Nov 11, 2022

Butt Stuff

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

Episode Credits:
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 (

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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.

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