So recently I bought a dress with pockets.
I’ll just leave that sentence there for a few minutes and let it sink in because a lot of men reading this might think, what’s she banging on about now? ALL my clothes have pockets, in fact even my pockets have pockets, that’s how OK I am with pockets.
But, men, you’re probably reading this blog post on a phone that you have just taken out of your pocket, so bear with me because if you’re a woman reading this, chances are you haven’t just taken your phone out of your pocket, unless maybe it was the back pocket of a pair of jeans in which case the last time a mobile phone fit properly into one of those was in 2004 when everyone had a flip phone. (which, by the way, need to come back. It is nowhere near as satisfying hanging up on someone with just a swipe).
The stuff men carry in their pockets, we have to hold in our hands, or put in a handbag that we have to lug around with us, or, and please tell me this isn’t just me, we put them in our bras.
There are lots of reasons why our clothes don’t have pockets; for example, they apparently spoil the line of our clothes (mate, in my experience, having the set of keys for a 1989 Volvo 240 tucked into your bra is not exactly streamlined or elegant).
Historically, without pockets to put things in, women were less likely to be independent and do crazy things like travel alone or own property, because you can’t get very far if you can’t carry your own money. Thanks, The Patriarchy.
It’s testament to how ingrained this kind of nonsense is that we’re still struggling to find an item of clothing that lets us carry keys/phones/tampons/snacks around with us. The fact is that clothes have always been caught up in sexual inequality.
Women are still accused of ‘asking for it’ because of what they were wearing when they were attacked. Open any tabloid newspaper after an awards ceremony, for example, and read about how a young female actress was ‘flaunting her assets’. For ‘assets’ read ‘just normal legs’ and for ‘flaunting’ read ‘just walking along, using those legs because that’s kind of how legs work’.
We’re taught to adapt our clothing so as not to excite the men, because one thing women must avoid at all cost is exciting the men, because men will be men and it’s only natural manly instinct and it’s not their fault they can’t control their urges and it’s almost a compliment and as you’re reading this you know it’s bollocks, it’s massive, hairy bollocks, but you will still look at the picture of a scantily-clad woman in a newspaper and make a judgement about her.
We tell young girls that they can be whatever they want to be, but hey, do it in a school skirt that comes below your knee because we don’t want to distract the boys.
Snap decisions are constantly being made about someone based on what they’re wearing, and by someone I of course mean women, because nobody really gives a shit about what men are wearing. Men are never accused of asking for it. Maybe women can’t be trusted to take responsibility for their own money or property or pocket snacks, but they seem perfectly capable of taking ownership of their own sexual responses.
We need to get rid of the idea that a woman’s value is measured by how many items of clothing she has on. As well as the idea that if we’re showing some flesh it is society’s right to comment on, and maybe even touch, that flesh.
And we need to do something about the fact that some men seem incapable of hearing us when we say no, or that we’re not interested, or that we don’t want to be kissed or touched, or that it’s over, yet these same men can somehow read the most subtle messages in what we choose to wear. They read our breasts and our hair colour and the length of our skirts based on some out-of-date phrase book and end up getting it completely wrong.
The whole #metoo movement has shaken up a lot of things, and fashion is one of them. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that for the last couple of seasons the midi dress has been hugely popular, particularly with high necks and long sleeves.
So give us our pockets. We might use them to spread leaflets around, encouraging rebellion, or we might use them to carry around an emergency snickers, you’ll never know. But we do know that having pockets is a whole new world. So women, go out and buy all the pockets. Then wait for the signal. You know what to do…