Friday, October 12, 2007

Murderous Shoes

By logic, men should never design women's shoes. Because they will never be the consumer, they allow themselves to create under the pretense of high design, pushing the envelope, if you will, but the results are pure sadism and fetishism. There is zero sympathy for the woman in question.

In the New York Times, they highlighted the impossible shoes that marched across the runways recently. One look at these shoes, and you KNEW that a man designed these. Even for a runway show, yes, fantasy is the norm, but I also think there's some sort of condescension coming from the designer, where they objectify the woman and subject her to painful shoes, which is highly unnecessary.

The one shoe that maddened me the most was one designed by an Antonio Berardi, an Italian-English designer. It is a platform shoe with a non-existent heel! “When you walk, it is almost on tiptoe. You look really dainty.” What is he, smoking crack? Make a REAL shoe, and I'll applaud your efforts. Maybe he secretly wanted to see one of his models wipe out. :P

Some other shoes that made me cringe: Yves Saint Laurent shoes where the bottom of the feet are balanced on thin soles that barely support, and these horrid Alexander McQueen geisha-on-steroids clogs.

After I finished reading Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Fan, I am grateful that we live in a world where feet are not subjected to torture. Set in 19th-century China, one of the more memorable scenes in the book are of the process of foot-binding. I have seen photos online of the foot after it's gone through the process, where the end-result is a "golden lily" foot that is about 3 inches long, the toes hideously curled under the foot. Imagine walking on a stump for most of your life! I don't think I could've beared it.

But how far have we gone when men continue to feed their sexual fantasies by subjecting woman to shoes that are just ludicrous? I know that shoe fetishes exist. An exbf had one, and although he taught me to appreciate the beauty of a fine-quality shoe, there were also those moments where if the shoe doesn't fit, if it hurts, then you stop wearing it. Sorry, my feet are mine, and I won't force them in.

Painful shoes are now a commonality for a lot of women. I'm not even talking about stilettos or platform clunkers. I've had ballet flats pinch me in a spot so hard that at the end of the day, my little toes were numb. I used to be very bold with my choice of footwear, wearing 4-inch heels, or shoes that had funny-looking wedges, even slingbacks that I teetered-tottered on 'cause they looked zexy. But as I've gotten older, sensibility took over. Or maybe my pain tolerance gave way. Whatever it is, I still love a nice shoe, but please, let it not hurt. And will someone please tell that to the guys?


Anonymous said...

Thank you!
What a liberating piece of writing.

Stacie Lady said...

I'm glad that you draw a parallel between foot-binding and high-heeled shoes. Western women's footwear is in the same category as foot-binding, and just as mysterious to me. Why would people want to wear shoes that are not comfortable and change the way that you walk? I, too, used to wear crazy shoes...but now my favorite shoes are my sneaks and my hiking boots.

* Lavinia* said...

Nicely put- and they say when your feet hurt, your whole body hurts... I don't know how the geishas endured it. I would have killed someone!

Anonymous said...

Talking about foot fetishes, what's with folks that like to watch bugs get squished under strappy shoes? Have you heard such thing?

Elaine said...

I could not agree more. My kingdom for a comfortable (yet non-frumpy) pair of shoes!

Anonymous said...

Nobody is making you wear them honey! I am a guy and I do wear heels and given the chance I wouldnt mind slipping a pair of those babies on. Probably not to be worn at the supermarket mind-you.

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