Thursday, December 13, 2018

The great pocket conspiracy

It's a conspiracy against women:

If you watch this notice how often the video attributes things to "fashion" or "the fashion industry". At other times, the video slides into passive voice such that things happen to women without anyone being responsible for it. At 3.01, "... from there, women's jeans fell victim to fashion over function." It just happened!

The video does allow that putting larger pockets into "skinny" jeans would cause them to "bulge out in ways that are unflattering for many women". Well, that's kind of a problem isn't it. It's a matter of contradictory desires. To have one thing, you have to sacrifice another. And that is kind of women's responsibility isn't it?

There is another wrinkle to this jeans issue and wrinkles have very much to do with it. The tiny pockets do something else too. They make it possibly to make women's jeans fit much closer around the crotch. Anyone think that's an accident?

What makes this aspect of fashion fascinating is that no one admits it's going on. It's esoteric: women seek to send erotic messages but don't admit they are doing it, perhaps not even to themselves. And it is precisely because no one admits that women do this that videos like the one above are possible. The one place where the mask slips is when the French historian Ariane Fennetaux is interviewed. Being both French and serious historian, she speaks of the struggle as between two groups of women, those who favor practicality and those who want to use fashion to make erotic display. That erotic aspect is not openly discussed in the video but it is implicitly acknowledged.

Here is why I think this is a problem. That struggle still goes on. There are women who want to make erotic display and pick jeans that will help them do this and there are others who don't want to do this. And there more than a few women in the second group who would like the first group to stop. They are powerless in this because the first group, while not the majority, are still a large group and they buy a lot of clothes.

And yet we act as if women's choices have nothing to do with this, as if small pockets are something forced on women by an uncaring fashion industry. As a consequence, we drive this erotic aspect of life underground; it becomes truly esoteric.

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