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Pre-2008 Posts

Shoes (Warning, May Trigger)

“These women were shunned by two eras,” Yang says. “When they were young, footbinding was already forbidden, so they bound their feet in secret. When the Communist era came, production methods changed. They had to do farming work, and again they were shunned.”

Wang Lifen, above, now 79, was just seven years old when her mother started binding her feet: breaking her toes and binding them underneath the sole of the foot with bandages. After her mother died, Wang carried on, breaking the arch of her own foot to force her toes and heel ever closer. Now 79, Wang no longer remembers the pain.

“Because I bound my own feet, I could manipulate them more gently until the bones were broken. Young bones are soft, and break more easily,” she says.

At that time, bound feet were a status symbol, the only way for a woman to marry into money. In Wang’s case, her in-laws had demanded the matchmaker find their son a wife with tiny feet. It was only after the wedding, when she finally met her husband for the first time, that she discovered he was an opium addict. With a life encompassing bound feet and an opium-addict husband, she’s a remnant from another age. That’s how author Yang Yang, who’s written a book about them, sees these women.

Link

Another woman, with a history like Wang Lifen’s.

Some estimate that as many as 2 billion Chinese women broke and bound their feet to attain this agonizing ideal of physical perfection. Author Yang Yang says that women with tiny feet were a status symbol who would bring honor upon the entire clan by their appearance.

…In Liuyicun, the practice persisted so long because of the village’s economic prosperity — and its inhabitants’ desire for obvious wealth signifiers, like daughters with bound feet.

Some scholars say footbinding deepened female subjugation by making women more dependent on their men folk, restricting their movements and enforcing their chastity, since women with bound feet were physically incapable of venturing far from their homes.

Certainly the “three-inch golden lotuses” were seen as the ultimate erogenous zone, with Qing dynasty pornographic books listing 48 different ways of playing with women’s bound feet.

For those unfortunate women who paid the ultimate price for beauty, there was little choice involved.

Louisa Lim

The shoes depicted below are considered fashionable and are available for purchase today.

Does anyone actually believe that outside of male supremacy women or girls would design and wear shoes like any represented here?

Hat-tip to Donna Hughes’ Dignity Listserv.

Heart

 

Discussion

39 thoughts on “Shoes (Warning, May Trigger)

  1. [in regards to the shoes…]

    Oh my Gosh!–

    those shoes are hideous,

    Thats it, I’m going to invent the biggest ugliest shoe to rebel against this misogyny–high heeled torture shoe industry

    big ‘duck feet’ shoes, LOL, with huge ass claws, [but that are Extremely mobile]

    so like, every time a man says, ugly shoes/feet,

    they are big enough to kick him good, and hurt.

    Big, wide, comfortable shoes with extended claws/maybe even webs with like, wheels, or something…or flat boots with daggers that you click the heel and they come out [like something out of martial arts movie],

    shoes, meant for function and kicking male sexist asses with, LOL,

    how’s THAT for the hideous shoe fashion-industry…

    on more serious note however,

    not only is foot binding in China a painful reality/past,

    now, they are cutting their legs [surgery] literally in Half, under the knee, having them stretched out with these braces,

    extreme excrutiating pain [its torture, no other way to say it],

    so they can look ‘tall like Western women–that illusion via Fashion Industry that all Western women are these tall toothpick giants–

    so that they can be marriagiable and so forth…[since capitalistm resurfaced after Mao’s death the old custums/misogyny and so forth have been coming back]

    but, yea its horrid and that whole damn Fashion Industrial complex needs to just be revolutionalized because the shit women are doing to themselves [worldwide] not just in China, in fact in South America, its big Vogue to have your genitals all sewed up and all that b.s.,

    because I do work in textiles [indy reconstructionist however] I do keep up with the fashion trends but this is the first, I have seen those shoes [well I haven’t been like keeping up this past six months with whats coming out in Europe of late, but I knew the shoes were getting a tad ridiculous with the

    really high wedge heels that, I mean you would have to have a frickin unicyle to lean on to get around on those things…and in the fashion world this shit is what is considered

    ‘art’,

    LOL I mean its just ABSURD, its like if its not more sadomachiscist [sic] its not like ‘chic’, and like, Who wears that crap anyway? Maybe at parties in NYC or something, hell I don’t know, LOL, I would think one would need to be carried into a party wearing some of the things out now…

    but, but these shoes, just go even more so over the mark, I mean,

    Jesus, what next, models walking around Impaled, with blood dripping to be ‘cute’, its SICK…

    whats even Sicker though, just go out on the web to browse the ‘fashion’ blogs and SEE just how Brainwashed young women are into buying into all this sadist crap…

    I think thats whats the most scariest of things, footbinding, women didn’t like have a choice,

    in the west–they do, [culture influence maybe not, but its not like this handed down forced etc], and yet,

    women will do this? WHY? I mean, there is internalized misogyny–but when it gets to like, doing actual painful things to oneself,

    thats getting more into this deep self-hate, which goes So opposite ‘naturally’ against survival instinct.

    Beauty now, is not just a desire or standard,

    ITS A SOCIAL DISEASE.

    Posted by Tasha | May 23, 2008, 5:35 pm
  2. So very sad.

    Posted by Lindsey | May 23, 2008, 5:47 pm
  3. “Does anyone actually believe that outside of male supremacy women or girls would design and wear shoes like any represented here? ”

    Absolutely not.
    But I believe women wouldn’t wear a lot of things if it weren’t for male supremacy.

    Posted by pisaquaririse | May 23, 2008, 6:23 pm
  4. The info about the leg sawing/lengthening legs was in older Elle magazine, not sure if it was 2002 or 2003, I’d have to look, I use to get recycled copies of like Vogue, In Style, Elle, etc for ideas for our reconstruction projects–not just for the [one of few independent businesses I was working to get off the ground] but, because one of my daughter’s in really big into design, not just fashion but homes, etc…[she’s the artist in family],

    and, there was ONE year, one, that was I think, fashion that was getting ‘out’ of that whole torture complex, then another year where,

    yea, the little ‘six year old girl look’ was coming in Big time, that was JUST as disturbing, for those of you who look at those magazines you might remember, those ads with the pigtails and cute dresses with the Heels, with bobby socks,

    yea, like I’m going to go to Safeway in a get up like that, NOT, LOL, [I mean, if it wasn’t so absolutely absurd, seriously, how can one NOT laugh at the insanity that comes out in magazines],

    like, sure, bobby socks with tennis shoes with dress, MAYBE, but High Heels [the really high wedge shoes], like, ok, is this fashion or is this, like the red district in Thailand??? [seriously I swear they get their ideas in fashion FROM PORN-RED DISTRICTS],

    and the Bad thing about shoes–is that, well, gee where to start–

    one, shoe Industry has been taken over, in China of ALL PLACES, seriously, mass production and it has like, cut into the private family [high end] shoe industries in Italy, for example, and like sure, they were also, high heels, etc., but they, [in fashion terms] were made high quality, with padding, etc…not as extreme,

    and of course most didn’t buy them because they are, like only what the ultra rich can afford–the copies are mass marketed, etc., well now its even more so, shoes made in sweatshops, so forth, with even lesser padding and soles and with even higher arches/heels–EVEN the like, what is considered ‘casual shoes’,

    INCLUDING tennis shoes, so while shoes are a ‘status’ symbol [good blog-feminist blog on this btw, can’t recall which one though],

    since French Court days–prior to also, they are also, a large industry of slave labor, that filters down, to the cheapest of shoes–meaning, even to buy a somewhat functional shoe,

    you pretty much need, to shop in the men’s department.

