A Purse-onal Affair

Oh the fascinations of digging through ones purse as a child were endless and also a major faux pas in my family. I was raised NEVER to go into my mothers purse, or anyone else’s for that matter without asking. I don’t know whether it was about the wallet and the money they feared I would steal or perhaps it was more about the privacy of the space which contained some of my mothers secrets, and the lessons of personal boundaries that followed.

I was recently reading an article that referred to handbags now a days as symbols that transmit messages about “taste, aspirations, and personality,” that they are to the most of us what cars are to those living in LA; they are private vessels, sealed off from the rest of the world that help carry you from Point A to B, containing the necessities you need for daily survival.

Photographer, Juergen Teller, believes that the purse is in fact a psycho-sexual object and likens the privacy intrusions into ones purse to almost feeling like a body violation; and if a high heel has a phallic connotation then why can’t the purse have a vaginal one? I know this is all very Freudian, but I have to agree that to have someone go through the contents of your purse does feel like a personal violation, whether you are hiding something or not (airport X-rays, case and point).

So whether Jeurgen photograph’s models spread eagle in bags, hands in purses intimately placed in between their legs, (hairy, furry, or smooth) there is one thing for certain, there is an implicit understanding that now a days a bag is a status accessory, as for the rest, Freudian or not, unless I give you permission keep your hands out of my purse. -tM

Photography: Juergen Teller