Shoes of Satan
There’s a whole shit-ton of important things going on the world right now, but I want to take a moment out and bitch about something else.
That something else being shoes. Heeled shoes in particular.
For those few readers who have missed previous posts on the subject of female beauty standards: I think they all suck. The fun feminist hit squad may chase after me with pitchforks for this: but the only reason that women do stupid things like slather chemicals on their faces, put flammable shit in their hair, and wear heeled shoes is because we are given some sort of limited power for doing so while being denied that power if we don’t. Fun feminists can swear up and down that the reason they wear heels and makeup is because it “makes them feel good” and it’s “empowering”, and I don’t buy it. Okay, so you feel empowered by hurting yourself. Congratulations. Welcome to the patriarchy, enjoy your stay. If we’re going to play the “I feel this way, which happens to be exactly in line with the patriarchy, because of my innate sense of fashion/empowerment/self-hood, not because of the rewards patriarchy gives me when I comply” game, I’m going to opt out.
Relax people, I’m not trying to take away your shoes, makeup, diets, and impractical clothing. I too do stupid things like put concealer on my face when my pimples dismay me, wear clunky jewelry instead of spending money on more useful things, and enjoy occasionally painting my nails. Of course, I am self-aware enough to realize that the entire reason that I do these things and make an effort to appear feminine in public, even though I don’t wear makeup, is because of cultural values that reward me when I comply, and castigate me when I don’t. Oh, and I’m not the kind of person that can just fuck cultural norms and walk around in a bikini with my flabby stomach, stretch marks, and white ass hanging out. I still carry a deep shame about my body. I am susceptible to praise and disapproving looks. I follow trends out of the corner of my eye and sometimes hypocritically find myself thinking “why is she wearing those shoes with those pants ohmygosh!”
Patriarchy: we’re soaking in it. Me too. This blogmistress is not some god-like figure who poo-poos cultural conventions and doesn’t give a shit about other people. I do give a shit. I give too much of a shit sometimes. And the entire reason that I sometimes cover my pimples, cover my fat and stretch marks, and wear shoes that are really bad for me is because the mental energy it takes to systematically deprogram oneself from poisonous cultural values for every second of every day while squashing self-doubt while going about daily life as if everything is normal while having the courage to demand the same consideration and respect as everyone else when you butt heads with various patriarchal enforcers while battling my disabilities* is just more effort than it’s worth sometimes.
So, back to shoes. Heeled shoes suck. I almost exclusively wear flats, much to the dismay of some others. I’m practically the poster child for “needs heels”. Measuring in at 5’2”, flats mean that finding myself taller than anyone over the age of 12 is a novel occurrence. With height comes privileges: being able to see in concerts and movies, and having people take you more seriously, even if you do have lady bits.
But I caved the other week to the fashion mantra. It’s not often I find myself enamored of fleeting seasonal trends. But then came gladiator sandals. And I was like woah. So here’s a shoe, a sandal no less, that hearkens back to some sort of bad-assery. Typically the designs of women’s shoes are influenced by the want of seriously tiny feet, porn, more porn, and some sort of sadomasochist bullshit. But gladiator sandals were influenced by kicking ass. Oh, and they would look fantastic with the hippie style (read: lazy, loose, long, and comfortable) that I typically sport/slap together in five minutes.
So I found some sandals that looked a bit like the fashion. I really couldn’t justify buying the full out gladiator sandals, because spending $50 some dollars on shoes that only go with two outfits and will be hopelessly out of style in a year is, well, stupid. I bought the shoes you see above. They were strappy, brown (brown goes with everything), and didn’t give me blisters. But they had a heel. Not much of a heel, just 1.5 inches. So I’m figure, “what the hell?” gave into the patriarchal calls of fashion and style and bought some shoes I’d figure would get a lot of use during the summer.
Big mistake. See, these weren’t just sandals. They’re Satan’s shoes.
They’re cute. They go with everything. I put them on and they’re comfortable. My toes aren’t squished. I don’t really notice the heel. I walked miles around campus without feeling like my arch was going to collapse like it does in most cheap flats.
So I go to sleep at night, happy that my superficial shoe purchase was worth it. The next day, I throw on some clothes, five minutes after I’m supposed to leave, and then slip on some black flip-flops I got for $4 at Target.
And Satan’s shoes thus earned their name.
Walking to class was agony. My feet felt like they had anvils dropped on them. My arches were cramping, my calves were burning, and I tripped on the stairs and scrapped my knees when my ankles gave out in flats that I wore without trouble for years.
What the fuck? What the hell was this? I’ve displayed more grace after five Gin and Tonics and suffered less pain after overdoing it in pilates. Satan’s shoes, it seems, had shortened my tendons and altered my gait from their measly 1.5 inch heel and one day of wearing them.
So here I sit, at home with aching calves, thinking to myself that patriarchy fucking sucks. I can’t imagine the pain of wearing shoes like that, or higher, constantly. It must permanently fuck up your legs and feet and back. Thousands of women around the world are required or compelled to wear such shoes daily. For what? The pitiful amount of power that sex appeal grants? A pathetic offering considering how people with dicks get that and more while enjoying nice flat arch-supporting shoes.
So fuck you, Shoes of Satan. Fuck you beauty expectations. Fuck you patriarchy. Fuck you people who insist that such masochism is empowering. Really, when I’m chanting to myself “mind over matter, just half a mile until you’re done” whilst my feet feel like they’re going to fall off from simple walking I could do just fine two days ago, knowing that some dude finds my calves marginally more fuckable when I wear 1.5 inch heels doesn’t help. Even if the shoes are cute.
*I’ve never really posted about it before, but I have persistent debilitating digestive problems, various skin conditions, really shitty vision and sensitivity to light (and I stupidly live in a sunny state), depression, severe ADD, social anxiety, and enough allergies to make label-reading a personal hobby. I’ll blog about what disability means to me sometime.