Cosmopolitan magazine recently profiled the work of Rachel Feinberg, a senior in the BFA Fashion Design program, who’s made a clutch inspired by something that will be obvious to all and intimately familiar to most: a vagina.
Feinberg’s Pussy Pouch is, she says, meant to empower women and free them from bulky handbags. The idea began on the subway here in New York, on the way to class at Parsons. She was reading a book that discussed the way women take up less personal space than men in public settings. She looked around her on the train car, and realized it was true. “All of the women on my train were sitting with their bags and jacket on their laps,” she said. “They were very small and folded up.” The men she could see were not.
The strong incorporation of a vaginal theme in the purse is meant to communicate the purse’s status as a uniquely female burden the affects the way women move, sit, and hold themselves in public. By holding their personal items on their laps, Fienberg says, women are symbolically protecting themselves. Her bag makes this subtext explicit, and forces the viewer to consider issues they may otherwise ignore.
In her studies at Parsons, Feinberg has focused on issues related to women’s empowerment and women’s rights. She has applied for a Fulbright to continue this work at South Africa’s to Capetown College of Fashion Design, where she will research the relationship between rape culture and fashion.
In the meantime, her sleek leather and gold creation is available at her website, DAMNsel.