Jul 17 2008

Now baby can wear heels in bed, just like Mommy


I haven’t looked, but I suppose tidings of baby’s first high heels have already made the rounds of the feminist blogs. No matter; this ain’t no news blog.

Anyway, what I allude to are these grotesque novelty shoes for infants. Sexy animal prints with spike heels. Thirty-five bucks a pair. Celebrity-endorsed. Blamer Melissa, who rang my clue phone about this icky development, says “the whole ‘seven-year-olds in thongs’ thing is so last season and hawtness must now begin at birth.”

A glance at the website reveals a link to an Entertainment Tonight article describing the crib shoes (wait, crib shoes? Why does a bedridden infant need shoes?) as “made from soft, flexible fabrics with a collapsible heel and are not intended for walking.”

The pair of women sexopreneurs who invented the infant fuckme pumps chap the Twisty hide in many ways. Forget about the obvious antifeminist implications of infant pornulation for a second; what’s with the repellent adult pastime of casting children in the role of joke-butts? Warning, says the website, these Heelarious shoes “May cause extreme smiling and hysterical laughter when in use (this is completely normal).”

Normal! Man, what is wrong with people? Why does everybody think it’s okay to openly jeer and laugh at kids? Do they think the tots just don’t notice that they are perennial objects of mockery? Last Halloween, at the neighborhood cul-de-sac trick-or-treat party (or what I like to call the Barton Creek Toddler Burlesque), my 4-year-old niece Rotel flat-out refused to wear her elaborately cute costume. It was obvious that she just didn’t want to make a spectacle of herself for the amusement of the drunk adults. Much consternation ensued. Rotel was seriously in violation of some primal code of childhood conduct when she dared to expect that she could collect candy without putting on Hilarious Kid Drag. She was robustly critiqued for having had the temerity to assert personal bodily sovereignty in the face of patriarchal tradition. I am happy to report that she prevailed in the end, but it was clear from the reaction of the neighbors that they considered her strange, and I don’t believe for a second that the kid won’t carry deep emotional scars for life. Probably she will turn to a life of crime.

According to the rules of the culture of domination, kids, particularly female kids, suffer the lowest status possible for creatures with human DNA.

But I digress.

The purveyors of the tiny hooker-wear are a perfect example of the ingenious and pernicious manner in which patriarchy replicates itself through eager complicity of the oppressed class itself. While fathers hang around in strip clubs not paying child support, mothers are charged with providing the next generation’s primary indoctrination into the social order. Why not get a jump on your daughter’s pornulation training by strapping on some infant sex appeal? These asinine accouterments bear a striking resemblance to those Japanese fetish torture shoes; they aren’t intended for walking, either.


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  1. ColoradoDem

    I love this blog. Many thanks for your dedication to saying stuff that’s true.

  2. B. Dagger Lee

    Surely it would be cheaper to simply bind your babe’s tender little feet? I think all you need are strips of cloth.

  3. Ron Sullivan

    That skirt looks annoying and scratchy too. If those were Baby’s Last High Heels, well, a little better. If this were baby’s First Nitpick I’d wonder if they aren’t really more Long than High if Baby is horizontal, which Babies tend to be.

    I’m watching for Baby’s First Spurs tho’.

  4. PhysioProf

    Probably she will turn to a life of crime.

    Or, even worse, she might become a Spinster Aunt.

  5. Carrie


  6. Suzie

    Wow baby fuck me pumps! Sign me up! Ill take hot pink ones please. Oh I hate to ask but can my son have pair too?

  7. jc.

    These shoes remind me of when I was in Melaka, Malaysia and I visited this store which sold hand maid traditional chinese shoes for bound feet (look it up in lonely planet, “for something different..”. I can´t claim any great selfrighteous disgust, but I didn´t get why I would want to have a set as souvenirs and the size was extremely horrifying. Even when I squinted I found no esthetic or humuristic value in the shoes. I guess the selling point was/is exotic second hand cheap thrills for people who now live in “liberated ” and “civilized” cultures and times. Anyhow the baby heels and the bound feet shoes are scarily similiar in size and in so many other obvious ways.

  8. Jenny


    Did you see this new Barbie doll? Sigh…

  9. Jeanne B.

    And let’s just firmly ingrain those gender identification barriers early on, shall we?

    I can relate to Rotel. My parents recognized my musical gifts when I was very young. They encouraged my musical growth with lessons. I loved playing the guitar, I loved the praise they heaped upon me, and given the option of playing with friends or staying home with my guitar, the guitar won out every time. But for some reason, I balked when they tried to drag me out in front of their friends with demands to “play something for them”. I’m sure this has lead to the struggle I’ve always felt about being a performer. If I’m doing it for myself, it’s great, but the minute I become a product…

  10. Helen

    my 4-year-old niece Rotel flat-out refused to wear her elaborately cute costume.

    I did the same thing when I was 5, and discovered that the choices were: Either wear the stupid costume and we’ll ridicule you all day, or don’t wear the stupid costume and we’ll ridicule you all day. It was quite a lesson.

  11. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I was a painfully shy kid, and I hated the annual photo-with-Santa ritual. Even when threatened with no presents under the tree on Christmas morning, my stomach got vomiticiously upset at the prospect of sitting on Santa’s lap (a Stranger, by my lights) to tell him what I wanted. The end result? My mom had many childhood photos of me with a red, swollen face and a lifelong distaste for that most festive season of the year.

    Some of my friends of Caribbean descent remember teenage parties at which their father put their first pair of high heels on their feet. I am reminded of this Purity Ball thing they’re doing these days. So whether it begins with pink onesies or your first date, it’s all just a slightly different flavor of the same ol’ P-flavored hogwash.

