My top 5 feminist clothing issues

High heels

I’ve got it! I’ve worked it out everyone.

I’ve worked out how it is that the patriarchy managed to pin us down under its thumb so many moons ago and why women been struggling to rise up ever since.

It’s pockets.

Fucking pockets, man! Men have always had pockets and they’ve stuffed them full of all their important useful things, leaving their hands free to build the patriarchy.

Women – laden down with bags (due to a dire lack of pockets) – never had a hope of keeping up! And then when the corset was invented – well, it’s hard to rise up in protest when your main concern is not fainting…

So with that in mind, today’s burning subject matter is: My Top 5 Feminist Clothing Issues. This is serious business folks, so pay attention…

1. Tights

Oh goddam tights. The bane of my life AND, I will warrant, the bane of every other woman’s life who has ever worn them. What is even the point of most of them? They provide zero protection from the elements – certainly not like trousers, which all the men are strutting around in. In fact, tights are so flimsy that they are measured in their own special unit of measurement – deniers. What, pray tell, is a bloody denier? Never got taught that one in science. You must need a microscope to see it or something.

And then there’s the fit. As in, they never bloody do. Is there really any other item of clothing that you would willingly buy that is guaranteed to fit so poorly?? Apparently sold only in M, L or XL – tights will, without fail, either slowly slide down to gather attractively around an ankle, knee or crotch, leaving you constantly struggling to hitch them up. Or they will cut across your stomach so tightly that you will feel like you are being cut in half. Or both!

And should you be in the unfortunate position of having to wear tights to work, it will affect your concentration.

I’m serious!

There will always be at least 0.1% of your brain focused on just how damn uncomfortable you are in ‘these goddamn tights’. This is a productivity issue people – studies should be done!

And don’t get me started on stockings… ugh.

2. High heels

Well, you must have seen this one coming. Obvious really.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love a high heel. In fact, given I’m only 5’1″ – I bloody adore a high heel. But you can’t get away from the fact that they are a fucking stupid idea. I wince when I see girls walking down the street who are clearly CLEARLY in agony – they can barely mince along. But they struggle on regardless, all for that ‘extra half an inch’, as Victoria Beckham would put it (this being a woman who has been known to play sport in high heel trainers!)

On that note – have you seen the state of good ol’ VB’s feet? They’re not pretty. Bunions are NOT sexy, on anyone. It is a fact – high heels can wreck your feet. In fact, they can wreck your body. They throw your posture out, putting strain on your back, knees and hips. There is a reason that you don’t see little old ladies tottering along in a sexy 4 inch heeled pump. Even the stylish ones! It’s agony.

And again, they can disadvantage you at work. A successful man buys a couple of pairs of expensive brogues. He’s good to go. They’re quality – they’re comfortable – and they will possibly see him through his career, with a re-sole or two along the way. Off he strides, with confidence and style.

In contrast, I still vividly remember a work experience placement early in my career where I was wearing my nicest, highest heels (to make a good impression an’ all) and the guy I was working with suggested walking 15 minutes to our next appointment. He chatted all the way there. I took in not one word. All I could think about was the sheer burning agony that my feet were in and whether I would make it to the appointment without crying. Never again.

I now, where possible, try and ensure that if there is any walking to be done for work, I wear flats and pack the heels in my bag. Or – even better – if I’m staying in the office, I wear flats all day. God bless you ballet slippers. You may be the saving of us all.

And never ever commute in heels. You think trainers look silly? Well us trainer clad girls think you look ridiculous!

3. Thongs

I’m gonna keep this short.

Fuck no.

No to thongs.

I don’t care if they don’t give you a VPL. A VPL is a lot bloody better than having fish your ‘underwear’ (if we can even call it that) out of your undercarriage every 15 minutes for fear of causing permanent damage down there. For the record, there is a lot of attractive underwear out there that actually covers your arse and is still sexy and lovely and not necessarily visible through your clothes.

I sincerely wish that someone had told me in my teens/twenties to ditch these fucking instruments of torture sooner.

No more thongs ladies – this one tip alone will immeasurably improve your quality of life. Guaranteed.

4. Handbags

Oh I have a real struggle with this one. Every day on the way to work I see men striding along, hands free – perhaps carrying a paper or, at most, a laptop in one of those cool protective sleeves under one arm. And that’s it.

The women, on the other hand are often laden down with not one, but sometimes two, or even three bags apiece. Like pack animals! Lunch boxes, spare shoes (see ‘high heels’ above), make up, books, gym kit – god knows what else. It looks miserable.

And I am not immune. My issue is that I try quite hard to travel light – but I also live in fear of ‘what if’ and I like to be prepared. So I like to have everything to hand if needed. Water bottle, iPad, sewing kit, painkillers – you name it, I can usually dig it out of my handbag at a moment’s notice. I will definitely look smug when I do.

But it comes at price. You don’t get to stroll around with that casual, ‘I am all that I need in life’ confidence that some guys portray so well. You are carrying your baggage wherever you go. And it can also weigh you down – literally.

Several years ago I bought a designer handbag. Second hand but beautiful. It’s the only one I have – I use it for special occasions or work meetings – and I do love it. But one of the main reasons I won’t use it on a daily basis is it is really bloody heavy! And that’s when it’s empty. Full, it’s like carting around a bag of bricks. It makes my shoulders and neck ache. For something that cost as much as it did, it’s ridiculous. I just don’t need that sort of thing weighing me down – literally or metaphorically.

So I told myself when I started my job that I was not going to be one of those laden women. I would be carefree and hands free if it killed me. And the answer to this conundrum is…. a backpack.

Oh yes. That good old school staple. Turns out, they knew what they were talking about.

Originally I invested in a huge carry-all backpack that was, frankly, brilliant. Once, when pregnant and going to stay with a friend, I even stuffed a pillow into it (you need ALL the pillows when pregnant – I couldn’t risk being caught short!). However, after some unfavourable comparisons by work colleagues to looking like a swotty school girl, I decided to upgrade to a cute faux leather backpack with shiny gold zips. It’s small, smart and perfect. I am, as far as possible, hands and care free.

And to deal with my ‘what if’ fear, I’ve stuffed a cloth bag into the bottom of it so that – worst case scenario – I can still carry my shoes, lunch box, make up, gym kit etc. as well if need be.

5. Pockets

Oh yes, here we are – back where we started. Fucking pockets.

I won’t go on about this one too much – I’ve ranted enough. But suffice to say that, if you are ever in any doubt as to how sorely serviced women are in the pocket department – witness the excitement of a woman who discovers that her dress or skirt has pockets… Winning the lottery barely comes close.

Down with the patriarchy and up with pockets I say!

That is all. X


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