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A woman’s handbag means much more than you can imagine


A woman’s handbag means much more than you can imagine

Nandujja guarding her handbag jealously

Nandujja guarding her handbag jealously

For many women, their handbag is more than something to carry their make-up. It is their whole life in a leather cocoon. Handbags say a lot about their owners and they are really a potent symbol of women’s emancipation.

Traditionally a handbag provides a simple way to carry a purse, mobile phone and keys, along with a random assortment of everyday bits and pieces. But a close analysis shows that the handbag is much more than that.

Did you know that handbags have become potent symbols of “politics, economics, social mobility, pre-feminist proclivities or post-feminist liberties, ethical living, advanced capitalism, the ebb of socialism and possibly the end of history?

Most women will agree with me that a handbag is a symbol of women emancipation; a struggle that has been in existence of decades.

A century ago, women’s lives revolved around domestic concerns. It was all about wiping children’s noses, feeding the hens and cooking food.  There wasn’t the same need or desire for statement bags.  It’s only in the past half-century that bags have developed and got heavier.

The more women have become independent, the more they have taken their bag with them every day. With that, though, comes the pressure to look good. In fact one online advice guide warns darkly that “a dowdy handbag, like a bad haircut, can add 10 years to your age”.

Men have always wondered what exactly is contained in a woman’s handbag. There is a belief that what is in there is more than lipstick, money and phones.

Believe me girls have weird things in their purses. I love the fact that girls carry purses and contain everything. Every time you ask a lady to throw your keys, wallet, cell phone, whatever in their purse, they gladly oblige. The problem is that when you want any of those things back, it takes them over 15 minutes of searching and then they finally just dump the whole purse out!

When everything inside is poured out on a table you are likely to see hair straighteners, shoes, paperback novels, condoms, rolls of yarn, receipts, broken necklaces, hankies, vibrators, earphones, spectacles, kitchen sinks…name it.

The question now comes back to the ladies; do you really need to carry all those things around with you all the time? This must be the craziest thing about women and their purses. It is more than a makeup carrier.




Isa Senkumba is a social critic

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