Pockets (or, more fittingly, the lack thereof) are a feminist issue.
Let me explain.
A few years back I went to visit Pearl Harbor during a trip to Hawaii. I had a small purse with me: my phone, my wallet, a camera, some sun screen & lip gloss. After we had parked and started to de-car, an employee of Pearl Harbor walked up to us and said “you can’t bring any bags in.”
“No bags?” I said, confused. This was a journey that included a boat ride to the memorial. We would be in there surely for a bit of time, and I didn’t want to walk around carrying my phone and wallet in each hand for fear of dropping them in the ocean. Or, you know, just like, wanting to have my hands free so I could do something like use the restroom or eat a snack. Some have called me high maintenance, I know.
The man responded, “Yeah, no bags, but you can put your things in your pockets.”
Oh, thanks, I thought.
My two male companions put their wallets and phones in their shorts pockets. I looked down at my summery, knit dress. Even if it did have pockets, I wouldn’t have put my phone & wallet in them, they would have pulled my whole dress off.
This really made me upset. Seriously? I asked the man why we couldn’t bring a bag in, I showed him I just wanted to carry the basics. He said, “It’s for security.”
So, I walked into Pearl Harbor carrying my phone and wallet in each hand, and some sunscreen and chapstick lodged in my elbow. After proudly getting through security, I walked straight to the gift shop, bought a reusable grocery bag, and promptly threw all my things in it. You couldn’t bring IN a bag, but you could buy a bag once you arrived, no problem.
Thankfully the bag was only a few dollars, and I actually kind of like it (I still use it for errand running), but this made me aware of just one of the many small “taxes" that only affect women. Every man walked into that memorial with no problem, but every woman was forced to spend $5 on a bag or walk around holding her things, waiting for the moment when she accidentally flips over her wallet and every credit card and frequent margarita card comes flying out.
(Yes, I actually do have a frequent margarita card. But it works for tacos too.)
I wasn’t about to risk losing my free margarita, so I opted for the bag.
Now, in my work as a clothing engineer (more commonly referred to as a “technical designer” or “patternmaker,”), I try to consider this for women. I want women everywhere to have equal access to pockets. I don’t want her to have dinky little skinny jean pockets that cause her iPhone to bend. I want her to have pockets she can stick a few necessities in, or maybe just her hand when she’s feeling awkward and wants to look cool!
I want her to feel like her clothes serve her and make her better, by providing cleverly designed, durable and flattering pockets. Because women will never have true equality when we still aren’t allowed to have real pockets.