Friday, January 26, 2007

Modern Day Foot Torture

I'm not a huge fan of Chick lit. It's not the writing that I don't like, or even the whining done by so many of the characters. I do sort of remember my fledgling days out of college, when I was a single working gal trying to navigate the world of grown ups. So it's not that I'm so far out of touch with my inner Mary Tyler Moore. The reason I don't snatch up every new release with the hot pink cartoon cover is because for the life of me, I cannot relate to a heroine who thinks nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes.*

I just. Don't. Get. It.

Shoes are functional. They are objects designed and created to protect your feet from the elements and the hard ground beneath. Yes, they can and should compliment your outfit. And the right shoes with the right outfit can make you look and feel more attractive.

But beyond that, I'm just not into the whole shoe fetish thing.

Last night, on Nightline, they did a feature on this cosmetic surgeon out in L.A. who provides - for $500 per foot - an injection of hyaluronic acid into the balls of the feet to provide extra padding so ladies can wear stiletto heels in comfort. They also reported on a procedure in which toes are actually shortened so that feet fit better into high-fashion footwear.

Oh. My. God. You have got to be kidding me? There are actually people out there who will willingly mutilate their bodies simply so they can shove their size 9s into a shoe that some MALE designer has concocted with, clearly, no regard whatsoever to the fact that a human being actually has to put the thing on a real body part full of nerve endings?

Honestly, this is no different that that ancient, sadistic Chinese custom of foot binding. Well, I guess there is some difference in that those poor Chinese women had this horror inflicted upon them when they were children and couldn't object or fight back. But in a way, choosing to do this as a full grown adult is more shameful.

And I find something about all of this a tad bit ironic, given how many people decry the romance genre as anti-feminist. If we lump Chick Lit under the romance umbrella, or at least call it a subset of the family female fiction which includes Romance as a cousin, then those who would cry "oppression!" when they read about alpha males and doormat females have little room to protest if they shove their hooves into a pair of Jimmy Choos or Manolos all in the name of fashion. They are allowing the dictates of fashion - dictates often prescribed by males - to control what they do to their bodies, be it suffer through hours of discomfort or even something so barbaric as actual surgery.

I won't even go into my thoughts on what it says about us as Americans that we (or some of us) are willing to spend $700 on a pair of shoes - shoes! - when that amount is more than most of the world's population earns in an entire month or even year. And not even comfortable shoes at that! I'm all for the power of a good, quality pair of comfort shoes as a good investment, well worth the cash outlay. But to pay this kind of money for something that probably only matches one outfit AND brings tears to the eyes? Puh-leese.

This opinion probably puts my firmly in the camp of those who are pedestrian and midwestern in their way of thinking, but there it is. And there is the reason I couldn't jump on the Sex and the City bandwagon. I just cannot relate to these characters. I have a hard time taking their problems seriously. Sure, everyone deserves happiness and love. But if you've got great shoes, what more do you want?

* I know that stating that all Chick Lit heroines are footwear-obsessed is stereotyping. I'm sure that there are many a city girl heroine who could care in the least what goes on her feet as long as they match each other. But for the sake of making my point, I'm going with the overgeneralization. Sorry.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I do like chick lit, but I think the materialism is just absurd. While reading shopaholic for a kick, I was almost sick at how much the main character spent. I would never pay money to have my feet look different and most certainly not $40+ for shoes. I am a cheapo, lol. Great read!