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Outrage and everything you ever wanted to know about man purses

Something utterly outrageous happened at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, May 9, 2006, at around 7 pm. The Yankees screwed up big time. Oh, wait, that isn't outrageous--that's great! What was outrageous was that my brother was denied entrance to the stadium because of the small "man purse" he was carrying.

Come on, you all know what I mean by "man purse," don't you? In this case, it was a small, masculine messenger-bag. Non-American men carry them all the time. Some people apparently call it a "murse."

("Man purse" is a retronym, I think, because a purse, the second definition of which is "a small bag or pouch for carrying money," was probably at one time primarily used by men, assuming that men were, at one time, the primary holders of money. I'm not sure that's true about men being the primary users of purses, but it's clear that they once used the term without the prefix "man." See, for example, this quote from Benjamin Franklin: "If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." Unrelated note for the amateur etymologists among us: "Purse" comes from the Late Latin bursa.)

Anyway, back to the OUTRAGE! My brother was denied entrance with his man purse because he was a man. That's right, folks. Clear cut gender discrimination. He was willing to have it searched or metal-detected or whatever, but they said no. (They said, "Put it in your car." Who takes a car to Yankee Stadium?) So he had to (shhhh...don't tell anyone) get out of that line, stuff its contents into his pockets, fold it and adjust the straps so it looked even smaller than it's already small size, and try to get in via a different line. This time, they let him in.

Nobody is permitted to bring a backpack into Yankee Stadium. Fine. Rules are rules. But only women may bring in smaller bags. This seems to mean that anything that a woman calls a purse, which is not clearly a backpack--even if it might also be known as a "messenger bag," a "tote bag," or a "satchel"--can be brought into Yankee Stadium under the category "purse."

Okay, let's break this down. If the rule was that nobody could bring bags in, then many women would have no place for their wallets, even if they left their cell phones at home. This is because of the idiocy of clothing designers not putting pockets in women's clothing combined with the desire many women have not to increase the girth of their hips or butts by putting things into any pockets that they may have. So, fine, women should be allowed to bring in small bags.

But why not let men bring in small bags as well? Why not make a universal rule: nobody may bring in backpacks, and everybody may bring in small bags designed to carry a bottle of water, a wallet, a cell phone, and a PDA or iPod. Just the essentials, you know.

The only other thing that might be going through these people's heads is that men pose a greater risk of bringing something bad into Yankee Stadium, and thus, this is "gender profiling" of men. They already inspect all women's bags, while they send bag-carrying men away. It would probably be quicker just to take a quick look through everyone's bag, thus ensuring the security of Yankee Stadium.

Apparently, I'm not the first person who was outraged by this.

I don't want to violate any copyright issues by including this directly, but I thought that these man purse cartoons were worthwhile only because who knew that people were drawing cartoons about man purses?! (And the third cartoon does a good job of explaining why I carry a backpack with me every day, and why it's so full of stuff. For anyone who was curious.)


Great post! Finally, you're putting that angry feminism to good use!
I'm with you about the discrimination. On the topic of the man-purse, I prefer a backpack, personally, because I'm generally carrying a laptop in addition to whatever else.
The stadium bag rule is bullshit, and you quote me, a life long yankees fan, on that.
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