The Why of Handbags

For all of history, women have carried handbags, but have you ever wondered why? The answer is surprisingly complex, and is tied to everything that, well, makes a woman a woman. We have records of purses and women’s handbags dating back as far as 430 B.C.

Not merely a way of carrying things, handbags and purses in generally have always played a significant part in society. From the with-doctors medicine bag, to the society ladies handbag, there are a lot of links that tie together all the different uses to which bags and purses have been put.

The first reason, as first reasons should be, is an easy one. You can put things in a bag. This may seem overly simplistic, but do not overlook the astonishing freedom a woman enjoys, having everything she needs instantly at hand. And yet, you never see a man with a handbag. Ever wonder why this is? The truth is, it is women who have been evolutionarily selected to be the traditional caregivers, and responsible for keeping up with the needs of her family.

Most importantly, the women were responsible for raising children, and so they had to keep everything they might need on hand, and so required a handbag to carry it. Additionally, women are also the traditional organizers. Say you wanted to throw a party, would you rather have a man or a woman arrange it? A woman, of course. And it is this same, almost obsessional organization that leads a woman to carry a purse.

The next part of the reason, is the role that the bag plays- one of surprising mystery and power. Because the contents of a bag are concealed, it is left to the imagination to come up with a description of what’s in there. Be it the bag of a wizard or a doctor, still, it is filled with items of mysterious and peculiar significance and power, and it endows the holder of the bag with an aura of mystery. They know what the bag contains, and how it works, and we don’t.

The average woman, of course, is not a mysterious wizard. However, the mystery of her bag does set her apart. Just like the wizard, at least as far as most men are concerned, a woman’s handbag is filled with strange and mysterious items that only she understands. And let us not forget, an air of mystery is extremely attractive.

So the hidden contents of her bag sets the women apart, and surrounds them with a strange attraction, as well as giving immediate access to whatever she might have need for at the moment. There are two reasons for you, and I’m sure you can guess the third.

A handbag is fashionable. Yes, it is really that simple. Women like to be fashionable, and particularly in today’s society, that means they must accessorize. More then that, a handbag gives a clear and straightforward indication of the women’s place in the world, and her social standing. I’m sure you could immediately gather that the woman with the drab brown handbag is at a rather different place in society then the one whose handbag is covered in glittering diamonds.

For instance, consider for a moment Margaret Thatcher. Remember, if you can, what her handbag looked like. You may not have noticed this, but it is astonishingly similar to the one carried by the queen mother at that time. Of course, this could just be a simple case of chance, but I find that unlikely. More probably, their similarity of circumstance (both strong, powerful leaders) encouraged them to choose a similar handbag to reflect the similarities in their social position.

To conclude, then, let me say that handbags have an incredible amount of significance. Far more then you might expect, a handbag is intensely linked to everything that is female. Allowing a woman to stay organized, while endowing her with an attractive sense of mystery, it also shows clearly her social standing. This is the reason for handbags.