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pocket equality

For the love of pocket equality 

I’ve got 100 problems and useful-sized pockets would probably solve about 99 of them. Why does it seem that we must be punished through a disturbing lack of handy friends to carry our emotional support chapsticks, phones, keys, spare tampons, headphones, and facemasks? I don’t think I know one woman who hasn’t ended up with a phone in the toilet or cracked on the floor because there’s been an attempt to shove it into a minuscule-sized pocket in the tightest pair of skinny jeans you’ve ever seen. How did the pocket equality situation get so dire and what can we do about it?

The history of pocket disparity

All women have experienced that wonderful feeling when you’ve found a wavy new garm that you’re overjoyed to find it has pockets, only to discover that they’ve been sewn shut or can maybe fit a single grain of rice in it. This problem dates back to the medieval times, when both men and women carried pouches that were tied to their waist (this was the last time we had pocket gender equality- take me back). 

Following this, pouches began to be sewed into women’s dresses under their petticoats so women could carry their bits and bobs around but they were entirely inaccessible until they got undressed at the end of the day. By the 1800’s a slimline silhouette came into fashion and pockets weren’t en Vogue. Since then, men’s pockets have grown, and women have found it increasingly difficult to find a safe, easily accessible way to carry their things around on their person. 

Why pocket inequality is a feminist issue

Invisible women

It’s a man’s world and pockets are a sorry victim of it. In Caroline Criado Perez’s book Invisible Women, (which is an absolutely cracking read) she discusses how that the average smartphone screen is designed to be 5.5 inches wide which is actually too big for female hands, or female pockets.

Studies have shown that women are more likely to buy iPhones than men which means the ever-increasing iPhone screen size makes no sense when women are actually the target audience for their phones. A lot of tracker apps like pedometers on the phone are designed to track every step you take when the phone is on your body at all times and if a woman can’t fit her phone into her pocket, she’ll just leave it in her bag. It’s in capitalism’s best interest to increase women’s pocket sizes and decrease phone sizes to best mine all of our juicy, juicy user data but no one seems to have worked that out yet. 

Media sources like post-feminist wet dream Sex and The City argue that every woman needs a handbag because handbags are an expression of our individuality and we can even match it to our outfit! How cute, right? This is, in my opinion, a perfect example of post-feminism; you can be a girlboss in the boardroom, as long as your shoes match your bag. The need for handbags has evolved out of the lack of usable pockets in women’s clothing. Why should I have to ruin my outfit with a bag which I will definitely immediately lose the second I leave the house, when my dad can fit every single item he owns into a single pair of cargo shorts? 

It’s time for pocket equality! Women want pockets that are safe, appropriately sized and easily accessible. It makes us harder to mug, our stuff less likely to fall out of our pockets and break and it means we have to leave the house without a bag that could be stolen or lost. Imagine being able to go for a run knowing that your phone with the screen the size of a helicopter pad is secure? Imagine getting up to leave a restaurant and all you have to do is put your coat on? It sounds glorious. How do we make this glorious pocket filled utopia a reality?