    And it doesn’t matter HOW many air cushions and gel thingies you stick in those things, just try walking on them all day in an office job [how they do it I don’t know],

    because, its like, literal torture [yea, I used to be dumb and tried to work in frickin pumps during the day]….and I never, NEVER learned how in the hell one walks in those things…its a miracle I didn’t break an ankle or something.

    Now, its my daughter’s generation and like, my oldest–straight sneakers [she’s into that whole black garb/ICP culture, which, know about the downside but So understand the sociological aspects of that culture],

    but my other daughter, its like, Why in the hell would you buy those ugly things? They are cute she says, o.k., like, you KNOW you won’t be able to walk in them, and I”m not talking heels now, I’m talking these narrow way too thin sole tennis shoes or those sandals that,

    you might as well just get you a board, glue tons of thorns on it,

    and strap it on…because Thats how they feel.

    So like, shopping [with is rare due to no money which, LOL__IS SORT OF A MIXED BLESSING] with her, just for shoes,

    its this world war three–on one hand its, o.k., get what you want because hey, its your body and I want you to be empowered, etc., etc., on the other hand, its, I know Damn well, I’m going to be back at this same cheap ass store in about two weeks, maybe less,

    taking these ugly things back, and she’ll get what I told her she Should get, so that she can walk.

    Of course, you KNOW, I think its partly, a teen conspiracy–get shoes they can’t walk well in, and That way, when you tell them to clean up their room or do some yard work, its, I can’t [whine whine] my feet hurt…
    🙂

    what better excuse than to sit in front of video games all day, LOL.

    But yea, I mean, ever go to a college campus and just See how many young women are trying to like, scoot their way across campus in this like ultra high wedges/heels, carrying these huge backpacks —

    its like, you sit there, and wonder, o.k., When do they start to like, just tip over, or something–

    or, like, that whole thing with the thong underwear showing outside the jeans, I remember when that was like Huge on campus [my spouse works on campus] and you are sitting in class and you just like, want to go up and say,

    You know, it might be a bit more comfortable if you wore, er, like pants around the Waist–or something…not only that, I mean its just, gross…[and its always like, for me mentally, I don’t think its sexy, the first thing that comes to my mind when I see young women dressed like that, is, ok skid mark central, seriously…like Geesh cover up or something, its like men with carpenter crack, you know, you just get that ‘can you like pull them damn pants up’, ROFL,

    I don’t know, guess I’m getting old fashioned in my age, you Know I LOVE old age, seriously,

    NOW I know, why older women [seniors] walk around in knee socks with these frumpy skirts and tennis shoes and like, they just don’t care–

    I used to think, Oh my gosh I would NEVER go around like that, well, here I am, and let me tell you, its like, So nice to be Able to go out in public, dressed as horridly as you want–because, hell its just COMFORTABLE,

    and no one really take any notice. 🙂 So much more freedom–so much more. Don’t have to match my colors or care if my clothes have holes or stains, or if they are so baggy they look like a tent, ROFL,

    I can wear ugly shoes with men socks, Ha Ha, and so get by with it…and Truly, not care, if I do get those looks…though, I will admit, I often see my kids, like walk twenty feet away from me, like they don’t know me or something, hee hee,

    oh well…at Least–

    I can walk now, without having to do that little ‘scoot’ or that having to think about pick up heel first, toe, while walking…

    Posted by Tasha | May 23, 2008, 6:42 pm
  5. I’m surprised that Tasha seems to find the subject so amusing, but she’s right about one thing – it is sick.

    The boots in the last picture I find particularly distasteful, as they seem to resemble, or even be mocking, the shape of those women’s bound feet. It’s been well-documented (for instance by Mary Daly and Sheila Jeffreys) that high-heeled shoes are the “acceptable” Westernised version of foot-binding, designed to make women more sexually attractive to men, and to inhibit their movements, and thus their ability to get away from the men who so “desire” them. To put it bluntly, they make rape easier. There is nothing funny about it at all, and I’m actually quite offended by all the ‘LOLs’ in Tasha’s comment.

    Tasha also makes a couple of assertions along the lines of “women do this to themselves” which I have to take exception to. Yes, physically in that time and space it is actually women doing it to themselves, but exclamations such as this:

    “women will do this? WHY? I mean, there is internalized misogyny–but when it gets to like, doing actual painful things to oneself,

    thats getting more into this deep self-hate, which goes So opposite ‘naturally’ against survival instinct.”

    to me are seriously wide of the mark. I don’t believe it’s internalised misogyny, it is rather the intense external pressure of misogyny and an extremely misogynistic society that is to blame. In a society such as that described in Heart’s post, the pressure must be immense to conform – what happens to women who don’t? The pressure to conform is also intense in the West, as those who don’t conform can testify.

    Women binding their own feet can hardly be seen as a choice that they have made, as what kind of free choice can there be in such a setting? I also believe that “self-hate” has nothing to do with it. Self-preservation, maybe, but not “self-hate.” I know in this part of the comment Tasha is talking about the West and not the women with bound feet, but, as illustrated by the post, and the works of radical feminists, it is broadly the same thing.

    Posted by Debs | May 23, 2008, 7:01 pm
  6. I found Zhou Guizhen and the other women in the NPR article inspiring. The way women were (and still are) encouraged to mold their bodies in unnatural ways to feed the Fashion Industrial Complex and the beauty monster is abhorrent. But these women seem to have been hobbled physically, but not spiritually. The disco dancing…being active and caring for a neighbor’s child…I just sensed that these were strong, proud women who have accepted what they cannot change, and who are living their lives to the fullest despite their broken feet. I should have so much grace.

    Posted by Tami | May 23, 2008, 7:24 pm
  7. I thought the same thing, Tami! Look at the woman up there with the baby on her back and she is 79. 🙂 There’s also a short video of a girl with bound feet on the site. At first she hobbles, but then she sort of scampers off really nimbly. She learned how to.

    In one part of the NPR article, though, the woman with the baby on her back says that at times her feet hurt so much she can’t put them on the ground. 😦

    As women, we often are so strong. We can survive and bear up under so much, we can learn to thrive despite horrific tragedies. But it’s our capacity to endure that so often means we are *forced* to endure horrible things. We are taken for granted, exploited, abused and because we aren’t dead yet, the assumption seems to be, whatever was done to us must not have been that big a deal.

    In no way shape or form would I compare myself with women like those in this article who have gone through such incredible physical hardship. But even I bear up under things that, if I were reading about some other woman having to do what I have to do every day, I would find it hard to believe and really hard to even hear about. But because I bear up under it every day, it’s just my life, I’m used to it, I don’t even think about it.

    This capacity women have to survive such indignity is a two-edged sword, I think. I want to honor their amazing strength, and as you say, grace, while never forgetting what they have had to survive and what surviving cost them.

