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October 02, 2014

Pockets are Sexist. And iPhones. Also, Bicycles

This kind of hand wringing over supposed First World Sexism makes us crazy**:

...the biggest problem might be the lack of pockets in the first place: women's slacks, dresses, and blazers often have no pockets, or worse, “fake” pockets that serve no utilitarian purpose besides sartorially leading the wearer on to believe they have a handy wardrobe aide, until it’s too late.

So how can an industry that focuses on women—whether it be models or products created primarily for a female demographic—consistently dodge the very people it markets to? Camilla Olson, creative director of an eponymous high tech fashion firm, points to inherent sexism within the industry. Mid-range fashion is a male dominated business, driven not by form and function, but by design and how fabric best drapes the body.

“I honestly believe the fashion industry is not helping women advance,” Olson said. And the lack of functional designs for women is one example. "We [women] know clearly we need pockets to carry technology and I think it’s expected we are going to carry a purse. When we’re working we don’t carry purses around. A pocket is a reasonable thing.”

First of all, the Blog Princess has no pressing need to "carry technology". Most women already carry purses - ginormous, bottomless satchels in which we manage to cram approximately half of our personal property. Because one never knows when one might urgently require a Matchbox sports car, a nail file, 20 gazillion shades of lip gloss/eye pencils, or a nifty little disposable toothbrush that comes with its own toothpaste all in a neat little shrinkwrapped package that we got in our Christmas stocking. Oh, and BOTH keys to the car we drive. Because you never know.

Most women do this to ourselves voluntarily. The Patriarchy is not demanding that we haul 25 pounds of useless objects with us everywhere we go. And don't even ask us what's in our briefcase.

You don't want to know.

The Patriarchy has likewise expressed very little interest in the size or functionality or placement of pockets in the clothes we buy. We will admit to elevating form over function quite voluntarily. We don't like clothes with big, bulging pockets. They make our hips look bigger and most short women prefer streamlined clothes with very simple lines for aesthetic reasons. Aesthetics tend to matter to a lot of uterus-having folk. Because we have uteruses, or estrogen, or something.

But this just frosts our cornflakes (and not in a good way). Bicycle inequality must be stopped before it kills us all:

Elizabeth Plank at Mic took to the bike paths of New York City to investigate the "huge and under-reported" gender gap in, of all things, bicycle-riding. Turns out way more men ride bikes than women: "In the U.S., 1 woman for every 3 men gets around on a bicycle," Plank writes. "In London, 77% of bike trips are taken by men and only 5% of women identify as frequent cyclists."

This is a gender gap that actually surprised me. After all, if you stick your head into any given spin class, 80-100 percent of the people huffing through sprints are women, guaranteed. So why isn't that the case out on the street? Plank dug in and found that women face a number of obstacles: "Women's aversion to risk, women's clothing, economic and time poverty, as well as sexual harassment."

When we were just a rosy-cheeked little Editorial Staff, we loved our bicycle more than just about anything on earth. We rode every day and ranged far and wide on our trusty green bike.

We almost never ride anymore for all sorts of reasons: weather, hair, distance, definitely (when we were younger) aversion to being continually accosted by random men in cars. We are skeptical of the notion that women will never be free/equal until we stop making decisions like this for ourselves and mindlessly seek to imitate the male half of the species.

For what it's worth, the Spousal Unit wouldn't ride a bike to work either. Even if work were only a few minutes away.

You know the Multiverse has become a far more enlightened and tolerant place when we have time to become uber-outraged about stupid things like this:


Does anyone else from DC remember the kerfuffle when DC Mayor Anthony Williams was excoriated by his black constituents for his supposedly insufficient appreciation for watermelon and fried chicken? We tried to find a contemporary news article, but turned up only a lame "Is Anthony Williams Black Enough?" article seeking to elaborate the many and splendored ways in which one could demonstrate Authentic Blackness.

Random acts of extreme violence are likewise a huge problem in the First World. Which totally explains this story:

Four schools in Onslow County, North Carolina were sent into police lockdown when a cafeteria worker panicked when the employee saw someone dressed like a pirate.

It was “International Talk Like A Pirate Day” and one school employee apparently decided to take it one step further.

A staff member reported seeing a “suspicious person” – the “pirate” – approaching the school and called police.

“The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said that ‘suspicious person’ turned out to be a Richlands Elementary staff member dressed as a pirate,” ABC 12 reports.

Get a grip, people. A society that has time to worry about such inanities can probably pat itself on the back.

Posted by Cassandra at October 2, 2014 08:02 AM

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Is that a SWAT team or Arrrrrr! you just glad to see me?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 2, 2014 02:17 PM

Nice, YAG.

Posted by: Grim at October 2, 2014 02:35 PM

There’s no catching all the scoundrels (men) and all the latent sexism – there just isn’t. How did this get by the uterine set?

Posted by: George Pal at October 2, 2014 03:24 PM

YAG wins comment of the day!

It’s almost as if women prefer to work hard in return for tangible rewards, such as a paycheck or their loved ones’ well-being. If you want people to work hard just for the satisfaction of being Right on the Internet, well, you’re probably going to wind up with a lot of men.

Boy is that true :p

And priceless.

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2014 05:05 PM

There’s no catching all the scoundrels (men)...

Ummm... isn't that like... TOTES redundant?

/running away

Posted by: Cass at October 2, 2014 05:07 PM

"Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, Social Justice Acolyte Sancho, thirty or forty hulking bigots? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service Grievance Studies Professors will bless."

"What bigots?" asked Acolyte Sancho.

"Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long prejudices. Some of them have prejudices so deep they pervade the very foundations of the earth."

"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not bigots but watermelons."

Posted by: Social Justice Warrior Quixote at October 2, 2014 05:24 PM

Mid-range fashion is a male dominated business

I hope it's not out of turn to notice that most of what the males in fashion are attracted to ain't exactly the female form.

Honey, he ain't looking at you that way.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 2, 2014 05:32 PM

"“I honestly believe the fashion industry is not helping women advance,” Olson said.

In a nutshell.
That right there.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 3, 2014 01:43 PM