  12. mikeb302000

    I love your writing, Twisty. Reading your stuff has made me a better father to my two young daughters.

  13. Brigid

    And, we have the sexual objectification of infants. INFANTS. It’s abjectly disgusting, and I emailed the company to tell them so. I find it no comfort to know that they will consider ME the freak, who thinks their sex shoes for babies are repellent.


  14. Amananta

    I just made a blog post about a tangentially related topic. How disturbing is it when you find yourself out numbered and shouted down by people who insist there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with pedophilia, its all just cultural, and if a culture says its legal there’s nothing wrong with it? Then to come see this – what’s next, someone who rapes a baby saying “but look how she was dressed judge, clearly she was leading me on”?
    Sorry if I’m sounding incoherent but I am, actually, you know, feeling – incoherent right now. With rage.

  15. Femsei

    “The shoes – in sizes 0 to six months – are not meant for walking and will “collapse” if little ones put weight on them, says the designers’ Web site, heelarious.com.

    Creators Britta Bacon and Hayden Porter say on the Web site that “her first high heels” are “extremely funny, completely soft, fully functional high-heel crib shoes for babies.”

    The novelty pumps that let infants channel their inner Carrie Bradshaw come in six colors – leopard satin print, hot pink patent, black satin, zebra satin, black patent, and hot pink satin.”

    FUCKING UNREAL~! Obviously there are no limits to commodification–and “what are the purpose of these shoes if not to signify gender?!” A soft shoe that is designed for ages 0-6 months and collapses (not to be walked on)–I think someone is taking infant/child development in this idea A WEE BIT FRICKIN’ TOO FAR~!

    This is commodification gone FUCKED! And those that are buying into this ridiculous sham are just as FUCKED!

  16. Lisa

    This is absolutely sick.
    Train little girls to be beauty queens right from the start – and ruin their feet while you’re at it.
    I would love to know what, if anything, went/goes on in the heads of the two women who thought of this, and what they wear to bed. No, wait, on second thought, don’t tell me.

  17. Shira

    Oh lordy, this post brought back awful memories of when my grandmother would literally chase me around the house attempting to tie these ridiculous little bobbles into my eighteen-month-old hair at family parties.

    To this day she will tell me to my face that I can’t possibly remember that, because no one remembers anything from before they were five. I obviously disagree, but it was a good lesson for a person being forcibly made into a woman in the patriarchy: you can be running through a house filled with your own goddamn family members, screaming for someone, anyone, to help save you from the person six times your size chasing you with malicious barrette intent, and you’ll be ignored at worst or mocked at best. You’ll end up with an unnecessary searing headache either way, but at least if you run, you get some of your dignity back.

    It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten, but the patriarchy keeps reminding me all the same.

  18. Citizen Jane

    Wow. This is interesting, because it shows how much times have changed since I was a kid. It was exactly the opposite then. We were infantalized to all hell.

    While I certainly wasn’t sexified as a kid, I was definitely frillified. My parents could not get enough of me in those horrible frilly dresses, and pink patent leather Mary Jane shoes. They were so uncomfortable and I couldn’t really move properly in them. The absolute ultimate sin was getting clothes the slightest bit dirty, or wrinkled, or scuffed on the shoes. That meant, of course, that I wasn’t allowed to actually play. I remember getting rebellious and climbing a tree once. I got sap all over that Godforsaken Laura Ashley dress and I was in the hugest trouble.

    As for the people who laugh at kids, do they not remember being laughed at when they were a kid? Surely anyone can remember how infuriating that was, can’t they? Or did they just block out their childhood because it was too horrible to remember?

  19. Megan

    @ Citizen Jane,

    I risk stating the obvious, I suppose. But people are compelled to revisit their own childhood traumas on children (worse and younger) because insisting that it’s a normal part of childhood lets them pretend that they don’t still hurt over it.

    As those of you who’ve had your eyes opened by Faster Feminism know, some days it’s ridiculously hard to survive knowing how much you are hurt and enraged over, well, nearly everything. The price of refusing to feel for our own childhood selves is the inability to have compassion for other children and the compulsion to insist that traumas visited on children are normal, necessary and desirable.

  20. Satchel Pooch

    And let us not forget Anna Nicole Smith, who instructed her nanny to underfeed her infant daughter in order to keep her “slim and sexy.”

  21. RebelRebel

    Useless. What is the point of giving a baby high heels if she can’t walk on them? They can’t even fulfill their designed purpose of making her infant ass look fabulous!

  22. Satsuma

    What is it with women and shoes? I have one pair of black military issue last forever dress shoes, one pair of tennis shoes, one pair of sandals, and one pair of slippers — all have lasted at least 7 years or more.

    Then I look at the shoe stores for women, and I can’t believe women buy this stuff! There is something odd about this obsession with shoes, and with men’s sleazy love of women in impossible high heels.

    Now the craziness is filtering to dolls and babies! We should still feel sick at the thought of adult women wearing this junk! And then we wonder why women have no money to support revolution!

  23. Jezebella

    Satsuma, really? “What is it with women and shoes?” Do you really have to poke that hornets’ nest of a stereotype and get all shoe-holier-than-thou because you only have four pairs of shoes? Jeezus.

    That said, these infant “shoes” are effing revolting.

  24. WendyAnn

    I don’t get the women and shoes thing either and I don’t consider myself “holier than thou.”

    I think it’s a horrible waste of money (something many of us don’t have) completely vain, and a capitulation to the patriarchy. But I don’t blame women for it.