    Posted by womensspace | May 23, 2008, 8:33 pm
  8. I read an article here about feet. .http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/
    that says wearing just about any kind of shoe is bad for your feet. Sheesh, I move we all just throw away all these ridiculous shoes and go barefoot from now on, if it were possible. The idea appeals to me, at least.😦

    Posted by Chloe | May 23, 2008, 10:54 pm
  9. “I’m surprised that Tasha seems to find the subject so amusing, but she’s right about one thing – it is sick.”

    don’t ‘twist’ what I write,

    I specifically said in First reply,

    IN REGARDS TO THE SHOES IN THE PHOTOS,

    shoes, not the FOOT BINDING…

    the following post was Again, in regards to the Fashion Industry–SHOES,

    and the insanity of the fashion displays in magazine…

    while the Foot binding and internalized misogyny IS serious,

    doesn’t mean we can’t poke fun [rather than be Influenced by] the Fashion Advertising…

    because Thats all that fashion advertising DESERVES–

    simply put, the ‘message’ that the Fashion Industry sends to millions of women DAILY,

    Posted by Tasha | May 23, 2008, 11:09 pm
  10. In addition…back to I believe I made it QUITE CLEAR in my post in regards to SHOES and Magazines-Advertising, if one reads rather than LOOKS for Shit to construe out of it,

    Yes it IS internalized misogyny [why I said, women in China/foot binding, it was a ‘forced’ custom etc.],

    what we are seeing today, e.g., the having genitals cut up in South America for instance [covered in Vogue, South America 2005 edition-winter],

    is Modern women, CHOOSING to have operations, in this thinking its some kind of power of choice, to MULTITATE [sic] themselves,

    NOT because its economic necessity [in comparison to the young women having legs cut in China, due to yea, thank you, Capitalist forces that have played havoc on economy and women’s lives],

    but because they believe they aren’t ‘good’ enough just as they are,

    Thats, yes, is INTERNALIZED MISOGYNY,

    to be beautiful yes is a social pressure [and some probably internal desire to be], BUT,

    I would think, that when it goes yes, Beyond extreme measures and inflicting horrid pain, that goes against our internal instincts [avoiding pain, etc], then yes,

    that is, internalized self-hate…

    of course, its influenced, but I think it goes way beyond just influence, I’m influenced all the time, we all are,

    but when it drives one to torture or maim themselves, then I think it goes a little deeper, than just influence.

    Again, however, I was poking fun at the fashion industry, I mean, seriously,

    who , could even take those shoes seriously? About the only thing they would be good for is a gag gift,

    you couldn’t WALK in them, and the models that do, walk in them, thats why they are paid as much as they are,

    to SELL A LIE. Because people, [women] for the most part, aren’t even going to buy them…if they do, its Only because they have such and such design on them…

    young women should See us women, putting the fashion marketing into perspective, its not just about the misogyny in the industry,

    its also about the sheer stupidity of it…I say, we stop giving these so called ‘faux fashion artist’s’ credit, and start calling them on their absurdity…

    the Fashion ‘advertising’ industry will take Any demeaning and debasing and ludicrous idea and say, its art, its fashion,

    NO, it isn’t…its ridiculous and its time we started treating it as such,

    when We do, other women, will also…[I’m yes, talking about the states–and when Western women start dumping the fashion messages,

    that would have a lot of influence on women globally. Lets not forget–

    98% of the misogynist fashion world, the ‘ideal’ comes from, not the East mind you,

    but the West, America and Europe.

    Posted by Tasha | May 23, 2008, 11:24 pm
  11. These women even gained fame of a sort, forming a bound-feet disco dancing troupe which toured the region. Zhou was once the star of the troupe, but now she’s too old to dance.

    I think that it is marvelous that they found a way to negotiate their social stigmatization. We should play close attention to how these women are treated as one day women who have undergone FMG will be the last of their generation also.

    No matter where we look globally there are traditions that discipline and mark the bodies of women. We should not view these women with a western lens. What is important is honoring them as women and trying to learn from their struggles.

    Posted by Renee | May 24, 2008, 3:35 am
  12. We should play close attention to how these women are treated as one day women who have undergone FMG will be the last of their generation also.

    So true, Renee.

    I wish as westerners we could look forward to the last labia surgeries (surgically “trimming” labia to make it more closely approximate porn star labia), the last breast implants, the last botox injections, liposuction, gastric lapband surgery. I wish we could look to the day when shoes like those up there were viewed as the torture devices they are. I’m afraid for us, though, things will get much worse so far as these things go before they get better.

    Allthough we do have to be aware of our western-ness, I think it is possible to view all of these various ritualistic cuttings and tortures and garments as common to women as women, across all cultures. That was in part what I was hoping to show here– that women still now, in the west and throughout the world, subject themselves to what amounts to torture devices in the form of shoes like these without realizing or acknowledging that that is what they are doing, and that they are not so far removed from the Chinese women in those photos so far as the reasons they might wear shoes like that or that shoes like that are available to be bought. I think westernness does often keep us from recognizing how true this is.

    Posted by womensspace | May 24, 2008, 4:07 am
  13. Chloe, I’m so with you! I NEVER wear shoes at home, not EVER. First thing to go is my shoes soon as I walk in the door after work. It’s always been that way for me. Second thing is my bra, ugh.

    I have worn high heels though, all my life, being honest, until about a year ago (save during my literalist Christian years). I have a whole closet full of these shoes — platforms, spike heels, wedge heels, stilletto heels, you name it, it’s in my closet. My 17-year-old daughter wore a pair of my boots to school yesterday for “80s day.” HA. Four-inch heels and two inch platforms. I was terrified she’d turn her ankle and hurt herself. :/

    Four or so years ago now I flew to New York to spend a weekend with a Second Wave radical feminist/lesbian separatist a little older than me, really brilliant, loved talking with her, spending time with her. When I flew out, I wore boots with really high heels. (Out of vanity, because they made my very long legs look even longer, and because wearing the boots made me about six feet tall, and I’ve always liked being very tall and very long legged.) The second thing she asked me was: Why are you wearing those BOOTS?! The first thing was, why are you wearing that MASCARA?! HA.

    Eh. I guess I’m in true confessions mode tonight.

    Well, I don’t wear boots or very high heels anymore. Like Tasha said somewhere in one of her posts in a little different way, one thing I like about being almost 56 is, I could absolutely care less about impressing *anybody*. Comfort is what it’s all about for me these days!

    But when I write about high heels and torture devices, I am writing about, and for, and to myself, too. I tortured myself for decades this way. I remember as a single mom of two working as a cocktail waitress in bars wearing three-inch heels while carrying trays of drinks. It’s a miracle I didn’t fall and break a leg or my neck. It’s a miracle I survived to tell the tale. When I write about these things, it is sure not from any place of judgment or self-righteousness. I’ve done all this stuff, in spades, sometime or another.

    Posted by womensspace | May 24, 2008, 4:29 am
  14. Just for clarity, those shoes aren’t streetwear—they’re pretty clearly fetish shoes, for use in BDSM-inflected sex play. What one thinks of that is a separate issue, and certainly the shoes in those pictures occupy a place (at the extreme) on a certain continuum of aesthetics and eroticism, but I can say with confidence that shoes like that aren’t a part of contemporary mainstream dress, because they impede mobility too much to be wearable.

    Posted by Mollie | May 24, 2008, 7:14 am
  15. I think I’d have to disagree with you a bit, Mollie. Impeding mobility doesn’t seem to prevent garments and shoes from being considered/accepted as contemporary mainstream dress. I mean, look at this post I wrote a while back.

    I think the clothes women and girls are expected to wear and taught to wear, just in general, talking about fashion now, reflect the sadomasochistic sensibilities of male heterosupremacy. I guess I wouldn’t say these shoes and the clothes in my link there are on the extremes of an aesthetics and eroticism continuum, more that they are on the extremes of a continuum of sadomasochism, where men are the sadists (because these “fashions” don’t exist for men) and women are the masochists.

