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Your jeans are sexist

A data viz investigation.

Any person who wears women’s jeans knows just how annoying the front pockets are. You can barely stuff your hand in there, let alone your phone or wallet. What’s the point of having pockets in the first place if you can’t use them? Why do men get functional pockets when women’s pockets are considered so superfluous that sometimes they’re sewn shut?

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A new data visualization over at The Pudding maps out just how widespread this pocket inequality is, adding much-needed data to a long, incensed debate over women’s pockets. Data designers Amber Thomas and Jan Diehm measured the pants pockets of 80 pairs of blue jeans, for both men and women, from the 20 most popular brands in the United States. As you scroll through the visualization, you can see outlines of all these different women’s pockets stacked on top of each other, next to a stack of similar outlines for men’s pockets. The visual comparison highlights the designers’ calculation that the average women’s jeans pocket is 48% smaller and 6.5% narrower than men’s jeans. The designers conclude: “Our measurements confirmed what every woman already knows to be true: Women’s pockets are ridiculous.” Ahem.

[Screenshot: courtesy Jan Diehm/Amber Thomas/The Pudding]

Then, the designers calculated what would fit in one of these comically small front pockets. An iPhone X? Only 40% of women’s pockets, and 100% of men’s. A Google Pixel? Far worse, with only 5% of women’s pockets, and 100% of men’s. As for a woman’s hand? A measly 10%, compared to 100% of men’s pockets.

In case you thought this was because of the style of jeans, the same disparity holds true for women’s versus men’s skinny jeans, as well as women’s versus men’s straight-cut jeans. A small consolation: At least there’s almost no difference between back pockets.

The debate at last can be settled–women’s pockets are inferior to men’s. Why? Sexism, probably. As famed designer Christian Dior said in 1954, “Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration.” As if women don’t have important things to carry.

Check out the full visualization on The Pudding.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and sign up for her newsletter here: https://tinyletter.com/schwabability

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