The Atlantic announced that this is the year that professional women started wearing backpacks.
Excerpt: “Each woman’s conversion to the double-shoulder lifestyle is unique. Anna Swanson told me she started coming into the office with a backpack instead of a purse when she began work as a bureaucrat, which seemed, to her, to be a more “masculine” sphere. I corresponded with dozens of women for this story, and they told me they had grown tired of juggling multiple bags on public transportation or while walking—in heels, no less! They shared tales of trying to squeeze a laptop, makeup, gym clothes, a water bottle, notebooks, and a phone into a classy tote, then giving up and saying, Screw it.
“A year ago, I would have said, ‘You’ll have to pry my leather satchel purse from my cold, dead hands,’” says Silver Lumsdaine, a marketing specialist in San Francisco. “But after standing in a jam-packed bus for a 45-minute, swaying, nausea-inducing commute over the hills of San Francisco with my hand cramping in pain from holding my laptop-burdened purse, I did what any reasonable person would do.” Reader, she got a backpack.”
That’s fine. I was once asked to speak at a student event called From Backpack to Briefcase and I had to confess that I had never really made the transition myself. As a cyclist, I’m a fan of backpacks, also messenger bags.
The Atlantic called their story The Rise of the Lady Backpack. Of course they did. because women can’t just wear backpacks. We have to wear “lady backpacks.” Likewise, we ride “women’s bikes.”
What’s with the unnecessary gendering? A friend explained that lady backbacks are built for the female frame. They’re smaller. But what about small men? I asked. Well, said the friend, they can buy a lady backpack.
But they’re not a lady! They’re a small person. Wouldn’t it be easier if backpacks came in sizes to match differently sized people?
FFS. And they’ll probably come in pink.
A friend recently raised the issue of step-through bike frames. He wanted one because he’d had knee surgery and couldn’t swing his leg up over a traditional cross bar. The bike shop told him he wanted a women’s bike. He said, no, that he wanted a step through frame. How hard is this to understand, people?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a women’s specific anything is likely just a very bad idea.
Humans come in lots of different shapes and sizes. How about you just label the stuff by measurement and let us choose? Leave gender out of it, thanks.