I would imagine that title made more than a few people just a little nervous – but for all the wrong reasons. It’s the content of this post that may induce anxiety! We are about to go on a journey that throws fashion sense, political correctness, and – most importantly of all – the tendency of our culture to continue to put women in bondage to men’s distorted notion of what makes a woman attractive.
I do a lot of work at Starbucks. It gets me out of my home office and removes me from many of the distractions that people who work from home know only too well. The last several days, as I have worked at Starbucks and done some writing in the food court of the local mall, I have noticed the women I have encountered and how they are dressed. One day I tweeted that either there was a huge polo match taking place nearby or women are buying into the whole boot trend way too much. Women from 35 to 50 were walking past me dressed as if come law had been passed that made boot wearing a mandatory practice. So much for self-expression!
At Starbucks, because I am working on the computer, I tend to see the shoes that people are wearing as they walk past my table. I confess that I normally don’t notice shoes or feet – probably because I sold shoes when I was just out of High School and learned that feet are nasty, disgusting things. You only wave to see a few hammer toes and bunions at eighteen years old to be permanently inoculated against any chance of developing a foot fetish. I am so oblivious to feet and foot wear that I once has a fifteen minute conversation with someone before they mentioned the cast on their foot that I had completely failed to notice. My wife will tell you that I live pretty much at eye level, and I can look for things for hours without finding them if they are up on a shelf or on the floor. This looking at people’s feet has been a revelation for me, because I have learned just how absurd the footwear is that our society seems to demand women wear to work or to go out at night. The parade of boots in a casual setting is matched in conformity only by the parade of high heels in a dressy setting. At least the boots are comfortable and don’t, for the most part, contort a woman’s body from its natural alignment into an alignment that will cause foot, knee, hip, and back problems later in life.
(Adult language warning: stop reading now if talk about things sexual upsets you and proceed directly to a qualified therapist who will help you grow up.)
Of course, I understand the reasoning. Supposedly a woman’s legs look better in heels, but who decided that was true? Could it be that, somewhere in our subconscious, males have decided that since people (in my admittedly small sample group) point their toes during orgasm women should walk around in high heels? You may laugh, but since I am a male I can tell you that we are amazingly simple creatures in many ways – none of which are very flattering. Whatever the reason, could we just agree that there is nothing attractive about a fashion trend that damages those who participate? Have you ever noticed that there isn’t a piece of male footwear that causes damage to a man’s body? That isn’t an accident, it’s a function of an imbalance of power in our culture. If women had the power to make men dress in a way that made males more attractive, I am quite sure they would have us tape our mouths shut and prop our ears open – but that hasn’t happened yet!
I’m no prude, but I do have this thing called a conscience that stops me from getting my jollies by making another human being do things that cause them harm. Sadism is sadism and fetishism is fetishism, whether or not we euphemistically call it “fashion.” We talk about women’s equality as if it is something we have already achieved – and in many ways we have come a long way – but ample evidence still exists that we have a long way to go. I’m not arguing that women should dress like men, unless they want to, but I am saying that women should be free to dress themselves in a way that works first for themselves and only secondarily for others. We all want to be seen as attractive, but there isn’t anything attractive about destroying our bodies or our integrity for the leering pleasure of males with an infantile sexuality – but enough about Brett Favre.
In a strange way, this would also free men who are currently being led around by their penises – an astonishingly inadequate bridle if ever there was one!