    Posted by womensspace | May 24, 2008, 2:13 pm
  16. Just to point out that the shoes in the first column are all fetishwear and aren’t considered ‘fashionable’ or for regular use – in fact, that ballet shoes aren’t designed to be walked in beyond a few feet ad would only be worn in sexual situations. I feel that fetishwear shoes, whilst having a link to such things, are a slightly separate issue as they are still seen as niche and are for very specific occasional use, unlike truly fashionable shoes which are thrust at all women everywhere, everyday. The two sets of platforms aren’t common or particularly popular either (I have never seen anyone wear such things outside of novelty situations due to their bizarre appearance), and although their height makes them both impractical, the actual ‘foot’ part doesn’t force the foot into any extreme position – they’d be about as damaging to wear as the average part of 4-inch heels, by my guess. The only heels there that would likely be considered fashionable and marketed widely are the second pair.
    Far more indicative of the damaging societal attitudes, I feel, are the more common shoes which ARE being marketed as fashionable party/office wear in every shop out there – 6 or 7-inch heeled sandals, sometimes with a tiny platform at the ball of the foot (such a gracious concession by the designers, allowing women to walk at all!) and often a very slim heel that makes things even more precarious – not to mention all the straps which cut into the already stressed foot. I’ve seen women going clubbing in such things, by 3am they’re tired, often drunk and their feet are so sore that they would rather carry the shoes and walk barefoot through the town than attempt to spend any more time in the heels. The fact that so many women are preferring to wear these instead of lower (or no) heels when going somewhere to dance and drink (or sometimes to work, day-to-day), shoes which severely limit your movement and are especially hazardous to people who have an impaired sense of balance, says more about society’s expectations of female sexiness before comfort than the ones you’ve posted.

    Posted by Mwezzi | May 24, 2008, 4:30 pm
  17. Regarding FGMS, that isn’t going to end, Egypt [the Mullahs-Gov, etc] just voted them LEGAL again, as it NOT just ‘culture’, its also commanded in at least one that I know of, command in the Koran,

    so, FGMS aren’t going to go away,

    while, yes, things women do, do cut across all cultures and worldwide and yes, are influenced [and often in areas forced] for male sex desires, etc., misogyny, so forth.

    But taking the fashion industry in itself, we are missing a very important point, which I tried to bring out,

    its NOT JUST ABOUT BEAUTY in the West, that influences the fashion industry–BUT ABOUT STATUS, CLASS STATUS,

    in Other words, when for example, young women [and readership statistics of the fashion industry magazines is approx women from ages 20-35, on average], see the magazines,

    its not Just conformity to a beauty standard but to a Class-Status symbol standard…

    majority of working class women, I’m talking in rural, suburbs, etc., are not going to be purchasing shoes like this or even the fashions, they simply are not realistic but not only that, they aren’t even in their price reach…

    even if they pour over them and ooh and aw, but thats just it, fashion is the outward message of what class one belongs too.

    So, why is this relevant? Because not only are young women trying to emulate this standard of beauty, but a standard of beauty that is relegated to ‘class’ and ‘stature’,

    and it goes All the way down to the elementary school level. Having two teenage daughters I see this, though one has rebelled against the ‘feminine’ model per se, even with the counter-culture, there is still that,

    has to be certain designer and certain price tag, etc., etc.,

    with my other daughter, she is fighting the influence of clothes/fashion that is that message of ‘what class you are in’,

    my point, we won’t even End the misogyny in fashion until we address the other aspect of the whole fashion industry,

    and if you don’t think there isn’t a snobbery to the whole industry–do some reading on Dolce and Gabbana, [sic], their interview where they state,

    they like to combine the profane of the ‘common people’ with the ‘coulture’ [sic] of the rich, etc etc etc., it was about the most insulting remark,

    in other words, ITS A BIG JOKE TO THEM, they MOCK people with fashion, thats what they deem as their ‘art’,

    and they MOCK women, as well as they USE women’s bodies as the rock they chisel for their so called masterpieces…

    but lets not forget, its NOT just men in the industry that designs this crap–its women too, and the industry is extremely competitive,

    why they go out of their way to further stretch the boundaries [what they call the ‘edge’] and in doing so, they become more sadist in their approach.

    They mix sadism/sadomasism [sic] with aesthetics and then they assert that its ‘style’,

    and then, young women, go out [if they can afford] to get that so called ‘style’ no matter how absurd it is,

    but its to Be not just beautiful–BUT TO BE, PART OF THAT WHOLE

    TOP ELITE BOURGOUSE [SIC] CLASS, the Cultured Society,

    that what I call the Rich’s attempt to take from the poor and twist it and call it ‘chic’ and ‘vogue’,

    [MEANWHILE–THEY RELY ON SLAVE LABOR/CHILD LABOR ESP TO CREATE THE DYES AND TEXTILES TO CREATE THE FABRICS THEN MANY OF THEM USE SLAVE LABOR TO CREATE THE GARMENTS/SHOES ON TOP OF THAT, FURTHER MOCKING THE POOR],

    to show off their ‘status], etc

    So, my point was, in targeting the PHOTOS of the shoes–was to expose the other additions of the fashion industry that yes, do effect women [and actually, whole society] IN WAYS we might not realize,

    those shoes are MOCKING, if you want the truth, the girls and women [who are forced sadly] to work in Red Light Districts, trafficked women, poor women, women of other cultures, and yes, the women who have suffered foot binding [obvious in that one picture of the shoes] and too,

    the ballet dancer–

    its ‘chic’ to MOCK the poor, the oppressed, the abused. In fashion, its ‘chic’, and that was my point I was trying to make…

    the Fashion Industry [the designers] go on the streets in NY City, and they watch the Punk Rockers, the Goths, the Subversive cultures [who often design their own clothes] and they ROB THEIR DESIGNS, and put their fancy upper crust names on them [and they even brag about it],

    MIXING their designs with older fashion from epochs past, and they do this, as well, to MOCK the poor, the underclass, the independents, the deviants, the subcultures, etc.,

    The fashion industry [those photos] is the Culture of Capitalist oppression and yes, BLATANT ARTISTIC IMPERIALISM,

    so, in comparing the two, such as, women worldwide do things for men, etc.,

    I think, really oversimplifies the problem and while they have similarities, true,

    they are two totally different things….the Things women are doing now, to their bodies such as South America and the leg cutting in China, is NOT from THEIR CULTURE–BEAUTY AND SOCIAL MORES-FORCED RIGID PRACTICES,

    [though sure, that influence is there],

    no, ITS TO ADAPT TO THE WESTERN CAPITALIST STANDARD

    NOT JUST OF BEAUTY–

    MORE–OF CLASS STATUS…
    and its why,

    the fashion industry is now in China [with their own designers btw and want to know something, the TOP designer in China, that yes, that designs a lot of BSDM looking fashion–IS A WOMAN]

    and also, same thing in Russia…

    its not just Misogyny–its a world wide class/imperialist status symbol–that is extremely exploitive [in influence, harm, and especially IN LABOR ABUSES],

    as well as STRIPPING VITAL RESOURCES–THAT COULD BE USED FOR FOOD]

    and yes, thats why every chance I get, I will mock them back, I will pock fun at them, because women [and men too] need to put them where they belong–

    in the past, gone, ridden of,

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEAUTY OR FASHION OR EVEN SHOES, [I don’t go for the all wearing red uniforms either–never forget, Stalin forced all to have one type of shoe–but he took monies, from that industry, and what? Built military arms, so the other extreme, isn’t good either–Mao pretty much the same],

    but what IS wrong, is when fashion/beauty becomes a TOOL OF OPPRESSION AND CLASS STRATA AND STIGMA,

