Some gals are so short on feminist issues, they go for your pockets.
First they came for stilettos, and I didn’t say anything. (Well, I did, but you didn’t.) Now they are coming for fashionable jeans.
You know there is a feminism bubble if Vox dot com pays its gals to produced a video about jean pockets:
Vox’s pocket feminists take their job extremely seriously. They found hard data on internal cavities of several denim brands (someone else went through the trouble of measuring them), discovering that only the Abercrombie’s garments give men and women equitable front pockets. Other brands design smaller ones for women, sometimes nixing them entirely, retaining only mock detail. This travesty is declared “impractical” because we, women, can’t stuff things in our pockets, and, apparently, purses won’t do.
Funny, I never realized that was a problem. In fact, all my adult life I’ve been leaving factory stitches intact in my blazer pockets, so that they don’t loose shape.
Diving into history (or is it herstory), all the way back to the 17th century, Vox informs us that women used to tie rather obscene-looking “pockets” to their waists underneath the skirts. Kind of like secret fanny packs, I guess. I hear hipsters have been popularizing those for a few years now. Anyway, accessing such “pocket” would seem require to go through some sort of can-can motion.
By early 19th century, women have switched to reticules, or a version of a modern purse. Patriarchy had the upper hand as tailors were perfecting various specialized pockets in menswear.
I’m confused as to how all these pockets were used, and why such arrangement was better than a bag. My husband seems to need only a few, and from purely utilitarian point of view, too many pockets is like too many apps — the ones you need become hard to find.
According to the pocket feminist line of thought, 19th century women were “forced” to wear handbags because their dress pockets were sewn too impractically. So now, the 21st century women, brave, confident, and assertive harbingers of matriarchy, are demanding practical clothing. We are finally (finally!) getting pockets in skirts, and, from the sound of it, will soon get them in pants, too, perhaps even in leggings.
Wait, what? I’m going to stick my wallet, my cell, my lipstick, my compact, not to mention the keys, and the mom paraphernalia, all inside… leggings? And then walk around, liberated, unburdened by a handbag, but looking like a total moron.
Women, let’s face it, carry around much more stuff than men. It’s reasonable and convenient to have it all organized in a single tote instead of transferring it from one garment to another every morning.
We care about the fit, too. If the pockets pop out because we stuff too much crap in them, it’s a no for most, unless, I suppose we are specifically going for the utilitarian proletarian look. In which case, it’s still all about beauty.
And, we have smaller frames than men, which mean that the keys and the wallet will stick out more on an average woman. Aesthetically, handbags are more appealing, and they can be fun to shop for.
Something should be said about the habit of holding the purse in one’s hands, or at least feeling it over one’s shoulder. It’s reassuring.
If women really wanted utilitarian pockets in their denim, Abercrombie’s would be flying off the shelves. I’m sure Abercrombie, despite the bad rap it accrued over the past fifteen years, does just fine, actually. Yet the market is not telling other designers to make that particular style. Instead, we have a great variety of women’s jean cuts. Unfortunately, we also have activists taking it upon themselves to speak on behalf of all us, and issuing demands to designers.
They are going to kill fashion — at least for the next three years. After which it will renews itself like it always does.
In the meantime, although I’m not a fan of leggings, and will cry no crocodile tears if pocket feminists ruin them, I am stocking up on skinny jeans, the ones that come with no front pockets.
UPDATE: I am being reminded here that women’s clothes actually do have pockets, some of them are even used as intended, and that pocketed outfits were popular mid century. All true.
However, my point here is twofold: that bags are more practical than pockets, and that, when it comes to clothing, we are still interested in the look and the fit — or at least that’s what the market is suggesting.