There will never be true equality between men and women until women have functional pockets in their clothing.
Hear me out.
I recently had the tremendous pleasure of attending the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop in beautiful, sunny Dayton, Ohio, where apparently it can snow sideways in April. Among the other amazing women (and a few smatterings of brave, brave men – I think the ratio was something like 75 women for each man) was Dr. Gina Barreca, author of “If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?”: Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times. In this book, Gina (I can say “Gina” instead of “Dr. Barreca” because once you’ve worn a Mardi Gras mask and cussed in front of someone, all formalities go out the window) says, among other tidbits of wisdom: “Not only do women hold up half the sky; we do it while holding a 500-pound purse.”
Gina says it is because we are caretakers, and if you ask us for a Band-Aid, we will ask you if you want a big or little one, latex or fabric, etc. Whereas if you ask a man for so much as an aspirin, he will wonder why you are asking him.
But why is this? Is this because of some innate need we have to take care of everyone around us and make sure that they have everything that might be required in any eventuality? Maybe. I’m not a sociologist, and I haven’t actually studied this phenomenon, but that doesn’t stop me from having opinions and drawing conclusions.
I think it is because of pockets.
We don’t have useful pockets.
All you really need when you go anywhere is your cell phone, your driver’s license, a credit card that isn’t maxed out, and a twenty dollar bill. If you don’t live in a place with public transportation, you need a place to put your car key. There are few situations that these items won’t cover. All of these things fit neatly into the back pocket of your garden variety pair of jeans or khakis, or even men’s dress pants.
But not the pockets in women’s clothing. These things, when they even exist, are shallow and useless. You might could fit a breath mint in some of them. I’m told this is because of a woman’s curves: because our bodies tend to be rounded, putting things in pockets would make for weird lumps and shapes in our clothing when we want them to lie flat.
I’ve got news for you, honey: ain’t nothing you’re putting on this body gonna lie flat, whether or not there’s a credit card inside it. There’s not a flat plane to be found. And besides, we all expect to see a rectangular lump on the butt cheek of a man where his wallet regularly lives. No one judges the quality of his posterior based upon that, not that we should be looking, anyway. Can’t we have the same expectations for women?
So when you have a bag that you’re toting around, it’s easy to just throw one more thing in, just in case. Once you’ve filled your pockets, you’ve filled your pockets. You can always get a bigger purse.
So back to the conference. I wanted to travel lean. There was no reason to drag my 500-pound purse (which, when you are a Mom and your kids still live at home, is 750-pounds) around to seminars. But I had no pockets. I couldn’t find a good solution to where to put my money, my credit card, and my driver’s license. I transferred it back and forth between the ID badge holder, the conference tote where I kept my materials, the few outfits I had with functional pockets, and stuck between the pages of whatever book I was toting around like a fan girl trying to get the author to sign. (Yes, my luggage was 74% books I wanted to get signed by various faculty members, 17% hair product and makeup, and only 9% clothes (with no pockets.) Wanna make something of it?)
I’m generally a systematic person. I like for things to have their place, because then I don’t have to look for them because there is only one place they will be. With no system, I don’t know reliably where anything is. And I lose things.
So I lost things. Like my driver’s license. And I had to fly back home in a post-9/11 world.
But that, my friends, is a story for another day. Just put this one in your pocket until then. Assuming you have one that isn’t sewn shut.
To read the exciting conclusion of this story, click here.
 When I first typed this sentence, I thought of a thousand conclusions to it: shallow and useless….much like the Kardashians. Much like most politicians. You get the drill. But I try to be nice and make fun of only me in these blogs. I try. There is no benefit in hurting the feelings of a real human being for nothing but a cheap laugh. But oh the temptation…………
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.