Blog: The Pants Problem

“The Mia Perspective” with Mia


Mia Karr, Print Editor-in-Chief

My pants are failing me. In the most basic sense, they fill their function of covering my legs. But in a less basic sense, they do not live up to all that pants have come to be. What I am talking about, course, are pockets. Specifically the fact that you can hardly fit half of a toothpick into the pockets on most women’s pants.

When women’s rights advocate Amelia Bloomer wore pants instead of a skirt in the 1800’s, she must have envisioned a world where all leg-clothing was created equal. Some may say we have reached that point. Those people would be wrong. You see, this whole pocket thing is a female problem. True, I’m no male pants expert, but it seems a boy could stash a 12-inch sub, a small stamp collection, and a collapsible umbrella in one of his pockets and still have room for his iPhone.

Small pockets are great for the retail industry. They cause women to buy purses and bags. If we could fit even twice as many things in our pockets, I bet the whole handbag industry would collapse. True, it can be argued that smaller pockets are there for fashion reasons. However, I would argue that this is an example of form following function, or rather not following function.

The effects of small pockets may seem small, but I would argue that they are not. For one, there’s the obvious annoyance of either having to carry a bag or hold things in your hands or shove them down your bra. Beyond that, however, small pockets take away some of a woman’s autonomy. They can’t easily carry everything they need like males can. They can’t be prepared for every situation. While men’s pants are designed with practicality in mind, women’s pants are designed more for looks. So, basically, for men there’s an emphasis on what pants do and for women how they look. Hmmm, have I ever heard that before?

Women have come a long way since the days when they were shackled by skirts, but maybe not far enough. True pants equality won’t be reached until we, too, can conceal a small animal in our pockets.