    [on any side of the coin ON THAT ONE]

    I poked fun at the SHOES in the photos not to poke fun at the women in China–or women worldwide,

    I poked fun at them because they really are just ridiculous, for one, they are ugly, for two, they are just, well, not even practical, and they are SO OUT OF TOUCH with women’s Real lives–

    Satire/and humor never forget–IS ALSO, AND CAN BE, RESISTANCE, against a very oppressive culture, and the fashion industry, yes indeed, is oppressive…in so many ways, [to men as well, and if you don’t think men aren’t victims of it, then, go do some research on the young men dying from use of STEROIDS] to have this certain ‘look’,

    Bottom line, why I do reconstruction, [though I do aprons, etc, functional things women/men can actually USE, yea I use aprons because I love them…love having pockets, so I have room for pens, paper, book, picking up things and not having to make 20 trips back and forth–etc],

    but I do reconstruction–including my own clothes] because I learned long ago, to REJECT the STATUS MESSAGES AND BEAUTY MESSAGES in the fashion industry–

    I’ve seen too many women destroyed [self esteem] from it, not just because of beauty–

    I see the KIDS who MOCK each other [and why I do support uniforms in public schools] because they don’t ‘keep up with the style’s, etc’]

    Textiles/Fashion is the I believe [if my memory serves me right from the last WTO phone conference with Chinese Labor-Women’s rights groups couple of years ago] is the Second largest World Wide WTO business–

    that depends on mass slave labor, that depends on land exploitation, that is the fuel for economies [for the rich] worldwide–

    and I know I’ve said this here before,

    the next SLAVE MARKET the fashion industry is targeting,

    IS NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIGRANT COMMUNITIES IN EUROPE– conference in Madrid among designers two years ago…

    its Money for them–the Mockery of the poor and oppressed, by the LEISURE CLASS,

    and just talking about the misogyny won’t end it,

    THE ENTIRE DAMN STRUCTURE HAS TO BE DESTROYED, ITS THAT SIMPLE.

    Tasha

    Posted by Tasha | May 24, 2008, 6:22 pm
  18. The fact that so many women are preferring to wear these instead of lower (or no) heels when going somewhere to dance and drink (or sometimes to work, day-to-day), shoes which severely limit your movement and are especially hazardous to people who have an impaired sense of balance, says more about society’s expectations of female sexiness before comfort than the ones you’ve posted.

    Mwezzi, you may be right, but if I’d simply posted photos of the shoes you’re describing — I agree, even at places like Target, there are racks and racks of these “stripper” shoes and women fracking buy them! (and like you say, wear them until they can’t stand it anymore and then go shoeless) — I wouldn’t actually have been able to make the point I have made. And I knew that. And you know why?

    Because *so many people are used to these hideous shoes you’re describing and don’t see wearing them, or the fact that they exist, as any big deal at all*. To have this conversation in the first place, you have to go to such extremes that people who wouldn’t otherwise recognize the problem, begin to recognize it, and then you can finally filter down to what you just said.

    Not only that, if I’d posted simple pictures of all the stripper shoes being sold everywhere we look right now, you’re right, with the five-inch heels, etc., my incoming links and mod queue would fill up with enraged commentary/linkage from a certain peanut gallery insisting they should be able to “choose” to wear these shoes, and other women should also be able to “choose”, and they do choose and on and on. In other words, they *love* fascist beauty standards!

    I disagree with you about the shoes I depicted up there, though– I think they definitely do and would damage women’s feet not to even begin to mention the perils of turning a foot on uneven ground or something like that.

    Posted by womensspace | May 24, 2008, 7:09 pm
  19. This whole issue of women and shoes and clothing is a great mystery to me. I never wore high heels, never wore make-up, and as far as elevated social class, you go to a tailor and have an exquisite suit made for you.

    A few very well tailored three-piece lesbian perfect suits, some fine tailored shirts with monograms on the left cuff, and you are ready for any business situation. People remember me as a distinctive dresser, a woman with a sharp mind, and I am completely free of the hetero-normative wear that so drags women down.

    The cost of all of this is minimal, because the suits are classic, they last for 10-15 years. I have two pairs of shoes — tennis shoes that last forever, women’s black ordinary dress shoes that can be highly polished. That’s it. Oh and a pair of sandals that will also last forever. I like clothes that fit perfectly, and I hate shopping in those huge places where I am subject to the hetero women shoppers in mass. I much prefer the quiet elegance of a small tailor’s shop, where you can sit and chat, be measured property, and treated with exquisit courtesy. You will get exactly what you want, and have no crushes of women knocking you out with wafting perfume, and no sales clerks who wear homophobia like a fashion badge of honor. NO thank you!!!

    You can move in any social class if you are carefully and sensibly dressed. The women who are a great disadvantage simply get sucked into the fashion industry like moths to a flame.

    But, this industry will persist in manipulating women, and I have no idea why. Again, it is the fear women have of being different, a very real and ever present fear. How else could you explain the ridiculous clothes women keep wearing — teenagers, women in their 30-60s; it’s weird weird weird.

    The real strangeness of it all is attending business events of women’s groups. These are women in their 50s – 70s, very high powered, very sharp and intelligent… But then occasionally, they invite the husbands to come. So you get these old old looking men, and these women with fake made up faces, face lifts and goddess knows what else, and the false “age disparity” between the men and the women is strange to say the least.

    Now these are all women who are perfectly capable of being completely self-supporting. They could be fully an authentic person, and the husbands would probably be fine with this. There is nothing more horrifying than seeing women’s faces plastered with goo, teetering on high heeled shoes!

    So I have to say, this is the insanity of the heteronormative woman! Upper class, working class, whatever class, the billions wasted on fashion are an economic trap for women everywhere. They’ll never learn I fear. Oh well, long live heteronormativity and all its ridiculous trappings!

    Posted by Satsuma | May 24, 2008, 11:22 pm
  20. Spam sailing down the fashion runway….🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | May 24, 2008, 11:23 pm
  21. “Chloe, I’m so with you! I NEVER wear shoes at home, not EVER. First thing to go is my shoes soon as I walk in the door after work. It’s always been that way for me. Second thing is my bra, ugh.”

    Heart, take it from me, bare feet and “shoes” such as flip flops are even more detrimental to your feet than heels.

    I know as I am now forced to wear the worlds ugliest shoes, fitted with special, computer generated 600.00 dollar inserts in order to fix my feet. My doctor says I’ll need to wear them for at least a year– maybe more.

    I started having a lot of unusual pain when standing for any lenght of time and finally forced myself to see a podiatrist about it. That’s when I found out the bones in my feet are thinning and I was shocked to find out why.

    I was baffled when he told me I hadn’t worn the correct footwear over the years and my feet were literally falling in on themselves. I even argued with him that I didn’t wear high heels! That’s when I found out heels were not the problem. Feet need support and wearing flip flops, ballet slippers and bare feet as often as I had were the cause of my woes. Now, the second I get out of bed until the second I go to bed, I’m ordered to wear the ugly shoes!

    Sorry to go OT on you here– this is an important discussion. But I feel obligated to tell every woman I know. Get good shoes with proper support. “Comfy” is not enough.

