A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Sexy? Or Just Plain Dangerous?

Don't these look like the cartoon shoes that Natasha in  "Rocky and Bullwinkle" wore? I had to do a double take because I thought that was exactly what these were. They aren't. They are actually real shoes used in the recent catwalk show of noted designer, Alexander McQueen.

His theme was animals and partly based on Darwin's "Origin of the Species". All the models wore these 12 inch (!) heels in the show and when seen all together going down the catwalk, they resembled "hooves."  (You know that Posh went right out and bought these in every colour.)

But what I want to ask is, "Why?" Why are shoes becoming so outrageous? Why are heels so high that they are making women's feet bleed and become disfigured?  Why is it that women will torture themselves as slaves to fashion buying dozens of pairs each year simply to be in pain when they are worn? Beautiful shoes yes, but  incredibly painful shoes they are as well.

When I see shoes like these and shoes with extremely high heels which are so very much in vogue, I keep thinking of the centuries of footbinding that Chinese women endured for the sake of beauty. From the 10th century until the 20th century, the feet of the women of wealthier castes in China were bound. It is estimated that 2 billion women's feet were bound during that time period. Their feet were broken and then wrapped so that the bones could fuse with a very high arch and produce a foot that was only 3 1/2 to 4 inches long. The women would sway when they walked and this was considered "sexy" to men.  Are women in the world any better today? No, they aren't. And most of the choices in footwear are being dictated by men who don't have to wear the same fashions they design.

Granted, McQueen really is an artiste of a dress designer. He is flamboyant with his vivid colours and his designs are more at home as theatre pieces than wearable fashions for the everyday working girl  in say, Boise, Idaho. He likes to tell his "catwalk" stories and put phantasmic costumes on his models to illuminate his dreams and fantasies. The problem? You'll see some form of this same shoe at Target next year. It will be interesting to see how it is transformed into that shoe for the Boise girl. Maybe the heels will be made out of soldered pitchfork tines.

I don't own a pair of super-high heels. I injured my foot in a fall over a decade ago. I think that was a mixed blessing.   I figure that being sexy is more about what is between my ears than what is on my feet. I dated a lot of  men from Mars (and even a few men  from Venus) and none of them ever noticed or cared what shoes I was wearing.

So, Mr McQueen and Mr Choo and Mr Blahnik....I'm taking my money and will  buy a sensible pair of  J.P Tod brogues and walk comfortably over to Borders.  I'll take a book over a Manolo Blahnik anytime.

McQueen's models looking like reindeer...caught in the headlights