When it comes to understanding why a handbag is so important to a woman, men have always been at something of a loss.
Rather than considering the contents to be valuable and essential, men have traditionally dismissed most items as unnecessary for everyday life.
But now a female judge has leapt to the defence of the humble handbag, after a barrister suggested having one stolen was merely a crime of "inconvenience".
Dismissing his claims, Her Honour Judge Zoe Smith, said the victim was often left suffering from stress, anxiety and fear, adding that the crime should not be trivialised.
Her comments came during a hearing at Reading Crown Court where a 34-year-old man had pleaded guilty to repeatedly stealing handbags.
In June former drug addict, Kamran Latif, 34, admitted a string of thefts, including that of two handbags.
But he also asked for 38 other offences to be taken into account, after the court heard how he had stolen again on the same day of his guilty plea.
However when his defence barrister Edward Culver, argued for leniency, suggesting the crimes had been ones of inconvenience, Judge Smith was not amused.
She responded: "It's not just inconvenience, it causes fear as well."
The judge explained that there were a number of potentially serious consequences especially when a girl had her bag stolen during a night out.
She said: "Her phone is taken, her cards, her money to get a cab is taken, her keys to the door of her house. Then there is the fear of anyone coming to break into the house. It's a terrible thing to do and girls are left stranded on their own."
Illustrating the point one of Latif's victims, Hannah Williams, provided the court with a statement setting out the difficulties she had endured after her bag was stolen by Latif.
She explained that losing her phone had "caused her great upset" and expense as she was forced to continue paying the contract even though the phone had gone.
She wrote to the court: "When I want to go out and have no money, I don't go out stealing."
Latif pleaded guilty on June 20 at Reading Magistrates Court to four offences - two stolen handbags, theft with another man of £155 worth of alcohol from Sainsbury's in Winnersh and driving off with £20 worth of petrol from the Windrush service station in Padworth.
But Lisa Goddard, prosecuting, said the date of his guilty plea was relevant because the same day he snatched another handbag and stole a mobile phone from one.
Mr Culver said his client had had a lengthy record dating back to 1996 including jail terms for burglary and importing drugs.
But he said he had managed to maintain a "degree of abstinence" from drugs since getting married four years ago.
He invited the judge to impose a community order, but she said when Latif applied for bail before going straight out and committing more offences:
"No doubt he said in his bail application he had a supportive family and that he was going to behave himself."
She decided to defer his sentence until December 14 and gave him conditional bail until that date.
She told him he needed to be completely crime-free during that time, he must attend the Cranston drug agency and comply with all its requirements and he needed to work to find the money to compensate his victims,
She said if he committed any offences he would face an "immediate custodial sentence".
She added: "And it will be consecutive sentences and because you have committed some of these offences while on bail - it will be a substantial sentence."