    Posted by Gayle | May 25, 2008, 12:51 am
  22. i have to agree with heart in comment #15 and respectfully disagree with molly and mwezzi in #14 and #16. though the examples heart posted may be extreme, i don’t think these shoes are as removed from mainstream fashion as we might like to think. platform soles and stiletto heels of all heights and styles are VERY mainstream, from designer runway collections to strip clubs to everyday women. and as far as the pointe-shoe-with-stiletto boots go, they are NOT just for bdsm/fetish practices and are NOT “only worn in sexual situations” . . . 19-year-old actress rumer willis wore them when she was photographed in people magazine for their “50 most beautiful people” feature:

    http://www.people.com/people/package/gallery/0,,20193583_20196426_4,00.html

    there is no doubt in my mind that plenty of young women out there who saw the shoes in that picture went, “whoa, cool!” when i was in high school, i certainly would have.

    Posted by ladoctorita | May 25, 2008, 12:56 am
  23. Now back to the discussion at hand: If you ever find the time to read a good novel check out “Snowflower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See.

    Link

    “Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters’ foot binding (“Only through pain will you have beauty. Only through suffering will you have peace”), the story widens to a vivid portrait of family and village life. Most impressive is See’s incorporation of nu shu, a secret written phonetic code among women—here between Lily and Snow Flower—that dates back 1,000 years in the southwestern Hunan province (“My writing is soaked with the tears of my heart,/ An invisible rebellion that no man can see”). As both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle, this novel has bestseller potential and should become a reading group favorite as well.”

    I read in it my bookclub and it’s one of those books you remember and think about long after you finish it. I think you’d really like it, Heart. It’s a wonderfully written, woman-centered read.

    BTW, that secret lanquage referred to above? That actually existed! It’s a language invented by women for women. As far as we know, the only one of its kind.

    Posted by Gayle | May 25, 2008, 1:05 am
  24. “Regarding FGMS, that isn’t going to end, Egypt [the Mullahs-Gov, etc] just voted them LEGAL again, as it NOT just ‘culture’, its also commanded in at least one that I know of, command in the Koran,”

    Tasha, I’ve read FGM is not in the Koran. That it was borne out of tribal customs and has no real religious purpose.

    As for it not going away, I do have fears this is true. Circling back to the discussion about footbinding, I just tried to link a post about Lisa See’s novel “Snowflower and the Secret Fan” but I think it may have been lost to moderation.

    Anyway, in the back of the (highly recommended) novel, there are some frightening facts about foot binding. One is that while it was ostensibly outlawed (due mainly to Western insistence) it never really fully ended until the Communist Revolution, and even then, only through force. Soldiers would go from house to house and make women unbind their daughters’ feet at gunpoint.

    When these horrific customs are so deeply embedded into a culture, they are just so very difficult to combat.

    Posted by Gayle | May 25, 2008, 1:33 am
  25. I don’t know why I’m surprised that Satsuma gets annoyed with the way hetero women SHOP, but it does.

    She takes every post written here and finds a way to swing things around to be a straight women bashing event.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    Posted by Lindsey | May 25, 2008, 1:43 am
  26. Thoughts on Gayle’s comment 25: If I recall correctly, the Communist soldiers who forced unbound feet at gunpoint did so in order to conscript able-footed girls and women to work long, hard hours in rice paddies and factories of “the people.” Capitalism in China hasn’t changed much. Girls and women still do a disproportionate amount of the work men have appointed and from which men profit.

    Thoughts on shoes as symbols of subservience in the mainstream of Westernized maledom:

    In Ironman, the movie, the “Pepper” character (Girl Friday, Gwynneth Paltrow), wears spike heels in every scene and “f-me” (ankle strap) spike heels when she’s conducting computer espionage for the Ironman character that could get her killed. While he’s off saving the world from the wrong types of bombers, he’s “all she has.” (The words of dialog, girl to Ironman, if I recall correctly, were “You’re all I have too, you know.” )

    This month’s popular magazines include a spike-heel display featuring Paltrow, stumping also for the movie, who admits how much pain the high-heeled shoes give her. (I know this only because I’m often at libraries, for research and ghost-writing, and sometimes while the library computer data bases are slow to load, I pick up the casual mag reading to quick-scan & amuse myself with what tricks the patriarchy’s up to lately. Don’t remember if it was People or In-Style or another of those celebrity magazines. It’s the type of publication that signals socially constructed female masochism loud and clear.)

    Posted by Judy Best | May 25, 2008, 3:17 am
  27. Satsuma, I love the description of your tailormade clothes. In 1998, I bought three really expensive suits, not tailor made but very high quality. I still wear them.

    Gayle, scary re bare feet. 😦 So far so good for me, but you’ve got me thinking about things for sure.

    ladoctorita: nail, hammer, bang.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 25, 2008, 5:06 am
  28. Sometimes you really wonder at the untold millions, perhaps billions of dollars that women waste on clothing and ridiculus shoes. This goes on and on and on. When will women just stop this nonsense?

    The foot injuries and back problems women have later in life as a result of this footware are off the charts. Something we don’t hear about. Doctors should really be yelling at the danger of these shoes, but the last time they yelled over foot wear was when MEN in the 70s started wearing platform shoes. They never said a thing when women do this, but when men put their backs, feet and shoulders at risk, it’s a different matter.

    It’s scary what women wear in Los Angeles!!

    P.S. Glad someone sees the good sense in high quality and small quantity Heart! Hang on to those good suits!! You’re going to need them to celebrate the great defeat of the republicans cross country this fall🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | May 25, 2008, 6:51 am
  29. Edited,

    In regards to: “Regarding FGMS, “Tasha, I’ve read FGM is not in the Koran. That it was borne out of tribal customs and has no real religious purpose.”

    Yes Gayle, you read….in what, they usual Taqiyya [sanctioned lying to deceive infidels] given to the west on this issue,

    but Muhammad gave his stamp of approval — the Hadiths, which, to sum it up in laymen terms, is the Laws based on the teachings of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and they are LAW–TO BE OBEYED BY ALL LIVING UNDER IT. PERIOD–not ands, ifs, ors or buts about it…

    not only that, but lets call FGM what it really is, its not a slight circumcision, its infibulation, it is the female version of castration and penectomy. [seriously, its the Equivalent of cutting off a man’s penis]

    Gayle,

    why Western women Seriously need to get educated on this, because, in Indonesia, non-Muslim WOMEN were FORCED, to have FGMS done, when Islam took power–

    including taking married women, once Sharia is in place, YOU WILL HAVE IT DONE, ONCE THEY COMMAND IT,

    where you Want it done or not…it is THE LAW, THE HADITH,

    in UK, there are thousands of women/girls having this done, BY FORCE, in America, in one state, MN, hundreds of girls are having it done by force, and the PC POLICE DO NOTHING TO STOP IT,

    NOR THE TEACHERS WHO KNOW, ETC., EVEN THOUGH ITS ILLEGAL,

    but, the Prophet Muhammed, GAVE HIS STAMP OF APPROVAL ON THE PRACTICE OF FGM, ALL HE STATES, IS NOT TO CUT ‘TOO DEEPLY’, BUT THAT ITS AN ‘HONOR TO THE HUSBAND’,

    it Won’t be eradicated, hate to burst your bubble because YES, Islam APPROVES IT AND HADITH COMMANDS IT,

    see below….

