why bags break gender norms.
objectively, bags have one purpose - to carry things for humans on-the-go. plan and simple. so, why do we assign a gender bias to bags? how does this gender bias couple with necessity? what do pockets have to do with this? to explore this further, we're going to start with pockets and work our way up to the bigger question of why bags are gendered.
pocket-sized gender bias
anyone who has worn women's pants has experienced this before - he or she has gone to stick their hand in their pocket, preferably for the perfect instagram pose, and discovered that the pocket was fake. now, they can't put anything in it- their phone, wallet, keys, or perfectly posed hand. men, on the other hand, have pockets that can fit half their arm, chapstick, a very thicc wallet, keys, headphones, and their sunglasses. they're deep and they're always there. this discrepancy in pocket size (or lack of pockets all together) leads to the need for a bag.
so much baggage
when your pockets aren't big enough to fit your daily essentials, where do you turn? bags. because of this bias towards pockets, most men don't carry bags on a regular basis while most women carry one out of necessity. the issue with this is not in the bags or the pockets themselves (although, any person, no matter how they identify, should be able to have deep pockets if they please) but the fact that, because of the gender bias towards pockets, the use of bags in every day life has become gendered. purses, for example, are marketed towards women even though there is nothing feminine about purses. objectively, it's a bag made of leather, with a pattern on it, that people can use to carry things. the notion that purses are only for women is a social construct. the fact that men should only carry what they can in their pockets (unless they are in desperate need for a backpack, but only if they have a laptop) is equally absurd.
in my efforts to challenge my own preconceived notions of masculinity, i am challenging myself to use bags as my on-the-go way to carry everything. for right now, i use a tote bag which, if this post inspires you, is a great first step to breaking down barriers within yourself. i still struggle with it. when i pull my wallet our of my bag instead of my back pocket, i feel self-conscious. so i'm challenging myself to think about why I feel self-conscious and challenge that internally. as i continue along this fashion and style journey, i will be using different types of bags to express myself in different ways.
i wanted to give myself the opportunity to explore a new way to carry my belongings. plus, the shirt and earrings are thrifted 'womanswear' that fit perfectly into my 'menswear' wardrobe.
as with all the posts i put on this platform, i hope this one sparks a conversation that extends beyond this single page in the vast void of the internet. please, contact me if this has made you feel some type of way. to see the full gallery for this photshoot, continue scrolling.
photography by victoria gruenert