    I still don’t get the love of shoes or clothes that a lot of other women seem to have. I’ll quote (semi) Molly Ivins, –My style is “woman who wears clothes so she isn’t naked.”

    I will never, in a million years, understand why a woman choses to wear heels or make-up. It’s been explained to me many times and I still don’t get it.

    Just say no.

    Not holier than though, just completely clueless as to why women fall for it. You don’t *have* to wear heels. You don’t *have* to spend hundreds of dollars a month you don’t have on clothes. You don’t *have* to slather your face in cancer causing make-up.

    Still not blaming women – but still not getting why some women do these things.

    And I will never, ever, ever understand a parent who puts those shoes on an infant’s feet.

  25. TP

    Rotel and my daughter are almost exactly the same age. Whenever Tess – my daughter – asserts her personal sovereignty I always pay close attention. My best friend (wife) and I are charged with teaching her how to live in a patriarchy while wishing that we could raise her outside of it. Childhood, when taken to what seems like old-fashioned lengths, can be very sexless. But she is acutely aware of sex at all time because she seems to have figured out that she does not want to be a boy or identify or appeal to boys. She seems to dislike boys, which is pretty much the way I feel, too. I may not be a biological woman, but I would rather not be a man, either. And its not about sex, which is fine with me to a certain extent. Its about the culture of maleness that I have always hated.

    Tess will not wear certain clothes, though she likes skirts and shorts – who doesn’t? They are much better than pants! She complains bitterly and in the end I let her decide. I don’t know if it’s right, but it feels right to me to give her a choice and let her decide. I hate throwing away the money, but I hate the idea of her sitting there in something she hates blaming us for it. She’s way too young to blame the patriarchy!

    It’s a constant puzzle. Is it the culture or is it real? Is this something she needs to learn to deal with the culture, or are we brainwashing her to accept the culture? These questions are dramatic and heartfelt with your relatives in a way they are not when they are about the world at large.

  26. Windstorm

    “As for the people who laugh at kids, do they not remember being laughed at when they were a kid? Surely anyone can remember how infuriating that was, can’t they? Or did they just block out their childhood because it was too horrible to remember?” ~ Citizen Jane

    Exactly. I wish I could block it all out, but it was there from as long as I can remember. Not to mention the now faded, black and white photos taken naked on the toilet, and then shown with delight, years later, to dates that I might bring home to dinner. The whole exploitation of children and then pretending it’s cute thing, makes my skin crawl.

    IBTP, AND the women who inadvertently or for short-term personal gain, support the P.

  27. Roving Thundercloud

    For some reason these don’t surprise me. I became a first-time parent not too long ago and I am still completely baffled at why most people are in such a SWEAT to gender-identify their infants. I mean, they HAVE to know from the first sonogram so they can go out and get every conceivable gender flag ever thought of. Gotta get that room painted and buy a bunch of clothes months in advance so that…so what? So I won’t mistake a cute blob of baby for the wrong gender? Who the F cares? Not the baby, that’s for damned sure. Talk about projecting your insecurities.

    How about this for a sub-thread: Imagine you’re at a baby shower that’s being held for you/your baby, and you open up a package to find these. What would be the first words out of your mouth? Would you bite your tongue and be polite, or would you take the amused participants to task?

  28. goblinbee

    The scariest thing about that website is that they think “heelarious” is a noun.

  29. Spiders

    I think women learn to love shoes because they’re told they love shoes. Same with shopping.
    I look at some of the shoes that are for sale and they don’t even seem to be designed for a human foot.
    I wonder if the historical restriction of our feet is symbolic. We can’t run away with high heels on any more than we can if our feet are bound. Men find that a real turn on.
    The infant fuckme boots are taking that idea to the extreme; baby girls can’t run away anyway. How cute. How sexy.

  30. mir

    I’ll agree with Jezebella re: the lots of shoes/some shoes/few shoes thing. It turns so quickly into a feminist yardstick argument (makeup! hair dye! heels! skirts!), which in this particular instance detracts from the real (in my opinion) issue at hand: making babies look fuckable. The patriarchy really outdid itself on this one. I blame. Oh how I blame.

  31. Twisty

    I have 78 pairs of shoes.

  32. Bridget

    I don’t even want to know what the next “cute” thing will be …

    Friends of ours had a little girl that they would always complain couldn’t sleep through the night, and they or their doctor couldn’t figure out why. They came to visit once, and I noticed that the mother was putting the 4-year-old’s hair in rollers before she went to bed! I commented to the effect that maybe that was causing her to not sleep well.

    Of course, since I don’t have children, it was as if I had said something like “I want to stick a knife in her heart.”

    The rollers stayed. The kid didn’t sleep. What do I know??

  33. keres

    If you really do have such an enormous shoe collection Twisty dear, I think we dated in the mid-eighties.

    I have a pair of hiking boots, two pairs of Birkenstocks, and a pair of riding boots as old as my girlfriend. Draw meaning from that at your own peril.

    Oh, and ewwwwwwwww about the baby bondage wear.

  34. thebewilderness

    I think there are two reasons for all the shoes.
    One is that they never fit right so we are always searching for a pair that might be less painful than the pair we are currently wearing.
    Another is that we are conditioned to find pleasure in the acquisition of new and different crap.

    I think that parents who enjoy tormenting children just as they were tormented are the very backbone of the patriarchy.

  35. PhysioProf

    I have some fancy-ass shoes in my closet that I like to look at, but I never wear them. I always throw on the schleppy-ass comfortable ones.

