Goodness! I am so excited because today’s post will be cross-posted over at Eat the Damn Cake, one of my new favorite body image blogs. Kate is honest, hilarious, and oh so smart and insightful, so do click over and be her best friends.
Just catching up on my Google Reader (is anyone else always chronically, despairingly behind on their blog reading?) and this caught my eye over on Jezebel:
Christian Louboutin in the Met Ball: “There were a lot of women wearing my shoes. And some of them came up to me and told me they were uncomfortable!”
I kind of love this. Not Christian — did you really not already know your shoes are so damn pinchy? But the whole idea of women at the Met Ball being like, “dude, WTF already!”
Confession time: I absolutely love shoes.
I have a ridiculously large collection that I keep arranged by color on all these shelves in my closet. When I left my last office job, they had to messenger home the three boxes of shoes that lived under my desk. I’m the type of person that people are always giving shoe greeting cards and shoe calendars. (Plus cat-themed things, which is a whole other story. Dear world, I’m full up on both fronts now.)
And so, I’m at a point where I’m feeling embarrassed about how much I love them, because Carrie Bradshaw et al have put shoes firmly on a Stuff Women Like List that I find sometimes oppressive. I won’t attempt a comprehensive catalog here but other highlights include chocolate, cats and purses. Which are also things I happen to like, dammit.
What I don’t like is the way this List is used to be patronizing to women or enable women to patronize themselves —that Bridget Jones Syndrome where if you like these things you can’t possibly have more serious thoughts on Real Issues because you’re too busy counting calories and moaning over why he hasn’t called yet. You can like shoes and still be a good feminist/driver/person who recycles. I shouldn’t have to explain that again.
I also don’t like how the List makes women feel bad about themselves if they happen to have girl parts and yet mysteriously not love these things. It worries me when I talk to women who hate shoes, because I hear a lot of fear mixed with defensiveness — that they could never walk in heels that high, that they’ll get blisters and break an ankle, that they’ve failed on some essential female front by not being the type of woman who loves shoes.
That’s hogwash. And it’s also the fault of women like me — a group I’ll call The Shoe Astronauts. We’re probably the reason for that List in the first place. We like to walk around in ridiculously high shoes and say nonchalant things like, “they’re actually really comfortable!”
Translation: They’re slowly crushing my fifth metatarsal into oblivion, but I have the Right Stuff, so I can stand it. You there, in your Dansko clogs, are made from an inferior form of estrogen. And you don’t know where to shop.
I once insisted a new pair of strappy sandals were so comfortable, I could walk in them for miles. And I did. Right up until my boyfriend looked down and informed me that I was leaving a trail of blood behind us on the sidewalk.
“But they’re so comfortable,” I said.
I’m working on it. I don’t want to be the reason that another woman feels bad about herself (or her feet). I’m recognizing that this too is a beauty standard that I have conformed to relentlessly and unquestioningly for years. My style has also evolved (thanks working from home!) so I run around in a pair of laceless Converse sneakers most of the time.*
But I still love shoes, in a heart-stopping, heady, where-did-you-get-those-red-peeptoe-slingbacks way. And I still wear beautiful shoes when I go somewhere Important, and I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to be the bridesmaid who takes her shoes off as soon as she hits the reception and dances barefoot all night. Instead I bring cute flats to change into so I don’t have to suffer for more than two hours. And I no longer pretend shoes are comfortable when they aren’t.
I’ll just admit it: Sometimes, I love things that aren’t so good for me.
*Sorry Dankso. I still have my pride.