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Heather Korol Headshot

Do Women Have a Purse Gene?

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Have you seen my purse? It can house a small animal, a bucket of make-up, an e-reader, a lunch packed in Tupperware, an iPhone, mints, credit cards, travel coffee mug, keys, Scotch tape, small scissors and, of course, an extra pair of shoes. Why would anyone choose to carry a mobile Walmart on their shoulder? Was I born with this baggage affliction, or have I learned to be this way? Nature vs. nurture, which is it?

As I catch a glimpse of myself heading out the door, I'm shocked, I see my reflection slinging a Glad bag and it's not even garbage day. I've become a human tote replete with diaper bag, insulated lunch bag, work-bag and of course my purse. I hate it. Am I pre-programmed to gather? Has science found a purse gene? If it's not DNA that taught me to live like this, then what?

I glance away form the mirror and the answer is staring me in the face. The television glows with primary colours as Dora and Diego, yell at my toddler in both English and Spanish. After a billion hours of exposure by TV osmosis, I realize that media is covertly training our girls to carry a lot of extra crap.

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Examine the evidence:

Dora The Explorer:

  • A forthright girl that carries a backpack.

  • Inside is a map, a flashlight, some tissues, a book, two lifejackets and a shovel.

  • Her end goal is to arrive at her destination without having anything stolen or being harassed by a small bridge-troll with a dirty beard.

  • She travels with a twirly-tailed monkey, light on his feet, conspicuously wearing red boots. He loves Dora's backpack as much as she does.

  • Her signature piece of clothing is a beaded flower bracelet.
Diego The Animal Rescuer:
  • A spirited boy that carries a rescue pack.
  • Inside it contains nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
  • It is empty because it is a magical rescue pack that transforms into whatever he needs, whenever he needs it.
  • If Diego needs a surfboard, a floatplane, or even lunch, PRESTO! Rescue pack is can do it -- nothing to it.
  • Rescue pack is never forgotten because when it is no longer a yacht with a built in BBQ, it shrinks and flies onto his back.
  • Diego's end goal is to rescue baby animals in trouble without being crushed in an avalanche or being eaten by wild animals.
  • Diego's companion is a baby jaguar. Roar.
  • His signature piece of clothing is a hyper-linked, video watch with a GPS locater.

You see, Diego is a cartoon hero, to Dora's on screen admin assistant. He's wild and adventurous while she's making a plan with a talking map. Dora's greatest accomplishment is to get to grandma's house as she passes through the Choco-latte forest. She's on a mission of eating, sharing and caring. Young Dora, is role modeling what we all become; women with backpack-like purses filled with stuff to save humanity and keep our lips glossy.

As a woman, I resent being a "backpack" owner. I want to be more like Diego and less like Dora. It would be wonderful to stop planning and fretting and just carry a bag of magic. On our next outing I'm going to leave the house backpack free. I can hear the conversation now:

"No. Mommy doesn't have a bag for garbage, or snacks or crayons -- carry your own jacket and stuffed animal. I'm sorry that you are hungry, this adventure is about magic food, and a magic map, today we are going to use our imaginations while we travel."

The purse is clearly a product of our society. Nurture all the way. Ladies, let's lose the luggage and start our days with a little less worry and little more adventure. Thanks Diego, I feel freer already.