  36. SiouxB

    Eeewwww. Just don’t let my sister-in-law get a look at these for her 1 year daughter. I’m afraid she’ll buy a pair! This is the same woman who had an entry in her baby shower registry for a little felt hat that said “Boob Man”, and someone in her family ordered it for her son. (Get it? Get it? Haw, haw, hilarious. What? Where’s your sense of humor?) He’s 3 now and he’s got a t-shirt that reads “Lock up your daughters!” Ugh.

    I relate to the night time curlers pain. My mother forced me for a few years, when I was little, to sit through the application of curlers on Saturday nights so I’d look good, in her estimation, for church the next morning. I hated it. Uncomfortable as hell, the whole process. And I hated the look the next morning. When I discovered that the curls went away after I wet my normally straight hair, that was the end of the curlers. All because my grandmother thought my hair needed “a little curl”.

  37. Orange

    The next goldmine, obviously, will be a line of baby girl and toddler girl clothing with boobs built in. I mean, it would be silly to put the infant in a bra and stuff it, but if the shirt’s got two padded mounds on the chest, how cute would that be? The Heelarious people can branch out from shoes to “extremely funny, completely soft, fully functional” shirts and dresses.

    These would be available in sizes from preemie to 5T, cup sizes A to DD.

  38. Bitch, Esquire

    Helen: “I did the same thing when I was 5, and discovered that the choices were: Either wear the stupid costume and we’ll ridicule you all day, or don’t wear the stupid costume and we’ll ridicule you all day. It was quite a lesson.”

    Isn’t the last option really “don’t wear the stupid costume and we’ll ridicule you at family gatherings for the rest of your life”?

  39. sevanetta

    Oh Orange, unfortunately I think you are absolutely right. Little baby bras are the only possible next step from this.

    I have been wondering what I would say if I had a baby girl and somebody gave me a pair of the baby-heels. Probably something kind about how nice it was of them to think of me, then probably something about how inappropriate it was and what exactly were they thinking?

    And then, everyone would turn on me for being rude, la la la.

    Thinking about shoes – you know, I have an awful lot of shoes – mainly flat heeled – but in winter I wear one pair of boots everywhere, unless I’m dancing (and I have specific flatties for that). And in summer I wear one pair of sandals or flat mary janes to work. The others just sit in my room. Hmm. So maybe, Twisty, you have one pair of thongs (do Americans call them flip flops?), one pair of slippers, one pair of dress shoes and 75 pairs of riding boots? Or do riding boots double as dress shoes?

    Or maybe you’re pulling our legs and you actually have NO shoes. ahhhhhh now that would be my ideal life: never having to wear shoes again. or bras.

  40. Genevieve

    The ridicule of female clothing choices extends far past young childhood. When I was in high school I wore all-black, every day, during my freshman and sophomore years, and people had such issues with this. By my junior year I wasn’t feeling so ‘dark’ all the time anymore–but I knew that if I showed up in a green shirt or whatever, all the people who always asked, “why do you wear black all the time?” would go crazy. Why? Because after wearing nothing but skirts/dresses when I was in third and fourth grades, the same thing happened when I became a bit more accepting of pants once I hit fifth grade.

    Heh. My earliest memory is from when I was barely two (my mom was pregnant and was asking me if I wanted a brother or a sister). I remember pretty much all the crap from my early life.

    I don’t mind high heels, for myself. I don’t have problems walking in them, and I enjoy being even taller than I naturally am. When I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to be an adult and hated being treated like a child, therefore if I had seen heels aimed at eight-year-olds, I would’ve wanted a pair. Why I was like this, I don’t know, but I’m sure it had something to do with the patriarchy, I just can’t pinpoint it. I certainly wouldn’t want my hypothetical kids to be like that, though. You don’t get that time back.

  41. rootlesscosmo

    thongs (do Americans call them flip flops?)

    This is OT, but a nice regional (Southern Cal I think) name for these is “go-aheads,” because they’re almost impossible to back up in.

  42. Lar

    I think the large shoe collection issue has less to do with being a woman and more to do with capitalism/consumerism and this constant need to buy stuff. Case in point: most of my college roommates were guys (a very enlightening experience in itself, hah). Most of them had larger shoe collections than I did.
    I live in a city that sometimes passes 110 F in the summer, I have no car and I walk everywhere. So I have a very large flip-flop collection. Maybe it’s the heat and need for comfort, or maybe I’m just another addicted consumer… but I don’t think my flip-flop collection makes me less of a feminist.

    But I have to say that the Barbie doll was really creepy. Not very surprising, but creepy. And those baby shoes are bizarre. I feel very lucky that my mom never tried to humiliate me, cover me in sickening ruffles or make me the “sexiest” baby in the neighborhood. (as far back as I remember she would always pick out clothes for me that wouldn’t attract pedophiles – “weirdos” – as she would say, brilliant woman)

  43. Satsuma

    Jezebella, I’m not kidding. Just look at all those shoe stores, and the dozens of shoes women have in their closets, and the hours and hours they spend on this stuff.

    It is horrifying to behold in most major American cities. I guess women don’t really get that it is women who keep buying this clothing, and who keep feeding the fashion industry. All women have to do is STOP buying into this craziness and it would all end tomorrow. I’m not letting women in the malls off the hook on this one! Who is the buyer and why?

  44. Spiders

    Lar “I think the large shoe collection issue has less to do with being a woman and more to do with capitalism/consumerism”

    It does have a lot to do with consumerism but more specifically to do with women as consumers. We are recognised by the P as being important to capitalism for that reason.
    It used to be as domestic consumers of household appliances, then after the 70s revolution they had to come up with a new product for us to consume, hence the beauty industry.
    That’s also why we have the “women love to shop” myth. They have to tell us we love to shop so that we will in fact shop.

