Why do we have a butt? Well, it’s not just for the convenience of a portable seat cushion. This week, we have a conversation with our Contributing Editor Heather Radke, who has spent the last several years going deep on one of our most noticeable surface features. She’s been working on a book called Butts, a Backstory and in this episode, she tells us about a fascinating history she uncovered that takes us from a eugenicist’s attempt in the late 1930s to concretize the most average human, to the rise of the garment industry, and the pain and shame we often feel today when we go looking for a pair of pants that actually fit.
Special thanks to Alexandra Primiani and Jordan Rodman
Reported by Heather Radke
Produced by Matt Kielty
Original music and sound design contributed by Matt Kielty and Jeremy Bloom
Mixing by Jeremy Bloom
Fact-checking by Emily Krieger
You can Pre-order Heather’s book “Butts: A Backstory” here (https://zpr.io/QVFVLTTW9vpN)
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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Are people "butt"-hurt over the commentary?! Sorry, couldn't resist. But, seriously, this was BARELY scratching the surface of the intersection between US White-centric fashion industry standards and the social and socioeconomic ramifications of having a certain body shape.
really interesting but I can see how men would find it boring. wish hosts wouldnt interrupt so much
Interesting findings. That's why I love Torrid plus size clothing because they use "everyday" women with different body types as their fit models. it's really cool as a business model.
I tuned in after giving radio lab a year break and this is just disappointing.
this is the most shallow radiolab episode available. I miss the science and coy banter between the old co hosts. Robert and Jad, RIP.