Update: Pussy Pouch's Instagram Account Was Shut Down

Photo: Courtesy of Damnsel.
UPDATE: On the heels of its latest ban of #curvy, Instagram has now added Rachel Feinberg, the designer of the “Pussy Pouch,” to its list of disabled accounts (this was the offending photo). As Feinberg predominantly posted product images with a sprinkle of look-book shots and personal photos, it seems that the IG powers that be have gotten their proverbial panties in a bunch over Feinberg's “pussy” shots. We can't wait to see how this slight will inspire Feinberg's next collection. Maybe she'll join the #freethenipple community and future bags will be areola-focused.

This story was originally published on July 16, 2015.

We've all been there — exhausted after a long day of work or errands, arms filled with overflowing bags, feet quaking in your shoes, and you finally make your way onto a subway car, only to see that the seats are taken by men with their legs splayed so wide you assume they must be smuggling bowling balls in their pants. You're tired, you don't want to have to ask again, especially when anti-“manspreading” ads are already doing the educating.

Designer Rachel Feinberg found herself in a similar situation. She told us, "I looked up from my book [The Politics of Reality: Oppression, by Marilyn Frye] to survey the commuters around me. Each woman, myself included, sat with her purse on her lap with legs either crossed or tightly closed, while the majority of men sat with relaxed limbs extended in all directions."

Coincidentally, the book Feinberg was reading identifies the forces of oppression that contributes to sexism. In The Politics of Reality, Frye asks her readers, "Consider [...] the discipline of women's cramped physical postures and attenuated stride" as the stark contrast of men's freedom to claim ownership of the space around them.

So Feinberg moved seats, spread out, and decided to fight genitals with genitals with a sartorial statement of her own — the “Pussy Pouch.”

Feinberg offers people the opportunity to showcase their sociopolitical views and make a declaration for societal change, even if they are too nervous to combat “manspreading” by physical occupying more space themselves.

The line uses supple leather and metallic hardware, and comes in a handful of different looks, including the original raised design that showcases a 3-D vulva, crystal-covered “vajazzled” varieties (with four different crystalized options, including “orgasm”), and more-subtle “pleated” designs that feature one to six slits (but without the elevated mound of the original style).

To find out more about this fiercely feminine fashion designer and her boundary-breaking bags, we sat down with the woman behind the "pussy" to learn about the creation of the pouches; her awe-inspiring new video, FEMMETALIQUÉ; and what's next for her brand, DAMNsel.
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Photo: Courtesy of Damnsel.
Why do you think men feel comfortable taking up more space, while women do not?
"While my parents are very liberal, and have always encouraged me to be my own person and make a difference, I was still raised with the standard American morals and values of conservativeness — I think this is true for many women. We've been instructed to not be as carefree as men. We don’t have that luxury, and I don’t understand why. Are women’s body parts more offensive? Even more so than a penis? This doesn’t make sense to me."
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Photo: Courtesy of Damnsel.
Do you think women should start trying to take up more space?
"Women should not be told how to act. That being said people should take up as much space as they feel necessary but also be respectful of others' personal space."
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Photo: Courtesy of Damnsel.
How did "manspreading" inspire you to create a bag that showcases the vulva?
"My whole thought process behind manspreading was so that women can still sit with their legs crossed, and still remain conservative and‘ classy’ if they chose, yet if a DAMNsel purse is held on their lap, it reminds the world that we are still advocating for social change, and women should have the opportunity to be as open as men."
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Photo: Courtesy of Damnsel.
How did you come up with the name "DAMNsel"?
"DAMNsel comes from the term ‘Damsel in distress.” The damsel in distress or persecuted maiden is a classic theme in world literature, art, film, and video games. She is usually a beautiful young woman placed in a dire predicament by a villain or monster and who requires a hero to achieve her rescue.

"My theme behind it is the 'monster' or situation of distress is oppression. With the Pussy Pouch, we are no longer 'in distress.'"
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Photo: Courtesy of Damnsel.
What's next for you & DAMNsel?
"Accessories have been an amazing first step for DAMNsel. However, my true passion is Peopleswear — high-end clothing that plays with traditional gender roles. Peopleswear is currently in the process of launching.The solid lines in society that define men and women are no longer concrete. The collection is unisex, and like DAMNsel, it brings life to equality and social justice. Every piece contains subtle details meant to foster discussions about the policing of sexuality and gender norms."
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