Last time I wrote about how women’s clothes generally come sans pocket and how that both reflects and reenforces gendered bullshit around subjecthood, emotional labour, and ease in the world.
Today I’m going to write just a quick follow-up about a particular way this has been impacting me lately. My work has just moved into a shiny new building that uses keycards for everything. Keycards! The wave of the future!
Keycards are great. If you have pockets. Back when we used actual keys I wore a super cool lanyard when I went for lunch or to have a pee or any of the other myriad reasons I leave my office. Now? Now I have to choose between carrying my entire purse, because it houses my wallet, which houses my keycard, or shoving it into the side of my bra. Real talk: bra wins every time*. But it may miss the mark, ever so slightly, of the hegemonic dictates of “professionalism.”
What I realized today, as I tried to ever so subtly pull my keycard out of my bra, is that the men who designed the building, the men who decided it should be keycards, the men who designed keycards in the first place will never have to reach into their bra to grab their keycard. The fact of pockets, of useful, utilitarian clothes, of clothes that let them do without thought is ingrained in them. It is a fundamental part of how they understand and interact with the world. Indeed, I think we could go so far as to say it’s an entitlement–men are entitled to clothes that let them function without jury-rigging an embarrassing solution to an easily fixable problem, while women are scorned for problem-solving that same problem.**
*The lack of pockets in workout wear is such an issue that I ended up buying an entire new device (an iPod shuffle) because I was worried I’d ruin my phone by sticking it in my bra at the gym. I had to buy a new electronic device that does the same job as an existing one because no one will give me a god damn pocket!
**The “women bring their purses everywhere” jokes, the “purses contain everything!” jokes, the side-eye at stuffing things in your bra because there is literally nowhere else to put it.