Tuesday, February 12, 2008

These shoes are made for… something

I love shoes. More specifically, I love off-the-wall shoes, and fetish shoes. The off-the-wall shoes fill the anti-authoritarian side of me- why else would a person own poison green sneakers?

(Side note: We were watching something on TV and the character asked, “Do you wear these hiking boots for hiking?” I turned to Andrew and said, “I have lots of sneakers that I wear for sneaking.”)

These are my newest pair of shoes, due to arrive any day now:

hot shoes

[Photo courtesy of Shoes.com]

The crazy fetish shoes have more meaning to me. I sustained a serious knee injury in 1999, and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to wear heels, or walk stairs without serious pain. As a minor, my options were to not wear heels, not walk stairs, and the doctor suggested knee surgery- which might (or might not) have left me unable to walk. I chose to go without the surgery, obviously.

That was the case until 2004, when I began physical therapy (which I pursued after being told by a different doctor that I might not be permanently injured).

I went from having pain after walking one flight of stairs to being pain-free, and able to scale four flights of stairs several times a day in eleven weeks. I worked the injured knee to the point where it was actually stronger than my other knee for a few months.

This meant I could begin wearing heels again. I bought a few pairs of incredibly fun heels (which I wear occasionally), which aren’t the most comfortable shoes, but man, do they get things done.

There is the contingent of people who believe that high-heeled shoes are the modern, Western version of foot binding, intended to keep women hobbling along and subservient. I disagree.

While high fashion may tell us that we should wear high-heeled shoes all the time, I’ve found that wearing high-heeled shoes once in a while is much more effective. It’s the same as wearing slacks most of the time, and a skirt occasionally. I can be seen as feminine without being all Stepford-y all the time.

The social dynamics involved are stunning- I can be carrying the same armload of stuff in slacks, and doors aren’t held for me. In a skirt and heels, I find that I’m not opening doors for myself. This was the case at my previous job, too.

Opening doors has gone from being a courtesy to a political act. When Sam was younger, I remember women cooing over how cute it was that chivalry came in the form of a six-year-old boy. Women were shocked that grown men wouldn’t open doors, but this little boy would. (Go Mom!)

When I was in college, I witnessed the following:

Woman: [Approaches the door]

Man: [Opens door, gestures that she should go first]

Woman: I don’t need you to open doors for me! I am PERFECTLY CAPABLE of doing it myself.

Man: [Stands, slack jawed] I’m sorry.

Now, while I’m happy to wave my feminist flag, what the hell?! I would have yelled right back at her if I had been in the guy’s shoes. When did good manners become oppressive? Since when did performing an act of common courtesy require an APOLOGY? California has become downright upside-down. Topsy-turvy. Higgledy-piggledy.

So, you could say that by wearing crazy fetish-shoes (or heels in general), I’m subverting the dominant paradigm. Bringing back chivalry.

And wearing some wicked fierce pumps.


  1. Hey, I ran across your blog from Ravelry, where I'm ariatari. Re: door opening: yeah, I've definitely seen that too, and it just strikes me as so rude. I try to subvert the paradigm by opening doors for my friends, women or men. And when I'm wearing heels and someone opens the door for me, I thank him or her.


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