The politics of having pockets

PUBLISHED: 10:23 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:24 26 August 2018

Man's Hands Revealing Empty Pockets - because he's put everything in someone else's bag. Picture: Getty Images/ Brand X

Man's Hands Revealing Empty Pockets - because he's put everything in someone else's bag. Picture: Getty Images/ Brand X


Not only do 90 per cent of women work for companies that pay them less than their male colleagues, even when they trouser the lesser amount of cash, the trousers they have to put it in have pockets which are 48 per cent smaller and 6.5 per cent narrower than those on men's trousers.

It’s as if it’s deliberate: less than half of women’s trouser pockets can fit a wallet specifically designed to fit in a trouser pocket, which is ironic seeing as we have less cash to fit in the wallet in question anyway, even though it’s 2018, a whole 100 years since men let us vote if we were over 30, married, owned a house and voted they way they told us to.

Latest pocket research – I keep up to date with the most important news – suggests that if a woman finds a pair of trousers which sport pockets (by which I mean ACTUAL pockets and not those pretend ones, or those weird tiny square ones that a mouse would struggle to fit its wallet in), 60 per cent of them won’t be able to house a smartphone.

In fact, all you can conceivably fit in the micro pockets is a dainty handkerchief or perhaps a thimble: it’s a travesty.

One of the terrible truths about womanhood that I have felt duty-bound to pass down to my daughter is that part of being a woman is being the one who has to carry a bag which everyone else will then ask to put their stuff in: men do not, as a rule, carry handbags while women, as a rule do.

Before anyone reaches for the green ink, I am not saying that women SHOULD carry handbags or that men SHOULDN’T and I’m also not saying that women HAVE to carry things for other people, other than during pregnancy which we really can’t outsource to men. Yet.

I’m merely pointing out that in my extremely thorough handbag-related research study of ME, I am the one who carries the bag that everyone else puts things in AND I don’t have pockets in order to thwart their bag-based squatters’ rights because clothes designers don’t think I deserve them, or if I do, I deserve pockets that are as useful as electric windows on a submarine.

I bought a dress the other day and, as I tried it on, realised that it had pockets: proper ones that could hold my things in, but which would not be able to hold other people’s things in – there were several times when I was on holiday that I ventured out without a bag: it was like opening the door to a whole new world.

In fact, it felt much like the day that I bought my first pair of trousers having spent 15 years only wearing skirts and realised that I was suddenly able to cross my legs with impunity and sit with my legs spread in front of me like a leering uncle at a wedding. The freedom! The joy! The effortlessness of it all!

Pockets are highly underrated but I am convinced that if men had to forgo shoving wallets and phones into their trouser pockets and were, instead, left with either the option of keeping everything they needed in their hands or putting said objects in a small, decorative bag and then having to fend off requests from EVERYONE to carry EVERYTHING then this would be a matter of HUGE importance. It would be debated in Westminster. It would form part of the Geneva Convention.

Having consulted experts (someone I know who once said they are interested in fashion) I am told that the pocket is lacking on women’s clothing because it adds bulk to the lower half of the body, a job which I have already done for myself by eating cake and crisps and which a fair number of men have already done for themselves yet they still get pockets.

Men, of course, need pockets because they are very busy and important while women’s job is to be looked at, so they can carry the bags that will fit all the stuff that men could put in their pockets but don’t because they’d prefer someone else carried it in a bag so the lower half of their body doesn’t look bulky. Tammy Wynette got it right: Sometimes it’s Hard to be a Woman, just Stand By Your Man (and hold his stuff in your bag).

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