Holleran: Tiny pockets, big problems

Grace Holleran

Grace HolleranAs a woman, it’s hard for me not to feel continually oppressed. Parties are no exception. Even from the get-go, I feel prostituted. Being charged $5 for a cup, but two for $5 if you have boobs? Is that not sort of like selling my body?

Once I get indoors, it’s a different story. Like most of our generation, I typically have a set of valuables on my person at all times: Money, my Temple ID and my smartphone. In an environment where not every person can be trustworthy, it’s always in my best interest to stow these items away.

Here’s the problem: I rarely have that option.

Like any pawn in a capitalist society, I like clothes. I own more than a few pairs of jeans in a variety of brands, cuts and washes. But one thing these articles of clothing all have in common? My iPhone 4 absolutely will not fit in any of the pockets.

Besides being an awesome idea for a band name, “Girl Pockets” have depressingly little to offer. Like men’s jeans, girls’ jeans usually have five pockets, two in the back, two in the front, and one “Vatican City” pocket, which is that little one that’s inside the slightly larger pocket enveloping it like the city of Rome.

I’m convinced these pockets exist only for aesthetics, because all I’ve been able to fit in mine is assorted change and occasionally, some business cards. As if women needed something else immobilizing them in this society. Girl pockets act as the icing on this giant patriarchal cake.

Ladies, have you begun to resent the ordeal that is keeping track of your belongings when you’re out on a Saturday night? I watch men throw their wallets carelessly into one of the many practical pockets of their cargo shorts and I glow with envy. Why can’t it be that easy for us?

I began to explore my options.

Many girls opt for the phone-in-bra technique, an oldie but a goodie. It looks a bit comical when your shirt lights up and vibrates, but anything is better than losing an expensive trinket – or worse, leaving your phone at home and being unable to tweet or take pictures for two hours. Unfortunately, this can yield disastrous results.

“Apparently keeping your phone in your bra during [parties] is a bad idea and will cause your phone to break,” junior Hilary Wehry said after a gruesome incident involving excessive sweat during band camp. The German major subsequently had to purchase a new phone.

I watch men throw their wallets carelessly into one of the many practical pockets of their cargo shorts, and I  glow with envy.

Using lingerie as storage is a lifestyle that college students simply can’t afford – not only pricewise, but at the cost of self-respect. Gentlemen, would you stick your phone in the same general area of your junk if your pockets did not suffice?

What next? I tried the purse route. Not only did I have to feel out of place in a Coach outlet, but I also had to buy enough purses to match the myriad outfits I could possibly wear to a party. Each one had to be the perfect size, have the strap at a perfect length and still manage to be in my price range. I somehow accomplished these feats, but the true challenge arrived with the party. As I tried to dance, my new accessory acted as a straitjacket – the strap cut across my body, rendering any excess motion impossible. What’s the fun in that?

Frustrated, I channeled the men I envied and bought a pair of cargo shorts. It worked out great. I had a pocket for my wallet, my phone, even the belongings of my less resourceful friends. If it weren’t for the incessant and incredibly vocal accusations about my sexuality from strangers, owning cargo shorts would be the perfect solution to my problem.

I begrudgingly turned to my last resort. I put on a smile, approached one of my male friends and asked if he could hold my stuff. I left the party with my belongings intact, but my dignity shattered. I simply wasn’t able to do it myself.

“Is the outlook for women in social situations really so bleak?” I wondered as I shrugged and tried to stick my hands into my pathetically shallow pockets.

Could this perhaps be a conspiracy? Are the men who manufacture our clothes using pockets as a subtle way to keep women in check? It’s probably time for us to revolt, but that would involve not wearing jeans, and let’s face it, they make our butts look great.

In my free time, I will daydream of fantasies created by Jonathan Safran Foer. In his novel “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” the protagonist Oskar invents portable pockets that attach to your clothing via Velcro.

“We need enormous pockets, pockets big enough for our families and our friends, and even the people who aren’t on our lists, people we’ve never met but still want to protect. We need pockets for boroughs and for cities, a pocket that could hold the universe.”

Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Grace Holleran can be reached at grace.elizabeth.holleran@temple.edu or on Twitter @coupsdegrace.

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