Is My Purse Holding Me Back?

Being a woman -- it's so heavy!
Publish date:
August 29, 2011
shoppables, sexism, handbags, purses, kate spade

Being a woman -- it's so heavy! I feel like I'm always carrying a million things -- books and magazines, groceries, shopping bags, the oppressive weight of thousands of years of gender inequality. That shit can really leave a mark:

And of course, I'm always carrying a purse. My purse itself is nothing but good and right. You hear that Kate Spade typewriter bag? I am NOT MAD AT YOU. It's the idea of carrying a purse at all that bothers me.

Doesn't it seem like there's something just a little bit sexist about it? My boyfriend roams the world free and unfettered like a darting forest animal; meanwhile I'm hobbling wearily up the hill to my house on high heels while trying to balance the lopsided weight of my overstuffed bag on my right shoulder.

I love my bag, and my shoes -- obviously I fully opt in when it comes to gender accessories. But I also shave my legs (sometimes) -- that doesn't mean it's not sexist that we live in a society where women are expected to be sleek, hairless otters and men aren't.

I know plenty of men carry bags, but a goodly amount face the world with just an overstuffed pocket or slim wallet, fully able to climb a tree, execute a ninja kick or run at any given moment.

What's in there anyway?

Hmmm, whenever magazines do those spreads inside celeb bags, the contents always look so beautiful and glamorous. I guess because they buy everything new instead of just dumping out the bag with all the banged-up unwrapped tampons and such. Just once I want to see a gnarly tampon on the back page of Marie Claire.

And of course everything's coated with a layer of purse grime, which seems to be magically generated like I actually thought bellybutton lint was until recently, when my boyfriend explained it doesn't actually come from your bellybutton.

So here's what's in there:

  • Reading material, in this case "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer," beause I have the literary tastes of your dad
  • My leopard Hell's Belles wallet
  • A bunch of Goody hair elastics
  • A bunch of Crystal Light on-the-go packets
  • Spare contacts in case I blink one out of my eye or something -- I learned my lesson after this happened to me at the movies and I watched all of "District 9" with one eye closed
  • My keys
  • Motrin packet
  • 3 lipsticks: Dior Addict gloss that Cat gave me, Urban Decay in "Revolution" and CoverGirl Continuous Color in "Really Red"
  • Elizabeth Arden concealer from Cat
  • My old-school iPod
  • My BlackBerry, which is in addition to the iPhone I'm taking the picture with. One is ostensibly for work and one for my personal life, but as you may have noticed, the two are one.
  • One tampon (I discarded several gnarly ones)
  • Two of these awesome La Fresh Oil-Free Face Cleanser Wet Wipes, also from Cat (She gives me a lot of stuff to make up for always disappointing me.)
      • Sunglasses + hair flower
      • Mama's pills: 100 mg of Wellbutrin and 60 mg of Celexa, which apparently is now an uhealthy dose
      • My SONY IC Recorder for quotable moments -- My life changed when I switched from tape recorders to this little guy, who I can plug into my computer to create MP3s of my interviews. Even better, last year I switched to a LiveScribe Smart Pen, which I swear is one step away from an android. It records, you take notes with it, then when you tap a word in your notes it goes to that part of the recording. The future is now.

      Why does being a woman require so much freaking stuff? OK, not all of this stuff is girlz only, but even if I narrowed it down to just the essentials, I wouldn't be able to fit even my keys in my 2-inch lady pockets. Yet somehow the men I know manage to get through life just fine without lugging their worldly possessions around on their backs. If I ditched my bag, would I feel faster, stronger, more free? Or would I come apart at the seams without the tools of my tenatatively hobbled-together femininity?

      What do you keep in your purse? Could you live without it?