Jan 27 2009

Spinster aunt dies a little inside

Women with a low opinion of ankles shimmy for the gold in a race event broadcast on Finnish TV. Photo originally uploaded by vestman with some rights reserved.

Will the global appetite for stiletto-racing never be sated?

Quoth a Flickr commenter, apparently without irony: “This is one of the most joyous photos I have ever seen.”

[Thanks, Maren]


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  1. Feminist Avatar

    It’s kind of impressive, tho. I couldn’t walk, let alone run in those shoes.

  2. Hollywood Marie

    This reminds me of that new commercial for “Last Stiletto Mascara.” This mascara purports to be, “The only mascara that does for lashes what stilettos do for legs.” I thought they meant permanently damage them, which I guess both do, but apparently they make them look longer. I guess the new style of lashes is no longer “plump” or “thick,” but now “long” and “slender.” I’m sure this will inspire millions of girls and women everywhere to ask desperately, “does this mascara make my eye lashes look fat?” Sad. As is this picture.

  3. CLD

    Shoes aside; how does one run in a disgusting, day-glow pink bride’s maid gown? (Or a little, black dress for that matter)

  4. Jade

    Marie, that Last Stiletto Mascara commercial makes no sense to me either. My initial reaction to the damn thing was to imagine my eyelashes replaced with tiny legs instead, flexing at the knee as I blink.

    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intended goal.

  5. Kerry

    you might have died inside… I just died laughing.

  6. yttik

    Lately some local women and I have been having a bit of competition to see who can wear the ugliest shoes. Not just ugly, but extremely comfortable. It came about one day when when a comment was overheard at a soccer game, “isn’t she wearing the most unfuc&able shoes you have ever seen?” Needless to say, every one of us mothers unconsciously looked down at out own feet in horror. But it was funny because we all caught each other doing it and burst out laughing. Now when we pass in the grocery store we exchange footwear comments. “Crocs with fuzzy chenille socks.” “Rubber boots with little bunnies on them and electric foot warmers.” “Broken down flats with two pairs of unmatching wool socks.” I still get smile when somebody waves at me with their foot from across the street.

    Women sure have a long and painful history with footwear. Or I wish it was history.

  7. Veganrampage

    Gee whillikers can you plaster a number on me too while I race
    teetering to my own slaughter pretty please?

  8. thebewilderness

    Knee replacement surgery.

  9. Ala

    Ah, those fabulous Finnish fembot folk in their fast footwear. They never fail to activate my gag reflex. What are they running towards? Stiletto mascara, no doubt.

  10. Hollywood Marie

    Oops! Sorry for missing this typo: The product is called “LASH Stiletto Mascara” not “LAST…”

  11. Orange

    My face seized up in a frowny cringe when I saw that photo.

    yttik, my shoes and I would be very comfortable in your footwear community.

  12. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    Is Dr. Isis somewhere in that pack?

  13. Citizen Jane

    Oh my God, it seems that they saw the Smack the Pony sketch and apparently took it a little too seriously.

  14. Shira

    I just don’t understand how anyone who calls themself a human being can look at those monstrosities this culture continues to call shoes, and not be immediately bludgeoned by two simultaneous thoughts: “OH MY GOOD GREEN GOD OW! They must have lightening bolts of pain up their sciatic nerve with every step!” and “Why do we torture women like this!”

    For chrissakes, it’s like if you got the guy who invented iron maidens to design helmets, or if female rock climbers had to wear gloves inspired by Jesus. Or if “professional” office wear for women who do a lot of typing involved special bracelets that forced the wrist into an unnatural position – and women were just expected to type(and do everything else) like that.

    I’m sure we’d have people who’d defend the bracelettes (spelled like such for extra femininity!), talk about how pretty they were and how empowerfulized it made them feel to be able to choose to wear these nerve-destroying braces. There’d be pictures like the one topping this post of female athletes who compete wearing these ridiculous braces – of gymnasts competing in bracelettes and tutus.