    Women [Western] need to Read the Hadiths, Sharia and Quaran

    and STOP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID OF CULTURAL RELATIVISTS–or they may Soon find themselves,

    under the knife, not kidding here,

    I was almost married into the faith, I know what I speak of here….yes there Are Muslim women who argue that its not based in the Quran but only in Hadith–but, doesn’t matter, the Prophet Muhammed gave his stamp of approval–

    therefore, all the arguments against it, will do no good, and while, yes it is also, used to be based as well in ancient culture–IT IS PREDOMINANTLY WORLDWIDE–AN ISLAMIC PRACTICE BY THE LAWS OF THE HADITHS,

    including in EVERY SINGLE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY IN THE WEST–

    UNLESS you change the Quranic texts and Hadiths, no, FGMS WON’T GO AWAY BECAUSE THE RELIGIOUS ‘JUSTIFICATION’ FOR, MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE…

    why, FLIRTING with Islamic laws [or appeasing in Western nations–is SUICIDE, for WOMEN’S RIGHTS],

    Modern Islamists have been trying to change the systems for centuries–to no avail,

    there is Reason for that…they are A MINORITY. what the Imans and Mullahs says–IS THE LAW,

    whether you like it or not…

    there IS NO COMPROMISE IN ISLAM….never forget, Islam means, SUBMIT…

    in Sudan, FGMS have gone up to now 99% of all women/girls [forced] including NON-ISLAMIC WOMEN…once you are under Sharia/Hadiths–

    you can scream all you want, but trust me, you will obey, or else…[and Western women Really need to GET THIS].

    THE HADITH [though Islamic feminists say its a ‘weak Hadith’, apparently not very weak, because it is the Hadith that the Islamic systems go by, no matter how much ‘lip service’ is given to change…not only that, but it IS also, in Quran, a command for child marriage [Mohammad married a six year old girl–fact], and for other violations of human rights–there just is no skirting around it, the Commands are there–

    MORE ON THE HADITH–Hadiths are Very serious in Islam

    ‘Um Atiyyat al-Ansariyyah said: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (pbuh) said to her: Do not cut too severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband’.” 1,8

    “Partial Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 41: General Behavior (Kitab Al-Adab),” at: http://www.usc.edu/

    Alhaji Banding Drammeh, president of the Supreme Islamic council said: “FGM is a recommendation of the hadiths of the Prophet. It is an honour for a lady to undergo the practice of FGM,’ Drammeh said.

    (cf. ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3) — SPECIFICALLY STATES FGM IS OBLIGATORY, BASED ON THE ‘HADITHS’,

    IN ISLAM

    In reality, while many say that there is nothing in Islam which requires female circumcision, one of Sunni Islam’s “Four Great Imams,” Ahmad ibn Hanbal (from whom the Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence takes its name) quotes Muhammed as saying: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.”

    According to the Omatiya version of the hadiths (sacred words of the Prophet), when Mahomet saw a woman in the Medina busily carving up the genitalia of a small girl, he said: “Do not cut too deeply.” According to the second version (Razeen) he allegedly said “Do not cut too deeply. It clears the complexion of the woman and is more agreeable for her husband.”

    Posted by Tasha | May 25, 2008, 4:42 pm
  30. “STOP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID OF CULTURAL RELATIVISTS–

    Tasha,

    Thanks for this.
    😀

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | May 25, 2008, 5:06 pm
  31. How embarassing! I used to own one of those pairs of shoes!

    I can certainly back up that at least three pairs are distinct “fetish” fashion, designed specifically to be impractical. Ballet boots are ridiculous… they’re even harder to walk in than regular pointe shoes, even if you know how to use the authentic kind. Absolutely not designed for walking. The heels with the horse shoes are called “pony boots”, and I’ve never seen them used outside of a BDSM role play context or a stage persona. The enormous platforms are similar… they’re clearly theatrical footwear. They’re pseudo-stilts, not something that a woman is going to buy to go out dancing.

    I’m a bit disappointed that you used these examples to illustrate your point instead of those shoes that are actually being worn to great harm… badly designed strappy sandals with no support, no cushioning, and a dreadful heel. I do see your point on how common they are, however.

    Posted by hexy | May 26, 2008, 12:57 pm
  32. Well, sure Rumer Willis is wearing them in a magazine shoot. She’s also wearing a ballgown, a category of clothing not exactly well-represented in most women’s closets, and has absolutely no weight on her feet. I’d be willing to bet that the ballet boots were put on her after she’d gotten onto the set piece she’s lying on and taken off before she stood up, because it takes tons of practice to take even a few steps in that kind of footwear, which is part of the eroticism for people who enjoy sexplay involving those kinds of shoes.

    I agree with you, Heart, that impeding mobility doesn’t disqualify a shoe from being fashionable for daily wear, but I’ll stand by the idea that eliminating it does, because American women no longer have the dubious luxury of being carried about on litters.

    Posted by Mollie | May 26, 2008, 5:14 pm
  33. “…because American women no longer have the dubious luxury of being carried about on litters.”

    ROFL, thats hilarious, but you know, if my spouse is any example, LOL,

    might as well put some wheels on the couches and just cart the potatoes lounging there around,

    because they don’t even need ‘shoes’, hell, most of them don’t even stand more than what, twenty minutes a day?

    ROFL–maybe why Men design such ludicrous shoes–hell, if you spend 95% of your waking hours off your feet, because the other half of the world population is on their feet doing most of the 95% of necessary work,

    no wonder MEN see no problem with shoes like this–

    TOO MUCH DAMN TIME ON THEIR HANDS.

    :_)

    Posted by Tasha | May 26, 2008, 6:04 pm
  34. I see your point, Heart – I’m so used to criticising the everyday things that I forget that so many people see them as ‘normal’ and only notice the damage when offered ‘extreme’ examples.
    To Ladoctrina, the example you’ve shown is an interesting one – but it was a rather sexualized picture in the first place, and ballet heels aren’t breaking into the mainstream in terms of wear because they are specifically designed to virtually immobilise the wearer, to transform them into something helpless or more ‘decorative’ – they cannot be marketed as anything to be worn day-to-day as they cannot be walked in for any proper length of time unless the wearer has a high pain threshold and moves impractically slowly. People may look at them and say they look ‘cool’ or something, but the modern lifestyle, whilst demanding that women be as sexually attractive and decorative within patriarchal boundaries, also demands that they be able to move around. In this photoshoot the ballet heels are more like many catwalk fashions or props – to create visual impacts (along with the underlying eroticisation of female helplessness – note her position on her back), but not to be marketed as something every woman should have. It is a little worrying that they have chosen such torture-device-like footwear to be used in an image of female ‘beauty’, however, and in that sense it is a form of mainstreaming of feminine subordination.

    Posted by Mwezzi | May 26, 2008, 11:13 pm
  35. Mywezzi,

    you bring up a very valid point that needs to be brought out,

    and its here, where you say,

    “In this photoshoot the ballet heels are more like many catwalk fashions or props – to create visual impacts (along with the underlying eroticisation of female helplessness – note her position on her back), but not to be marketed as something every woman should have. It is a little worrying that they have chosen such torture-device-like footwear to be used in an image of female ‘beauty’, however, and in that sense it is a form of mainstreaming of feminine subordination.”

