Finally, a shoe company is using vagina marketing to leverage women’s UAEW (universally acknowledged essential weirdness) into profits! Behold the little insert I found in the box containing my new pair of Merrell hiking shoes.
This riveting brochure explains that “women move differently than men.” This differentude, implies the brochure, is because of a deformity afflicting the entire sex class: “wider hips and a lower center of gravity.” Or, in clinical terms, “cooties.” According to Merrell this deformity is measured by “something called a Q-Angle.”
The red lines in the illustration show just how naturally fucked up women are in terms of our godawful Q-angle. This congenital fucked uppedness, says the brochure, causes women to “[alter] the natural pattern of movement” which “ultimately results in discomfort and pain.” That’s right. Women can’t even walk right. We can’t manage a “natural pattern of movement.” We’re debilitated by female physiology. We need help.
The rest of insert explains how Merrell shoes address women’s flagrantly abnormal kinesiology with — what else — scientifically designed red spots in the soles.
So you can’t even buy a pair of ugly-ass unisex hiking shoes without being told how different you are from the default standard human? You’re supposed to be grateful to Merrell for pointing out your freakishness, because after they explain what’s wrong with you, they let you know they got your back? “It’s about time,” says the brochure in a conspiratorial women’s magazine tone, “shoes started conforming to women.” That’ll be $89.95, you freak of nature.
Up top, Merrell!
I’m not saying, by the way, that Q-angle really isn’t a thing, because it is. I looked it up in Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics, and what a gripping read it was. Q-angle is determined by the angle of the patella relative to the tibial tubercle and anterior superior iliac spine. In other words, it describes how knock-kneed you are.
But get this: a 1983 study found that the normal angle for dudes is 14 degrees, and for women, 17 degrees. Plus or minus 3 degrees. So a normal dude can have a 17 degree Q-angle, and a normal woman can have a 14-degree Q-angle. All this “difference” is only a matter of 3 degrees, and some overlap between the sexes is likely, and it’s all normal. When you consider that there are 360 degrees total, 3 degrees hardly seems worth mentioning, which is probably why Merrell doesn’t. Merrell also neglects to mention that the biomechanics of the knee are further influenced by other stuff, such as the length of the patellar tendon, and whether you blew out your ACL when vaulting off a rearing horse.
All I’m saying is, any claim that a mass-produced, off-the-shelf sport shoe with randomly placed red spots can solve “discomfort” associated with normal physiology is just stupid. And in this case, fucking sexist.
The shoes, incidentally, gave me a blister.