    Satsuma, I blame the patriarchy for it, not the women.

  45. Citizen Jane

    Ever seen the movie “In Her Shoes”? Don’t. It’s rubbish. But they had a good explanation for compulsive shoe-buying. The main character felt fat and ugly, so she kept buying sexy shoes so that she could look at her feet looking sexy. It was the only way she could feel non-ugly for a moment.

  46. katherine

    I went ahead, checked the links, and sent them some feedback, with apologies for not giving appropriate credit to Twisty and the rest ofyou (47 citations didn’t fit into the comment box):

    “Misogynist? Ageist? Who, you? Yes, you: female babies are people, not clowns for adult entertainment. I have never, ever written this kind of comment before but you just haven’t been using your heads here: you have no respect for these people who are merely powerless. You have taken Kinder-whoring to a new level. You probably think it’s cute to see six-year-old girls in thongs, too.

    Our daughters will never be free, and you’re making sure this useless piece of fetishwear adds to the burden of body-hatred and ridicule already carried by women everywhere: for BABIES. You are ageist and sexist and very, very sick.”

    Not strong eneough, I know, but it’s a small start.

    thanks for pointing it out.

  47. Jennifer-Ruth


    Did you see this new Barbie doll? Sigh…”

    Holy fuck – that’s not an S&M Barbie. That is a Black Canary Barbie! Wow – Dinah Lance does not look good as a Barbie doll…

    For those that don’t know, Black Canary is a character in DC Comics. She is one of the top martial artists in the DC Universe and could probably kick Batman’s ass. She has *muscles* and I swear she doesn’t look half as pornified as this in the comics (unless Ed “pornsick” Benes is drawing her).

    As for the baby “shoes” – sickening.

  48. Cassie

    Here’s a link from Melissa at Shakesville

    “Feminism 101: How are we supposed to take feminist bloggers seriously if they post about shoes?”


    I think it’s relevant to the “feminists shouldn’t like shoes or be frivolous” discussion.

  49. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Beyond the soft foofy things friends and relations knit or crochet for them, are shoes for infants necessary before they start trying to walk? Crap on a cracker.

    I like shoes. I have many pairs. In my own defense, I refuse to wear any that aren’t functionally comfortable. So most of mine would be considered “ugly”. I wears them proudfully.

  50. slythwolf

    Interestingly, if one were to put a pair of these on a male baby, one would probably be investigated for child abuse.

  51. Silence

    I have many pairs of shoes because I’m always searching for a type that will not give me blisters. Thus far, I have not succeeded. Not entirely. So I have to keep on searching and buying shoes.

    Needless to say, I go barefoot whenever possible. I’m still waiting for the day when it’s permissible to walk around in public wearing slippers.

    Seriously, why is that such a taboo? They protect your feet from the crud on the ground and they’re comfortable. What more can we possibly want in foot protection?

    Oh, right — not pornalicious enough. Gotcha.

  52. the baboon

    The gendering and objectification of children and babies is a relentless, relentless process that seems to take up about 90% of adult interactions with the young people. There’s just so much of a power differential that it’s easy for adults to accord young people no respect or personal dignity whatsoever.

    Not to mention that the adults have all been taught that physical “attractiveness” is the highest possible goal and so “compliments” on this subject are supposed to be positive information to impart.

  53. luxdancer

    >> Antoinette

    Babies aren’t supposed to be wearing shoes. Hard shoes, that is, as the common orthopedic consensus. They aren’t supposed to be walking around on the kind of terrain that would deem hard shoes necessary because most of the time they’d end up crawling in that muck anyway.

    When I see shit like this, it pisses me off that people can’t see how social gender roles are constructed. They insist that a toddler’s preference for certain toys must be a reflection of innate biological wiring rather than socialization. It’s like they can’t comprehend that a baby starts learning straight from when it pops out of the womb (and even before that, to some degree).

    Our ability to learn and adapt is our main evolutionary advantage. It’s like the fawn’s ability to (awkwardly) run hours after birth. Babies learn fast, they learn fast but indiscriminately because they need that information to survive the first years of childhood. They can’t yet understand that blue=boy, pink=girl is arbritrary; they assume it MUST be important (like life or death important) since their adult role models insist on it.


  54. Lar

    Fair enough, Spiders. I agree that capitalism and consumerism are definitely tools the patriarchy uses to oppress women (what *isn’t* a tool the patriarchy uses against women?) and that buying into the whole Sex and the City stiletto fetish idea is a stereotype that causes more irresponsible consumerism, which fuels the stereotype, the cycle continues…

    My point in the comment as a whole was to say that I don’t think, however, the amount of shoes a woman has makes her a “bad” feminist. Like a lot of other women have posted, my collection isn’t 50 “fuck me pumps.” Sometimes it just has to do with comfort or necessity (in my case 110 degree heat and having to walk everywhere) than overtly fueling the patriarchy’s abuse.

  55. Ermingarde

    In Projective Dream Analysis (warning, pedantry folows, I have a degree), having lots of shoes means that you are a spiritual seeker. Since the prevailing religion in this country (Christianity) suits women extremely ill, women are constantly searching for something that does fit. I have 74 pair. That said, I also agree completely with the blamer that said that high heels are considered sexy because they render a woman helpless and unable to run away. Thanks Twisty for your clear-sightedness, always.

  56. speedbudget

    Don’t forget that heels also require the body to shift to accommodate the awkward position one’s foot is required to take, thusly making the ass and tits protrude, accentuating the natural lordosis of the back.

