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The assorted meanderings, rantings, and pontifications of... us!

Topics may include, but will not be limited to: feminism, hockey, atheism, shoes, politics, fat acceptance, fitness, skepticism, dancing, introversion/HSP issues, and anything else that happens to be on my mind.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Birkenstocks Cause Feminism: Causality in Odd Directions



A minor example of odd causality in my life: Rather than develop a taste for beer while watching hockey games, I developed a taste for hockey as a result of the fact that it's an opportunity for beer. And now it's generalizing over to football. I swear I will purchase a sword for the sole purpose of falling on it should I discover I also enjoy drinking beer and watching baseball or golf.

And the major example: Birkenstocks cause feminism.

At one time I was one of those tough young women who didn't need feminism because I had certainly never been stepped on by the patriarchy, because I was too good to let the turkeys get me down. Feminism, to me, was just for poor women, and women in developing nations.

And at the same time I had this incredible shoe fixation. It was partially because I was into dancing, and of course if you dance you need shoes, and you're always searching for that pair that's exactly right, and all the imperfect ones just accumulate. The other part was that shoes tied really heavily into my gender identity. As a fat chick, there really wasn't (still isn't, although it's slowly getting better) much I could find to wear that would express my femininity beyond "liker of sequined appliqued sack-dresses", and the only thing I could find to wear that said vixen like I wanted it to was shoes. Sexy, high-heeled shoes. Ankle-breaking, stilletto, fuck-me shoes. I took a lot of pride that I could walk (and run backwards and spin) my fat ass around in scary heels around the wobbling skinny women.

The fall came when all the running around in nasty heels caused an old knee injury to get worse and worse, eventually requiring surgery. And after the surgery I couldn't wear heels any more, because I'd lost the muscle tone necessary to keep my balance, not to mention that I couldn't handle the strain it put on my reconstructed knee. I took it really hard, and spent a lot of time and money trying to find femmey shoes that I could also walk in. Or wearing ones I couldn't really walk in, and taking a lot of pain medicine. And I thought this was OK!

I got my Birkenstocks, if you'll believe this, to please a man. Sardeth had to wheedle at me for close to two years before I'd even consider it (he thinks Birks are hott). But I was not going to wear ugly shoes and that was final. When we finally went to the Birkenstock store (I caved in to shut him up and because he was paying) I did some hardcore distancing myself from anything hippie. I wore a frilly little sundress and sparkly heels and lots of whiny attitude, as if the sandals were going to send butch-rays up my legs and grow out my armpit hair or something.

And then the day the Birkenstocks finally broke in, I was like Saul on the road to Tarsus. What the fuck had I been doing to myself and why and for whom?

Since B-day, I've re-evaluated a lot of stuff about my self, my identity as a woman, my actual place in society as opposed to my ideal place, how much worse it is for women who didn't get the breaks I did, and come out at least an intermediate patriarchy blamer (I hope).

9 Comments:

Blogger Emmy said...

Love the post - those are the very same birkenstocks that caused my feminism! I'm on my third pair now :)

8:24 AM

 
Anonymous candace said...

Found you via gendergeek.org and glad to find a fellow voice from Canada!

I really enjoyed this post - I always wonder what brings people to feminism and what keeps them here. Hooray for the birks and I hope your knee stops aching now.

Candace

6:55 AM

 
Blogger The Happy Feminist said...

This post is featured at the Carnival of Feminists at
http://happyfeminist.typepad.com/happyfeminist/2005/12/holly_at_self_p.html

2:18 PM

 
Blogger Lina said...

Really enjoyed that post, very funny and thought-provoking. Love how something so simple could cause such a radical change!

2:25 PM

 
Anonymous Antonella said...

Great post!
You know, I was never able to walk on high heel shoes, and there is nothing wrong with my knees. Just pure lack of skills...

7:28 PM

 
Blogger T. Comfyshoes said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by everybody - I'm honoured to be part of the carnival, and glad you enjoyed :-)

9:30 PM

 
Blogger Maia said...

I loved all the posts in the feminist carnival that talked about how and why people became feminists - but this was my favourite.

3:34 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't even know there was muscle tone involved in balancing on high heels -- I've just never been able to do it. But after decades of not wearing heels of any height, the whole idea seems so bizarre, I can't even imagine trying.

5:52 PM

 
Anonymous penis growth pills said...

Feminism is one of the most unuseful movement in our society.

3:57 PM

 

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