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)
Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!
Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.
Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.