Why Do Men Have Pocket Privilege?


Marwa Barakat

A phone in the front pocket of a girl’s pants.

Marwa Barakat, Editor-in-Chief

Do you ever relax with your hands in your front pockets? Is thinking about where to carry your stuff merely an afterthought?  Can you fit your keys, wallet, and phone in the same pocket? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are most likely a man. If you answered no, then you are most likely one of many women struggling with a lack of pockets or minuscule pocket sizes that barely fit a finger. 

A conscientious clothing company, Kirrin Finch, explains that before the 17th century, both men and women carried their belongings in small bags. After this time, men got pockets in their clothes, but women did not. They had to wear a small pocket under their garments. However, this caused outrage because women at the time wanted more utilitarian clothing, so one group of women in London started the Rational Dress Society in 1881. They advocated against clothing that either deforms the figure, impedes the movements of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health.” This includes a lack of pockets, corsets, high heels, and more.

While history has affected why or how women’s clothing has pockets, designers have also had a great influence. For instance, in 1954, Christian Dior said, “Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration.” This implies that men have important things they need to carry, but women do not. They only need pockets as decoration on their clothing without any actual purpose. 

Surprisingly, other industries also impact the question of pockets. The purse industry, valued at 8 billion dollars, wants to avoid women’s clothing having pockets because that means women would buy fewer purses. 

Because of the male-dominated fashion industry, much of women’s clothing contains tiny or no pockets. However, as female designers and small businesses, such as Pivotte and Boden, gain influence, women’s fashion is likely to be more comfortable and practical, ensuring that not only men have the privilege of pockets.