    And there’d be people decrying the evil feminazis for daring to suggest that maybe bracelettes are a torture-device of the patriarchy defined to incapacitate women in their day to day lives, remove their ability to defend themselves, cause them pain, and ultimately disable them. But at the same time, once a woman becomes disabled, the culture would gather round to judge the stupid woman for her disabling vanity. And despite all that, you’d have women cutting off fingers to fit into the fanciest bracelettes.

    God, I hope the patriarchy never finds my post. I’ve given it too many ideas already.

  15. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    My dad, of all people, gave me amazingly sensible information regarding footwear when I was younger and prone to foolishness. He warned me not to mess up my feet with cheap or uncomfortable shoes because I’d regret it later on. A lot of my father’s wisdom didn’t stick, but this particular pearl did. Thanks, Dad!

  16. Twisty

    “once a woman becomes disabled, the culture would gather round to judge the stupid woman for her disabling vanity.”

    Like we do whenever we see a botched boob job, or Cher.

  17. Elizabeth

    The high heel race that I’m most familiar with is the one for drag queens in Dupont Circle (Washington DC) right before Halloween each year. I think they’re crazy, but I don’t think I can blame the patriarchy for it.

  18. Hedgepig

    Elizabeth, you raise an interesting point about drag queens. Can we blame the patriarchy for them? I suspect we can. One of the last sensible things Germaine Greer said was that it was typical that women are expected to happily refer to certain men with the female pronouns “she” and “her” just because those men have decided they want to pretend to be women. Imagine if women dressed up as men and insisted that men refer to them as “he”. I think it would be a case of “show us your dick first, bitch”. I don’t want to share our hard earned pronouns with people who haven’t earned them. Sure, if I meet a bloke who has been conditioned from birth exactly as girls are, then I might consider sharing.
    Just a slightly off-topic rant there, probably brought on by this hideous heatwave.

  19. Jezebella

    I find I can blame the patriarchy for almost everything, including drag queen stiletto races. Those dudes wouldn’t be running around in stilettos for shits-and-grins if women weren’t being pressured to do it every single day.

  20. lauredhel

    “Crocs with fuzzy chenille socks.”

    Ah, I had to laugh. The shoes that get the most wear in my wardrobe right now are Crocs and a pair of Grosby “boys” school sandals that I just discovered (these). In less warm weather, it’s Chucks, Doc mary janes, or sneakers. I have flat refused to wear heels my entire life. Highest shoe I’ve ever owned was maybe an inch and a half, and I think I wore those two or three times, ever.

  21. julezyme

    Why? Why would they do this? Why would anyone do this???

    I wore 3.5″ heels to my wedding(s) because my Nigel is almost a foot taller than me and I wanted our heads to both appear in the frame when we had pictures taken. As a result of this, I’m pretty sure I got a stress fracture in my ankle which did not stop hurting for several months.

    Running = running shoes. Stiletto heels = not for running. Period.

  22. malfeasanceses

    Hedgepig – How about drag kings? Some women dress up as men and ask to be referred to with male pronouns. Of course, plenty of men DO act like asses about it, but it’s not like those dudes are any kind of ally to the non-gender-conforming of any persuasion.

    Nice dig at transwomen there.

  23. Hedgepig

    malfeasanceses (may I call you mal?) My impression is that mainstream culture has a pretty high awareness now of male-female cross-dressing, to the point where it seems to be considered rude to insist on referring to men who want to be women as “he”. I haven’t even heard of drag kings, let alone seen them on TV (where we get most of our information about how we should behave towards people we probably won’t ever meet). This is just my personal experience, of course. My feeling is that drag kings probably wouldn’t enjoy societal consensus that it would be rude/insensitive not to refer to them as “he”.
    I don’t think this is a hugely burning issue, it’s just another example of male privilege (men can insist that women accept them as women if that’s what men want). It really stuck in my mind because until I read Greer’s take on it it hadn’t even occurred to me that I might have a right to say “no I don’t want to share my gender’s pronoun with people who are not of my gender.” I wonder what else hasn’t yet occurred to me.

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