The 1970s Political Activist who invented Penis Pants


1st Aug, 2013

Introducing Eldridge Clever, Presidential candidate, writer, political activist, a prominent early leader of the Black Panthers, oh and inventor of the penis pants.

One of those rare internet back alley gems, I came across this innovative design from the 1970s and just had to share it with you. The penis pants you never asked for, solve all sorts of problems according to their late inventor, Eldridge Cleaver, such as ‘fig-leaf mentality’.

“Clothing is an extension of the fig leaf — it put our sex inside our bodies,” Cleaver told Newsweek in 1975. “My pants put sex back where it should be.” The Black Panthers frontman and radical intellectual came up with the idea while living in Paris in exile after fleeing charges from a confrontation with the police in 1968.

He took out an ad in the classifieds of the International Herald Tribune seeking investors and manufacturers for his collection that outlined the wearer’s genitals in a ‘sock-like codpiece’. ”Millions in profits envisioned,” the advertisement read¹.

A campaign badge for Cleaver’s 1968 Presidential campaign. 

A controversial media figure and former Presidential candidate in 1968 for the Peace and Freedom Party, Eldridge took every opportunity to model the pants himself for the press, but few publications would print photographs of the provocative design.

Despite creating quite the stir on the 1970s male fashion scene, shockingly the penis pant was never a great commercial success. Cleaver’s outrageous design did little to help his reputation with the press, who were quick to paint the former revolutionary turned fashion designer as an ageing civil rights activist gone a little cuckoo.

So there you have it, penis pants.

It should also be noted that Eldridge Cleaver later became a Mormon.

Read his rather fascinating bio on Wikipedia

Sources: 1, 2, 3





You might also like


More in AbandonedArt & Design AwesomenessConversation StartersEditor's PicksForget ParisHow to start a subcultureInspiration VaultLife is MessyNostalgiaTime travel

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset

5 Ways to Fake an Endless Summer in Paris

Summer is over. The angry clouds over Nôtre Dame make it look too sinister, Sunday strolls in Montmartre are more melancholy in dreary weather and the rain-soaked gravel in the Tuileries does no ...

Trending 353

Oh, Just a Miniature Mermaid’s Dollhouse

This is one of those slightly random finds that I was about to throw in with my Monday series of 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today, but then I looked closer (rubbed my eyes in disbelief a li...

Trending 1,954
Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

Chasing Ghosts in an East London Time Capsule

I gave three taps to the door with the ominous Egyptian door knob and timidly stepped inside number 18 Folgate Street in Spitalfields, London. Here, you can smell the past. You can see the dust th...

Trending 4,332