Bag it, you sexist pockets

Bag it, you sexist pockets

I have written and re-written this piece more times than Ekta Kapoor has produced flop films and I am still nowhere close to figuring out why us damsels are devoid of appropriate storage space in our clothing. Okay that’s not completely true; I have somewhat figured out the reason behind this sexist facade and that’s what this blog post is about.

Before we begin though, go have a good, long look at your wardrobe (this statement is addressed specifically to women; men don’t feel left out). Exactly how many items do you own that have pockets? Now, how many of these pockets can actually fit stuff into them?

The answers to these questions practically sum up the entire article. Everything you read from here on is just my frustration strung together in words. But if you, like me, feel the fingers of exasperation enveloping your heart every time you put on that pair of Zara jeggings, then read on.

The problem starts with something as simple as buying a pair of jeans. As I step into a denim store (my favourite being Levi’s), excited to try on a new style they have launched, my mind is flooded with images and videos from their latest TV advertisement. I imagine myself in a skinny-fit that makes my ass look spectacular as I strut around town with my girlfriends. I am brought back to reality by a hoarse but nasal voice that seems to be coming from a stick-figure of a guy who has apparently invested all his earnings into getting highlighted spikes in his hair. Ignoring this minor distraction, I proceed to ask for the latest pair in my size and head to the trial room—the fit is perfect, it hugs my curves perfectly and even hides that little paunch that I haven’t been able to get rid of despite months of yoga sessions.

 Fashion week - but no pockets

Considering that denims are the most common pair of clothing covering the lower half of my anatomy, it should be infuriating that it is so difficult to find a piece that can fit my five-inch phone. And it is! Only, not while I’m actually making the purchase. Under the spell of the store lights and the look of picture perfect denims, it is easy to forget the most important aspect—function. I am only reminded of it when I try to put my phone in my pocket and have half of it jutting out. Even then I continue about my day, till the phone suddenly drops on the floor with a loud smack as I bend to pick up my bag from the couch. THEN, I curse the existence of all clothing companies and mutter a few cuss-words under my breath because the lack of pockets has once again put the life of my very expensive phone in jeopardy.

I feel like I should put a disclaimer before we go further. With the internet Nazis—I’m gonna call them iNazis—on the loose, I’m slightly scared of discussing something that might be termed as a first world problem. After all if so many people can’t even afford clothes, how can we discuss the “frivolities”? Dear iNazis, ask yourselves this question the next time you are criticising your mom’s food.

Back to the topic. Turns out all this hullabaloo about women’s clothing being more “fashion” than “function” isn’t just an obsession of the current generation. It is probably as old as mankind. And let us not even get into traditional Indian clothing. The whole idea of the drape of the fabric on a female form being of paramount importance isn’t about to change anytime soon. So, you can continue to dream about having bigger pockets (or in some cases, just pockets), but patriarchy has one-upped you again and that dream probably won’t get realised anytime soon.

It is astounding that engineers have been able to create a tiny device to fit over 1TB of data, but they can’t bring themselves to create a pocket big enough to fit that device!

Bags vs pockets

All in all, this might even be a hidden agenda; a conspiracy between fashion labels and handbag makers. After all if we did have decent pockets in all of our outfits, the idea of carrying a bag wouldn’t make much sense at all. I sort of sound like a hypocrite saying this because pocket or no pocket I tend to buy bags every time I go out shopping!

In a larger context, some argue that this is just another symbol of the continued objectification of women and there is a larger gender bias at play. However, to be completely honest, we are victims of capitalism and would continue to buy something that makes us look good, even if it means compromising on some essential features. I obviously have a substantial number of clothes without pockets and I am not going to throw them out even as I go on complaining. The real question is, do I have a choice?

If you made it till the end, you deserve a dress with pockets. Hope you find it soon 😉

Cheers!

A.

13 Comments

  1. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she maintains the image of a user in his/her mind that how a user can understand it. So that’s why this article is perfect. Thanks!|

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    • Thanks a ton Shanelle. This means a lot. Apologies for not posting more regularly, but I’ll be getting back to it in a bit. Hopefully, you’ll still be around to read more 🙂

  3. In fact the history of pockets show that the use -or perhaps lack- ofIn the h century women used pouches- hip purses- to hold their belongings but in the h century when slimmer dresses came into fashion, these small bags had to go as well.

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  6. Hi,
    I have worked at a global fashion brand as a PR executuve (can’t name it, contractual oblogations.) And with the rising feminist movement this issue of larger pockets has always been content of hate-mails the company recieved. And trust me fashion designers Want this issue solved too! To debunk your theory of conspiracy between the fashion mega houses in the verticles of apparel and accessories makers I will present you a case from their side and I am not going to say its impossible, but its not possible in current date atleast. To start with, skin-fit/body-fit trousers and denims are very much a trend within the men-fashion arena and you are free to test it out, big phones do not fit pockets of ‘wrap’ fit (or skinny fits as they are called) either. Now coming to 2nd point traditionally Indian clothes being Men or Women are not supposed to have pockets, take a Kurta and Lungi for example, there are many counter points for how modern mens-fashion does allow for bigger pockets then womens but being an insider trust me there have been times when (women) designers have said “just get these feminist what they want a huge pocket om their fab-pant, and if they complaint on how huge these pockets are just show them the trash they email.” In fact a European brand did bring out a chain of bottomware with slightly larger pockets for women but they had to recall it coz with the phones the bottomwear looked: “Ugly AF” as a reviewer noted. There is going to be unconditional compromise of fashion over function, be it in womens fashion or mens fashion.
    As for larger pockets many Women Jumpsuits have already accommodating larger pockets.

    • Hey! Thanks for sharing the other side’s perspective. Your “fashion over function” point is basically what this article is about. And I’ve admitted that even despite the lack of function in most bottom wear, I continue to buy them because of the way they look :p

  7. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, dress patterns started to include instructions for sewing pockets into skirts if you felt like being an independent woman.

  8. i love this website it has awsome content

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