It has been a while since I posted to our blog, because as many of you know, I have been in transition- moving from Belgrade, Serbia, back to Columbus, Ohio to finish my final year of graduate school. With that in mind, I am dealing with all of the struggles and frustrations of international moves whilst maintaining a career as a junior scholar. This struggle is exemplified in this week’s major Sartorial Scholar task- to find a few outfits to wear at my first-ever international conference presentation. Or as I like to think of it- the search for professional pants.

When I was packing up my things in Belgrade, I foolishly left all of my “professional clothes” at my flat- thinking that I’d have things stored in my Columbus storage place that I could draw from. This error was realized yesterday when every pair of pants I tried on were too big or not dressy enough. Carless, crunched for time, and annoyed, I made the mile and a half journey by foot to the Target/Old Navy strip mall to find some “grown up” pants.

(Examples of pants I tried on. Clockwise, Top Merona crop (Target), Harper crop (Old Navy), Merona Gaucho crop (Target). All of these looked terrible on my abnormally muscular thighs.

For many women with a pronounced butt, finding pants that look both dressy and professional is a struggle. This is in part due to the perpetual sexualization of women “with curves,” which cannot be divorced from patriarchal and white supremacist beauty norms in the U.S. As women, our bodies are perpetually scrutinized and on display- even in the academy. Despite the fact that I work mostly in feminist and body positive spaces, spending 30+ years being socialized to constantly monitor and thinking about my body shape, presentation, and how I carry myself manifests itself in a near breakdown in the bright red and blue dressing rooms of big box stores.

pixie pant
Pattern Pixie Crop Pant from Old Navy

After trying on almost a dozen pair of pants at Target and Old Navy, I found a pair of pants at Old Navy that fit and look nice for the most part, but I left feeling discouraged, insecure, and tired of having a body that is always under public scrutiny. The pants compliment my go-to androgynous look, but they’re still a bit tight around my butt. Per usual, I will have to embrace my (slight) curves and suck it up.

Pics of said pants and conference wear to come. In the meantime, I will once more say fuck you to the patriarchy, and wear my boyfriend jeans with holes in them and my stained t-shirts.