This morning I got up thinking about a skirt. More of an idea of a skirt, but one I thought I'd like to make. So I poked around in my fabric stash and found some fabric I thought would work well, and then I started drafting a pattern for it, and then I thought: pockets! I'd like to have some pockets! Now, I'm kind of partial to patch pockets, but they wouldn't work for the skirt I was thinking of. What I really needed were some pockets sewn into the side seams. It's been a while since I'd done those, so I checked my handy dandy sewing reference book: The Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. I picked it up at a yard sale or a thrift store or some such ages ago for like a dollar, and it has proven to be incredibly useful.
Lo and behold, there was a description of exactly what I was looking for-- inside pockets on a skirt!
But then I thought, hmmm.... maybe what I really want are the kind of pockets that you get on the front of a pair of jeans. I flipped the page, but there were no more pockets in the women's clothing section. I was baffled-- surely there must be something in here about pants pockets? I checked the index, and there, under pockets, was a whole section on trouser pockets. Half a dozen entries! But none in the women's clothing section.
Instead, they were all in the "sewing for men and boys" section. So efficient the way that so many levels of sexism can be wrapped up in one section heading! The women's clothing section is not entitled "sewing for ladies." Because the implied audience is ladies. The subtext is, in fact, sewing for you. But when it comes the the male of the species, it is not about men sewing, but about women sewing for men and boys. And only men and boys need pockets in their trousers. I guess because they carry the wallets?
Certainly I'd noticed that the illustrations (and instructions on how to capture some hot fashion styles) were dated, but I'd never really noticed how sexist it is. I guess this sort of highlights how little sewing for men and boys I do? The book was published in 1976, which to me seems so.... not that long ago. Maybe that just means I'm getting old?