A few weeks ago, one of my bridesmaids, Nell, tweeted a picture of me and my bridesmaids, hands in pockets, with the caption, “My friend got married last month and her dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses ALL HAD POCKETS. And yes, we did use them for storing snacks, thank you for asking.”
Nell casually joked that it would go viral, then boarded a flight to Texas.
Was I making a feminist statement, did I want to challenge the fashion industry?
Perhaps it was a quiet news day. Perhaps we’re all just tired of Brexit and American politics. Perhaps we’re just desperate for a fun, good news story, but whatever it was, we’d somehow hit the right note. When Nell landed, she discovered that thousands of people had liked the tweet, women globally were cheering for more pockets on clothing, and we were, unbelievably, going viral.
Within hours, news outlets began getting in touch, asking where the dresses were from, was I making a feminist statement, did I want to challenge the fashion industry? I began responding to the likes of Fox News and the BBC, at first finding it ridiculous, but quickly realising that the pockets were, in fact, a feminist statement – if by ‘feminist statement’ you just mean ‘asking that women have the same as men’. If men get pockets, then why shouldn’t we?
Fighting for pockets on a dress might not stop rape, forced marriage, and FGM around the world, but it does promote the basic premise that women are valuable, capable, strong, and equal to men.
Gradually I was able to open up discussion, not just about pockets, but more broadly about women’s issues. When you look at the global scale of injustice, a lack of pockets is really rather minor, but I discovered that it feeds into much wider concerns. Firstly, it suggests that there should be more emphasis on whether women’s clothing makes them look good, than whether it practically equips them to do all that they’re capable of. Secondly, fighting for pockets on a dress might not stop rape, forced marriage, and FGM around the world, but it does promote the basic premise that women are valuable, capable, strong, and equal to men.
I won’t deny, it was a wild ride for a few days – and my mother can now proudly say that her daughter featured on Brazilian TV – but after the hype died down, I was left wondering whether my attempt to use my new-found platform for good would really change the plight of women around the world. I pray it might, but I’m honestly unsure it will.
Jesus is far more exciting and freedom-fighting than pockets on women’s clothing.
The message that I really want to share, the one that actually will change things for humanity globally, is Jesus. He was what I wanted to talk about during hurried phone calls with time-precious journalists, or brief conversations with amused friends who’d spotted us online. Jesus is far more exciting and freedom-fighting than pockets on women’s clothing.
As I’ve reflected on it all, I’ve asked myself whether I should have made more of an effort to talk about Jesus. Whether I should have made space for Him in conversations, and pushed to talk more about Him than about pockets. Perhaps I missed a golden opportunity to share Jesus, on a scale that I’ll probably never have again.
But I’ve also come to realise that Jesus isn’t worried about whether He goes viral on social media – one day, the whole world will see who He really is! Until then, He’s not in the business of building a movement that quickly gains followers but dies out within a week like our pocket story did. Instead, He’s building a kingdom with far more impact and longevity than a viral sensation.
My comments about pockets may not change things for women around the world, but I know that Jesus will. I don’t need to fear that I missed my shot to make a difference, because I know that Jesus is still at work, and in His grace, I still get to be a part.
If you want to go viral, I honestly still don’t understand how it happens. But if you want to have a real impact, try talking about Jesus.
We hope you find videos, articles and resources on our website that inspire you and your community to share Jesus – and please do feel free to share these on social media or in church gatherings. If you see something that you would like to post on another website, however, please get in touch so that we can help you.