    So not only are we hindered in our escape, our bodies are forced to shove some bits into the faces of the patriarchy that we would probably rather keep to ourselves.

    However, I too own many, many pair. Mainly because I don’t realize how excruciating the shoes are just wearing them around the store. I have to actually wear them for a day before I realize they are awful and return to the store to buy a new pair. BECAUSE YOU CAN’T EXCHANGE ONCE THEY’VE BEEN WORN OUTSIDE!

    IBTP, the bastards.

  57. CoolAunt

    Just looking at that photo turns my stomach because the thought that keeps running through my head is that the image has got to be at least one pedophile’s dream.

  58. Stella

    What the bewilderness said:

    “I think there are two reasons for all the shoes.
    One is that they never fit right so we are always searching for a pair that might be less painful than the pair we are currently wearing.

    “Another is that we are conditioned to find pleasure in the acquisition of new and different crap.”

    I used to argue with an abusive male partner about shoes. He could never understand why I had so many; and why I wore the same three pairs almost without exception; and why, when we would “go out”, I would always end up either whining or walking barefoot by the end of the night.

    You buy a pair of shoes. Unless you’re rich, you can’t buy relatively “comfortable” heels or “dress” shoes that are “stylish”. So you go through pair after pair of cheap, stylish, dressy shoes. Wear them once, bleed, put them back in the box. Of course, by the time you’ve worn them long enough to realize this, they are too scuffed up to possibly be returned. Vicious cycle.

    The solution is to wear high quality, well made, reasonable, comfortable (i.e. not “stylish”) shoes. At 5′ and age 29, I have finally realized that three inch heels neither make me look “better” or fool anyone into thinking I am taller.

    It’s a long road.

  59. em

    I’m with PhysioProf on the subject of Rotel, I was just like that at her age and lo, I’m a spinster aunt with the best of them.

    As for the shoes, well, it makes me want to cry. BTP is a better reaction, but I’m sort of worn down at the moment.

    Thank you for your outrage, Twisty. And for putting together a site where the outrage may gather.

  60. DaisyDeadhead

    I just had an amusing mental image of the baby taking one of those pricey shoes off, and … putting it in her mouth! (my kid chewed and slobbered on EVERYTHING)

    Of course, I guess people who can afford that stuff, wouldn’t mind an expensive designer shoe getting trashed.

    Let’s hope they progress to sensible shoes when the child learns to walk. Toddlerhood used to be a short reprieve from enforced gender-conformity, but I guess that’s a quaint relic of the past, huh?

  61. Amananta

    It’s easy enough to see why “women” have so many shoes, wear make up, etc. I will willingly use myself as an example.
    From birth I was taught to wear makeup and heels. I was given dolls with made up faces and feet bent permanently into the shope that fits into a high heeled shoe best and told repeatedly they were pretty and beautiful, and given a million different messages over my formative years that my main value was in my “prettiness” – a quality in which I was sadly lacking, according to those around me. By the time I was 12 I was convinced I was doomed to a life of miserable loneliness by my inherent ugliness and so began begging to be allowed to fix it. Makeup and dyed hair and otherwise “fixing myself up” were held up as the epitome of mature, adult behavior that I should strive for. Kids want to grow up and be seen as more mature, generally (partly because of how badly children are treated) so I did everything I could to appear more mature. I crammed my feet into pointy toed heels I could barely walk in, spent an hour applying make up every morning and got my hair permed. I WAS TWELVE. The adults around me approved of me in ways they’d never done so before when I did these things. I glowed under the attention. It was true that I also heard many disparaging comments about how girls and women were frivolous in their pursuits of these things, but the jokes also had an undertone of approval, of “well this is how you should be”. Me fitting into a feminine role won me a good deal of praise. My life was very short on praise otherwise.

  62. Roving Thundercloud

    I read someplace once that women like to shop for shoes because it’s less depressing than shopping for clothes, in that even though your body shape might change now and then, by and large your shoe size doesn’t. I hate my body as much as any well-conforming gal, but I also hate 99.5% of shoe designs–and yet I have several pairs. Mostly it seems to have to do with having to match my work outfits. I’m never organized or rich enough, but I’d love to just buy a work wardrobe all at once, all designed to match ONE pair of damned shoes. Whenever I’m not at work, I wear the same pair of creek-stompin’ sneakers day in and day out.

  63. speedbudget

    @ Roving:

    I found, through sheer dumb luck, a pair of reasonably comfortable “dressy” shoes at Kohl’s. They were cheap, and pretty cute, and they didn’t hurt!

    When I go shopping for suits now, I only buy suits that match those shoes, since I have noticed that I only like to wear them when I am schlepping about the town with the various tools of my trade. Luckily, my job does not require me to be in the same place with the same people more than usually twice a week, so I can get away with two or three decent suits and various T-shirts of differing colors to wear under them. So I know it can be done.

  64. Jezebella

    Seriously, go look in the nearest dude’s closet. I promise you he has more than four pairs of shoes. Amananta’s post just above, however, explains “what is it with women and shoes.”

    Satsuma, when you said that, you sounded *just like a dude* and I totally wanted to hoof you in the junk. It doesn’t sound any friendlier or any less condescending and sexist coming from a woman.

  65. Christopher


    Did you see this new Barbie doll? Sigh…

    A children’s doll dressed as a children’s cartoon character? Blasphemy!

    I dunno, Black Canary in the cartoons looks more likely to kick your head in then Barbie does, but isn’t that Barbie’s shtick? Isn’t she always an extra-pornified veterinarian or stewardess or renaissance faire attendee or something?

    Now she’s a more porny version of a superhero who pretty much dresses like any other woman superhero.

