11 September, 2010

On Being A Girl Who Loves Shoes

As I tucked my new suede heels into their little box this morning a thought occurred to me- I am being defined by my obsession with shoes. People see ridiculous footwear and immediately think of me. While this doesn't bother me one bit (keep 'em coming!), I wonder if my choice of profession has finally defined me as the thing I dread most: "A Girl".

Being called "a girl" isn't something I've ever taken pride in. I never wanted to be grouped in with other girls as a child, and most of my best friends were boys (who I suspect turned out to be gay, in the end). As I've gotten older, I've begun to both embrace and loathe all the trappings of being female. I love a night with boys eating steak, gawking at girls, and playing video games. I am not squeamish about blood or real life gore, yet scary and violent movies make me hide my eyes like a child. I freely admit that I am a sex fiend who likes offensive humour and reads comics. I wear my scars with pride, but worry that I always look a little tired and a little chubby. One day I might be working with the table saw and the next I might be trying on latex clothing, obsessing over shoes and expensive lingerie, or hunting for a new eye shadow. As a liberated female who proudly calls herself a slut and doesn't abide by standard rules for feminine looks or behaviour, why do I feel like less of a person for being a girl obsessed with designing shoes?

Does a huge shoe collection mean I should be taken less seriously as a person? Does it mean my head is empty of any real thoughts? I worry that is the impression people will have of me as I approach Imelda Marcos levels of shoe ownership.

In my own defense, I am not sitting around drawing strappy "sexy" stiletto heels. I hate that shit. The sorts of things I design have weight to them. I want to work in unusual metals, wood, plastics, and rubber as well as the traditional leathers. Making shoes by hand involves a lot of industrial machines, hammering, toxic glues, and decidedly ungirly tools.

Now, having said that, why do I feel I need to "defend" myself against being considered a girl? Do *I* think girls that are obsessed with shoes should be taken less seriously?Do I see people who like fashion and makeup as empty-headed fleshlights on legs? Am I a female chauvinist pig who thinks that I gain power and sexual desirability by being one of the boys? (Which in turn means that this is all about showing off to get a boy's attention- something decidedly girly.) Perhaps I am the feminist's worst nightmare.

I truly believe that the whole point of feminism is that a woman can be however she wants to be, yet here I am judging myself for having feminine traits and interests such as shoes.

I have no answers yet, just lots of thoughts.


lipsticklori said...

Women shouldn't revel in or be afraid of "being girly", we should just be ourselves. If that means liking shoes, then so be it. Just remember, your fondness for shoes isn't because of an obsession with Sex and the City and/or women's magazines - you like shoes because they're little pieces of wearable sculpture. If you don't listen to what others tell you to be, then you're a better feminist than some who shout about it louder, I can tell you :-)

mrpeenee said...

That's just what I was thinking, but lipsticklori said it better, so I'll just nod my head and agree.