Category Archives: Patriarchy

Hot Air

Pocket Feminism

Do the dearth of pockets in women’s pants and the traditional expectation that a woman should carry a purse serve to keep our sisteren under the thumb of the patriarchy?

That’s what writer Becky Havens says on Feminspire. Funny thing is she admits she’s being somewhat, well, funny about the whole deal. But in her humor there’s truth.

Men’s pants often do come with more pockets than than an explorer in the Brazilian rain forest would need. Me? My pockets are always stuffed. I carry a handkerchief, a wallet for my dough, credit cards and IDs, another wallet for business cards, my Prius smart key, some guitar picks, a flash drive, a worry stone, a pocket knife, a telephone, a small notebook, and a pen and a pencil (mechanical, of course). I cannot leave the house without all these things in their proper pockets, but now we’re getting into one of my neuroses and that’s a topic for another post.

Anyway, I feel free when I carry all these things. And I don’t have to worry that some street hoodlum will try to snatch a bag carrying all them right off my shoulder. I am self-sufficient when my pockets are properly filled. The cool thing is, all this is on me every moment I’m out of the house. Note that: On me.

Pocket Knife

I’m Naked Without This On Me

Those tools and accoutrements are part of me. Conceivably, I’ll be dependent on no one, no matter what emergency might arise, up to and including the need for a life-saving strum of some guitar.

Now, a woman can be equally self-sufficient if she loads up her purse with such implements. Yet few women I know carry a pocket knife. Why? My guess is equipping one’s self in this manner would make the carrying woman more free.

I’m not joking. Women’s paraphernalia includes compacts, lipsticks, mascara — in other words beauty stuff. If a man (at least this man) faces a dire need of some sort, he might need a screwdriver, a knife blade, or some prying tool, all of which and more come neatly folded in my pocket knife. So a woman’s dire needs are cosmetic and a man’s urgencies demand problem-solving equipment. At least according to our sex-typed expectations.

A woman, though, will be dependent on heroes and saviors should she find a screw lodged in her car tire or needs to tie something down with twine. Even if she is foresighted enough to carry a Swiss Army knife, it’ll be in her purse not in her pockets. Not on her. Not part of her.

That’s because she’s not expected to be a problem-solver. That’s what men are for. A woman’s choices of trousers and drawers are limited to reflect that. Pockets? Whaddya need pockets for, lady?


Nothing On Them

Again, no joke. Discuss.

[h/t to Jerry Boyle for the link.]

Us vs. Them

Let’s take a look at the evolution of the philosophical divide between Democrats and Republicans that has stalled Congress the last few years.

The Pew Research Center people have produced a series of charts showing how each party, at one time, had a more diverse membership in terms of liberal and conservative thought. As some 40 years years slipped by, the conservatives became exclusively Republican and the liberals solely Democrat.

Pew Research

Natural Selection? (Click Image For A Closer Look)

Notice how the Left/Right spectrum ends have separated? These days, we see that as evidence of the polarization in American thought.

The truth, though, is that we’ve been polarized all along. Yet somehow things got done. Before the great party shake-out of the 1970s, the Democratic party was peopled by a significant number of segregationists and anti-federal gov’t types from the South. And the Republicans actually had a progressive wing, including big name senators Charles Percy, Nelson Rockefeller, and (believe it or not) George Romney (Mitt’s daddy-o).

It seems logical that these philosophical kin should gather in one or the other appropriate party. Yet, back in those confusing days of the 1960s, say, the Left had to listen to the Right — and vice-versa — because they were all compelled to work together within each party. For instance, Dem congressional leadership had to twist arms and make deals with the Southern segregationists in order to get Civil Rights legislation passed.

Now, there’s zero reason for opposing sides to work together.



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