't the point of this discussion), I would make an effort not to wear anything ass-tight, or to ensure my ass was covered if I knew that I would be in a situation where I REALLY did not want the people I would be with to get any ideas.
My ass is also a source of my frustrations because I consider mine to be large, and I have difficulty finding clothes that will fit it properly."