    The point, where you say “but not to be marketed as something every woman should have’…then, the “form of mainstreaming of feminine subordination’…

    ——-

    I’ve mentioned how the fashion industry [historical too as well as the ‘imperial beginnings of foot binding], how the fashion industry is not just targeting the women but class as well [reinforcements of, etc],

    but something that isn’t brought out but should be, is the RACISM in fashion,

    meaning,

    they don’t market these types of shoes/fashions [and the whole stratification to solidify class hierarchy/patriarchy] in fashion just to women,

    but to WHITE WOMEN, OR WESTERN WOMEN, as the ‘model image’ of what women are to strive for,

    THEN, they take that and it trickles down, in other words, the layouts in fashion are directed towards the Western perception of not just beauty but White beauty, what they perceive as, or, I would say, what they have CONSTRUCTED AS,

    even in fashion spreads with women of color, its that Euro-centric look that even in countries not even Western, they all copy that, so I would ask,

    is it so much the mainstreaming of feminine subordination or

    the mainstreaming of feminine subordination ALONG CLASS AND RACIAL lines–reinforcing this racial and class pecking order?

    the use of the ballet shoe [distorted as it is] is the glorification of the prima donna, the graceful lean [starved] white swan, whose subordination or, maybe ‘surrender’ to the male Imperial prince, etc., [who too, the swan that is, is extremely vulnerable to having neck broke–some symbolism in the use of the swan in ballet], is all Euro-centric values,

    because, fashion is first and foremost, targeted to women of wealth, Euro-Centric constructions of beauty and subordination and then,

    if you look through out all the fashion spreads, the images of working women, women of color [who aren’t assimilated in the Euro-Centric constructions], they often dress [market] them in fashions/shoes that sens out strong messages,

    especially the layouts of the model and the maid, or the model and the worker, etc.,

    either they ‘mock’ or they ‘construct’, and its Extremely geo-politically based, in the racism especially And in class,

    its hard for me to put into words here, but like, when I look through the Italian Vogue or Russian [Russian esp when I was learning Russian I often times picked up copies in library to read] and they all,

    though they have their ‘native’ styles, they All, emulate if thats the word I’m looking for, this type of Euro-Centric Imperialist ideal–Asia too,

    with this type of hierarchy that, is not noticeable probably to many but, I think one can see it if they know to look for it. Its like they take from every culture/class and they take parts of,

    compartmentalize them, chop them up, and reconstruct them into this Euro-Centric ‘white’ ideal, which I feel is extremely powerful and has So much to do with why we see more of the fashion industry having Such a negative impact on women globally.

    Example, Chinese women having their eyelids done, Thats to mold into this Western idea of beauty [that is so false to begin with] and,

    the message is, to be beautiful, is not just to be subordinate,

    but to be White and subordinate, as well as rich but subordinate to the White male…

    the ‘taken care of’ and OWNED toy of the white man–though yes, this is true of other men in other countries, the base is, yes, Euro-centricism and the patriarchy under White men/or Euro-centric [imperialism],

    NOT THAT THIS CONSTRUCTION DOESN’T GO ON IN OTHER COUNTRIES because it sure does,

    but, in regards to the Global Fashion INDUSTRY, its Euro-centric. The Ideal is the white swan to be subordinated [other women too but more violently and not so glamorous images],

    which all women globally are [the intent] to try and emulate to. And if they Don’t emulate to this,

    then, they work as slaves to support this message via fashion industry [why majority of sweatshops are women of color/underdeveloped nations and it IS deliberate],

    I’m probably not saying this like I want too [brain tired today],

    but, the Fashion Industry, especially marketing, is one, I think one if NOT the, largest psyops seriously now, to reconstruct the World’s women,

    into this Euro-centric multi-cultural class system but under the reign of the Imperialist Prince ideal,

    and all MEN [including those anti-westerners who scream against it, because they do the same shit to women in their countries including in their native fashion industries as well, its all that be subordinate and powerless and a trinkle tree to adorn and screw type of thing],

    of the world, re-enforce those messages, market them, and hold women to them/measure women on those scales, etc.

    And, though the fashion industry is, yes the elites, something Has been changing globally and mentioning the daily wear shoes, touches on this, a lot,

    especially if one looks at the stratification of how sweatshops work in the textile/fashion industry–including the labor unions that Work more for the benefit of the Capitalist/Transnationals than for the workers,

    and that is, the targeting more and more to the ‘middle class’.

    and to do this to where the bourgousie [sic] becomes acceptable to even the most poorest of nations and as the goal to strive for,

    because one thing that does happen, when there is that ‘content’ middle class, there tends to be less revolts because, yes,

    they’ve become ‘subordinated’.

    [In other words, the fashion industrial complex is not just about influencing women into patriarchy, its a highly effective POLITICAL TOOL, seriously now,

    to influence entire societies into subordination, via how it works economically, how it works to re-enforce patriarchy in the countries by influencing Women,

    to adapt to that imperial and yes, Middle Class Euro-Centric ideal/image.

    If you take a vogue, from any country, and really pay attention to the subtle messages in each lay out,

    the political messages are there, but they are there in a way that, you don’t even know you are influenced by them…[same with media but I think more so with fashion],

    first you see the glorification of the ‘rich’ and ‘powerful’ PAMPERED Euro-centric woman [including those lay outs with women of color or Asian Vogue/Latino Vogue, etc], they All pretty much look European,

    THEN, you see the layouts targeting ‘you can have it too’ middle class type of psychology that is Extremely powerful in influence, AND if they do tap and use diversity,

    its always with that intent, to reconstruct in this hegemony,

    of feminine subordination to the Imperialist Prince as well as to the Man in their life/or MEN of their nation, etc., and then, to be subordinate to those in the hierarchy, race and class, etc.,

    all in all its to ‘mold’ women into Their creation, but its not just this fashion sense, it goes way deeper than that. If you pull out a Vogue [or any other fashion spread], look at how, first lets say, twenty pages, are ads for the very ‘exclusive’, rich, etc’,

    [in some countries where its mostly haves and have nots, those pages go way beyond the first twenty],

    then, it starts to taper down or trickle down, to the lower rich class/then upper middle, then so forth,

    at the back, of course is the ads [and yea, you see alot of the sexualized fashion industries in the back], but before you get to the back of the magazine,

    notice how, that last layout [after all the middle class/every woman sections in the middle], go back to the ultra Euro-centric rich again…

    this is in Just about every single fashion magazine out there, Globally–

    and, I have copies of several magazines going back several years [I keep recycled copies, when I find them],

    and, its the same layout ‘agendas’ every month, to every year,

    its so capitalist market based but its so much more than that…and there is no way, anyone could convince me that it isn’t deliberate. I think it is,

    then if you follow the money trail, of WHO owns the stocks to these fashion giants [Textiles especially],

    that are also tied into the other productions,

    there is no doubt in my mind, that the Fashion Industry, is not just about beauty and fashion, its the means to which,

    they get into the minds of women worldwide, to influence them to fit not only into ‘strict gender roles’ and class roles [or acceptance of class] and race hierarchies, etc.,

    its to influence them politically more so. And, lets not forget,

    even among many young feminists–the readerships of those magazines,

    ARE HUGE–GLOBALLY…

    and why, the Textile industry [in both clothes and housewares] is one, if not The most exploitive and largest global industries of women/children.

    Go figure….

    Posted by Tasha | May 27, 2008, 8:31 pm
  36. Those pictures make me want to go out and buy a pair of Doc Martens.

    Posted by Helen | May 27, 2008, 11:48 pm
  37. Helen, do it! Doc Martens are the most comfortable, long lasting shoes in the world! I especially recommend the Doc Marten Chelsea Boot – which is what I always wear, so easy to just slip on and off, and you can’t beat those bouncing soles!

    Also, sorry to bring this up again, but I just have to say to Heart – Ditch The Bra!! Seriously, you’ll thank me. Throw every bra you own out, or burn them or whatever, get yourself some nice vest/camisole things and enjoy a life of comfort! You might think you can’t manage without a bra, but just try it for a couple of months and you’ll never look back, I promise. xxxxxx

    Posted by Debs | May 28, 2008, 8:42 am

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