Thursday, October 6, 2016

Link party: Phones and Pockets and Politics

Want to see something funny? Watch me pat myself down looking for something?

 I'm trying to find my pockets. 

There's been a lot about this recently in the news as iPhones get bigger than pockets and men can't figure out how to carry them. Lots of palavering. Trust those first world boy problems to make this topical.
2014 iPhone announcement presentation, photo from Bustle, now with magic jeans

These are not all the articles I've read on this topic, but I'm trying to make a party of this, not a funeral march to the pyre.

When you read these articles about women's clothes and politics and pockets, the Victoria and Albert Museum article they cite is this:
from V&A article history of pockets

You could read that and be perfectly happy. But history isn't an activity, palaver is. And I do love palaver.
from Racked article politics of pockets

There is a lot wrong with this article in terms of research and reference. Chelsea G Summers links to a wealth of information over the century, and those links are a well-spent afternoon of reading all by themselves (just look for the telltale highlighted words). The article itself walks right over that history and opinion to suit its present day theory about Hillary's pantsuits. 

Let me just stop here for a minute: one thing I used to do is research and write history papers in college. One lesson I learned: rewriting the past isn't necessary and distracts from the point you are trying to make. It's often more about what you don't say than what you do. Methodological bias is inherent in all historical works; I think you're better off stating your bias at the outset and THEN proving the point you're trying to make. She could have done a historical analysis of the iconology of the Madonna and proved her point much better, but then we wouldn't be having this party today.

Hey, gender politics and research! Ariana Tobin can do it all. This really is a wonderful piece of work, with lots of great photographs

Tanya Basu has some nice research and interviews with people in the clothing industry.

From 2011, Paul Johnson at the Spectator has some juicy arguments and rewritten history and is the personal source for the Dior quote.

Finally, the oft cited
1905 New York Times editorial page 8 on men's clothing and pockets 

Charlotte Gilman was correct then as now. Pockets should remain alike in size, shape and position.
Particularly that position thing. Want to watch me pat myself down looking for something? I'm trying to find my pockets in the clothing I'm wearing today. They keep moving.

from NYT "World's Use of Pockets" 1889

Earlier this year, my son was trying on a vintage suit in a thrift store, and kept puzzling over why the welted pockets were all sewn shut. "This is stupid. No one in their right mind would go to all the trouble of making a pocket just for show"

Oh honey.....let me tell you a story.....

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