3 Why Are Women (Historically) So Picky About Our Bags

Ever wondered why it takes so long to select a handbag? Why your browser shows you’ve visited a million different pages and clicked on a thousand different views and researched a hundred different reviews before clicking “Buy Now”? You’re not alone.

Research shows that 40% of women ages 18 to 34 years old start ruminating over a bag selection more than a month before making a final selection, according to a study by the NPD Group and Stylitics.

A month is a long time to shop.

But there’s a reason women take so long to decide, and it’s deeply rooted in our DNA. Here are three history-backed reasons women are so picky about our bags:

  1. Women are busier than ever before.

From the World War II labor shortage to the rise of the feminist movement, women are now taking the workforce by storm. American women are busier than ever before.

But we (kind of) like it this way. In fact, busyness is considered a status symbol these days. Research shows that over the past 5 decades, our holiday letters have moved away from recounting the blessings of the season and more toward bragging about how jam-packed last year was. “There’s a real ‘busier than thou’ attitude,” says Ann Burnett, researcher at the University of North Dakota. Besides, we’re just so good at it. As women, we’re scientifically known for our ability to multitask, and multitask we do.

So as busy as we are, we don’t have time to mess around. We need a bag that can keep up. One that can encompass (at minimum) the function, comfort, and durability to fit our chaos *ahem* lifestyle.

<<Any bag picture>>

  1. It’s been a long road. Really long.

Historically, we’ve come a long way in displaying our bags. And we want to show it. Bags have evolved from hidden mysteries into a current-day demonstration of social status. A chance to flaunt our taste and experiment with fashion.

Just look at the progression: Back when a woman’s role was largely domestic, two hundred years ago, women kept their belongings underneath their clothes. Literally, in a dimity purse pocket held underneath their skirt, accessible by a slit. 

Over time, as they left the home as a primary dwelling place, they had to carry more items with them, and handheld purses became a necessity.

Further ventures from the home in the form of travel, paired with women gaining financial independence, developed the need for a handbag that told a story of her advancement, her expansion, and her journey.

It’s not surprising, then, that we’re so fastidious when it comes to choosing a bag. There’s a lot of history (and progress) riding on it.

  1. We are the carriers of life.

By and large, we’re responsible for others. Mothers, daughters, spouses…we are the carriers of life. And history backs it up.

Bridget Brennan, CEO of Female Factor and leading authority on women consumers, notes that women’s thoughtfulness places them in the role of caregiver to multiple others in their life: “In virtually every society in the world, women have primary caregiving responsibilities for both children and the elderly (and often, just about everybody else in between).” As caregiver, they’re responsible for toting items on behalf of spouse, children, and elderly parents (and remembering to pack it all!).

It’s no wonder the bag needs to measure up to the challenge. We have a lot of stuff to keep together.