Ellie building the Lego “Research Lab.”

My daughter, Ellie, who is 5: I wonder why people make pants without pockets. 

Me: It’s because clothing designers believe girls don’t need pockets.

Ellie: We should go to a clothing designer and say, ‘Hey! Put pockets in girl pants.’ And they’ll say, ‘Why? Girls don’t need pockets.’ And then we’ll say ‘They actually do need pockets because where will they put things?

So now you know.

I’ve written about my daughter and clothing before, including in the most viral piece I’ve ever written, on my daughter’s “best-dressed” award.

A boy received best engineer. A girl got best friend. Another girl was the best helper, and another most compassionate. A boy received best break dancer. A girl was named most athletic, and the teacher told us how when all the class raced around the track this girl “beat everyone! Even the boys!” And then my daughter got her certificate, showing her in a funky orange sweater, tight pants, and holding a bowling ball. Her award — best dressed.

Many decades after the feminist movement of the 1960s, why are we still stuck in this gender-norming rut?

I  finished the piece with this:

If my daughter’s creativity shines through in her choice of clothing, then celebrate both that creativity and the critical thinking that lies at the heart of all creative acts with a most creative award. Or we could just let Ellie tell us what she wants us to celebrate. When she picked up her award, she beamed at the picture of herself holding the bowling ball so proudly. “Daddy!” she said, “I won best bowler!”

We have to empower our kids to tell their own stories.

And give them pockets to put things in! 

3 Replies to “Pockets”

  1. Anonymous says:


    I don't like wearing jeans. There's this thing, where because of the way I'm shaped, they always seem to want to crawl up my ass, unless I get jeans so enormously baggy that they fall off my hips. But the pockets! They have the right pockets. So, I found some jeans skirts which have the same pockets as a normal pair of jeans, but don't have unfortunate aspirations towards my private parts.

    Office drag for girls? Full of fake pockets. So enormously offensive. You can get these very nice looking slacks, but the pockets are either so small that you can barely fit a quarter into them, or they are actually sewn shut. So very infuriating.

    Because girls carry purses.

    There's that other thing that happens, where people are assumed to come in couples, so that 20% of the stuff she carries is stuff that her man needs but can't fit into his pockets. Also annoying and weird. Let him carry his own damn purse if he needs nasal spray and a fold-up toothbrush and hand sanitizer or whatever it is.

  2. RachaelHD says:

    My husband and I have been together since I was 19, and thus I have been long used to him taking my cash, id, and lipstick in his pockets when we go out. Which is all well and good until I was going out with a male co-worker and realized I had no small purse (we were seeing Boiled in Lead on St. Patty's day.) I ended up putting my things in a baby sock, and asking my co-worker to put the baby sock in his pocket. Strangely, I still get teased about it to this day.

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