    Not that there’s not a million things wrong with this, it’s just that when I hear S&M Barbie I expect whips and chains and Ken in a gimp mask.

    This seems to be about exactly as bad as any other Barbie doll, from my perspective.

    As for the shoes, sweet cripes, what is wrong with people?

    Oh, and as for laughing at kids, I try to treat kids as respectfully as I’d treat anybody else. But from my own personal feelings, I think the thought process is, “I had to take all this crap when I was a kid, and now I finally have the opportunity to dish it out instead of being on the receiving end”.

    I think that’s a common sort of thought process for a lot of kinds of bullies; the relief of being the one in power instead of the oppressed one sort of overshadows the fact that your targets are chosen randomly.

    I try not to pull that crap on kids, but I’m still relieved to be an adult, and finally be in charge of the things around me.

  66. thebewilderness

    Criminy, Christopher, Here’s a troll house cookie. Please take it and go.

  67. Christopher

    Sorry, I was more annoyed with the Christians who call this particular doll awful. I should’ve been clearer. I still don’t think it’s exceptional; it’s just bad.

  68. Satsuma

    Amananta, I grew up under the same women objectifying rules re shoes, dolls, make-up etc., and completely rejected it all. It bored me, and I felt repulsed by it all.

    For the record, I have never worn make-up, never worn anything but very sensible shoes, and I believe this gave me a sense of power to fight back. While other women would put up with sexual harrassment, I hit back hard.

    I think that rejecting all of that garbage out of my own inner sense of self served me very well. I often think what this is really about is the straight female fear of upsetting the applecard.

    It doesn’t matter what the culture is or says, there is always the choice of freedom. Guess that’s why a Susan B. Anthony or a Mary Daly is rare in herstory.

    Women have just got to stop fueling the fashion industry, and take it back for their own self-respect and financial well being.

  69. Jezebella

    Satsuma, for a person claiming to be a woman, you distance yourself from the gender quite a lot – using “their” instead of “our,” for example. I get the distinct feeling that you think you are far superior to women in general, and more than a tad contemptuous. Your feminism lacks a certain je ne sais quois, hon, what some might call sisterhood and what others might call empathy.

  70. brainiac9

    1. Those baby shoes terrify me.

    2. Black Canary, what have they done to you?! It makes me so mad when a comic book character I love gets reduced to a sexy piece of plastic, when, for me at least, she is a dynamic, ass-kicking woman who is personality-wise as far from Barbie as you can get. http://www.superpouvoir.com/Team/Marv/Green_Arrow_Black_Canary_2.jpg – Barbie, unfortunately, can’t do action poses like that. More tragically, Barbie can’t wear those practical-yet-fabulous boots.

  71. CoolAunt

    Jezebella, that’s classic Satsuma. I’ve observed her at another radfem blog and woman-hating is her shtick. That and sucking up to the blog owner. And she can and does redefine her statements to make even Obama jealous.

    And Satsuma, I’m sure women in malls all over the country are shaking in their 4″ stilletos because you’re not letting them off of your hook. Whoopdeedoo.

  72. thebewilderness

    CoolAunt, I believe that I have been remiss in telling you lately how much I adorable you.

  73. Kay Em

    “Just looking at that photo turns my stomach because the thought that keeps running through my head is that the image has got to be at least one pedophile’s dream.”

    Me, too: http://www.oneangrygirl.net/outrage.html

  74. Falyne

    Why did I click the link to the Sun? I know better than that. I especially know better than to click on anything involving comments. Really, I do….

    Anybody seen the eyebleach around…?

  75. Rikibeth

    Antoinette, you’d think a baby who couldn’t walk would only need socks, but my daughter liked to pull her socks off, so we put her in lace-up booties that looked like tiny Converse sneakers. She couldn’t untie them, and her feet stayed warm in the winter.

    As for that Barbie, I didn’t know anything about the Black Canary, so my thought was “she looks as if she’s wearing what I do to go dancing, except she’s forgotten her SKIRT.” I own boots like that. They’re pretty much the only heeled shoes I ever wear — and they have a platform balancing the heel, so the net rise is relatively small, easier than dress pumps.

    The baby heels? Ugly, pointless, and as someone else mentioned, they’re just gonna get CHEWED on.

  76. Satsuma

    i’m not lacking in empathy Jezebella, I just don’t get this stuff and never have.

    It’s not fashionable to say that women do have buying choices, and we keep wondering about and debating this same issue of shoes going on some 30 years or more. It never seems to change.

    Call it my weak ankles as a kid, but just seeing women totter around on those things was strange to me. I felt creeped out by it as a four year old sitting on the sidewalk outside our apartment building, I felt creeped out by it in high school, and it still creeps me out today!

    I believe the statistic is that about 70% of the buying decisions in America are made by women. We have to get at what this is really all about.

    Someone farther up on this commentary (I’m scrolling but can’t seem to find it now)mentioned how she was given praise and validation for wearing all this stuff as a young girl. I’m convinced this must be a different brain structure in lesbian little girls as opposed to heterosexual little girls. So what is such a siren song to young women, to me seems absolutely boring and horrifying.
    I found all that fussing over “pretty little girls” nauseatingly condescending as a small child. So it had the opposite effect on me for some reason. This was way before feminism hit the newsstands, back in 1961 or 1962.

    I’ve always thought this, and even when I was a teenager, I wondered why peer group pressure had such power over girls and boys. I do feel very distant from heterosexual culture and norms; it’s a weird foreign country out there to me. It often makes me ill, as if it is a toxic waste dump of the soul just on the perpetual play list of patriarchy. Play that song again one more time…. :0

    Now some mother is going to buy those dumb little baby high heels and put them on baby girls’ feet. Men are not forcing women to go out and buy this stuff, they are evil in manufacturing it, and wanting to make a profit by marketing this garbage. The evil is the male manufacturing establishment, just as cigarette companies are evil for making their addictive products. That is a given! Maybe we just need more media awareness of just how the American public is conned and gullied by advertisting itself — both for men and women.

    Oddly enough, when I do talk to a lot of men about this, they actually seem indifferent about all this clothing and fashion nonsense. They often don’t get why it takes their wives hours to get ready for an event either.

    Is it women that are really showing off for other women? I guess it might be natural to want to show off now and then for others, but this fashion thing has been going down for hundreds of years. High heels have been around for a very long time, feminists have grown sick of this.

    The good news is that women claimed more clothing power and comfort in feminist battles. There are still vestages of women being made fun of for “non-traditional” clothing choices — e.g. men writing about the Hillary pantsuits ad infinitum ad nausem.

    When I see the income gap between men and women, and when I see the price increases for women’s clothing at the dry cleaner, and when I see a huge recession, and kids not being able to go to college, I wonder at the choices people make in buying anything. This goes for men and women. And maybe being in the entertainment capital of America, I just see this out of control more than most women. You really can see this feeding frenzy on Rodeo Dr. or at the malls, or at the fashion boutiques. How can women afford a $90 hair cut with coloring? And those salons are packed when I get my haircut, just packed to overflowing.

    Women, as 70% of the buyers, do have power to buy or not to buy. Just as they have the power to develop the mind or be mired in heteronormative clothing oppression. It just is, and no doubt this debate will continue well into the next century, as we reinvent the wheel of discourse yet one more time! One for the road :-)

  77. XtinaS


    I have many pairs of shoes because I’m always searching for a type that will not give me blisters. Thus far, I have not succeeded. Not entirely. So I have to keep on searching and buying shoes.

    I recommend, oddly, ballet slippers.  I had a pair for a long time, and they were fantastic for walking around as close to barefoot without being barefoot.  Plus I got a pair in black, so they matched my work clothes well.

  78. Jezebella

    Ah, Satsuma, I’d like to suggest that you not believe everything men say. Such as this:

    “Oddly enough, when I do talk to a lot of men about this, they actually seem indifferent about all this clothing and fashion nonsense. They often don’t get why it takes their wives hours to get ready for an event either.”

    Those guys are completely full of shit. They don’t “get it” because they think women should just look like barbie dolls with no effort. They “seem indifferent” but I note with interest that they are not dating or married to women who DON’T spend hours getting ready for events. So, they think it’s no big deal if women perform femininity or not, but their wives do so. And you *believe* them when they claim to be indifferent?

    Let me repeat: those guys are lying liars. If their wives stopped shaving, stopped wearing makeup, stopped dieting, and started throwing on jeans and a t-shirt to go to “events” they’d be whining
    that their wives “let themselves go” after marriage. Guaranteed.

  79. CoolAunt

    I’d like to suggest that you not believe everything men say.

    Tell me that I didn’t just read this in a discussion between two feminists. I thought Men Lie About Women was Feminism 101.

  80. Jezebella

    CoolAunt, I’m sorry you had to be witness to that. And I thought it was Feminism 101, too.

  81. diana ayala

    This is my first time on here and I’ve been reading several of the posts but I found this one the most interesting…I agree with what everyone said about the baby shoes..it is ridiculous and disgusting. But what I am more interested in are all these comments about women’s shoes. I think it is noteworthy that most women here are justifying the fact that they own shoes and stating excuses for owning more than one pair of shoes. I am 23 and although I am not a shoe lover, I do like high heels and nice shoes. I am more of a jeans person but I will wear high heels, even when I am alone. I do not think it is conforming to patriarchy because even though men are attracted to high heels and sexy shoes, I am NOT attracted to men and do not wear them to impress them. I like girls, but I do not wear heels to impress them either. My parents always taught me comfort and practicality over looks, but I just like high heels. Obviously I will not wear them if I am going to be walking long distances, but I will say that I feel 100% comfortable in them, all my heels are pretty comfortable. I know most will smirk at this, but I swear my feet do not hurt when walking in heels; I just make sure to pick out comfortable heels. What bothers me is that men do not go around making excuses for why they own x number of designer shoes or sunglasses or whatever. So why should we make it a point to excuse our shoe collection?

  82. Boreoboreo

    At 23 you can afford to cripple your feet, but by the time you get to be 53, well, talk to a reputable Chiropractor about high heels, or a podiatrist. Get the medical information on the long term affects of wearing high heels and what this does to women’s feet.

    I believe Chinese footbinding and Cinderella’s sisters squishing their feet into tiny shoes was once all the rage too.

  83. Kazuki

    Touche. You tell those bastards!

    I would not want my son/daughter to look like a whore either. And I’m all about self-expression. This is where we should draw the line. = (

    I also wouldn’t like any child to be shunned because they did or did not wear something they didn’t want to. (within reasonable guidelines anyhow)

    I digress as well. This is just horrid.

    Thanks for sharing.

  84. Megan

    I think less of us women are obsessed about shoes and clothes than we assume. (Maybe some of y’all get this idea from tv–I don’t watch tv anymore, so I am not really influenced by it like I used to be.) Most women I know, and apparently most women on this blog, like to look nice for themselves (as do I) and not for anybody else, and don’t spend all that much time doing so. And I’m certainly not going to look down my nose at or refuse to be friends with someone who does care more about clothes than I do. This is divisive thinking.

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