A buddy sent me a meme yesterday from the Onion saying they were on the verge of collapse because it was becoming impossible to make up stuff that was more idiotic than current reality. It’s funny because we all know it’s true.
Much of the gold-medal wackiness is proudly generated by the create-your-own-gender folks under the guise of total normality. Last week I wrote about a journalist at the Washington Post who shared with us her sincere praise for two men who let their 2-year-old decide for the world what gender he/her/they would be. Goofy parents doing so is one thing. A major newspaper that pretends to take itself seriously reporting on it approvingly is something else altogether.
This week, our friends at the Daily Beast took it to another level, if that’s possible. Some would think their chosen topic is a “first-world problem” as the youngsters say today, but it’s not. It sits right at the intersection of high-fashion and basic human rights. What’s more serious than this?
Well, it’s this. They tell us more men are wearing, not just high-heels which is so yesterday, but stilettos. I’m clearly not paying adequate attention to the trends, or perhaps it’s just the conservative Christian bubble I live in. I should get out more.
The title and sub-title of the piece are worth showing you.
You see, the problem is summed up in this quote.
“The only way you could get proper stilettos as a man was if you got them custom-made.”
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This unfortunate fact is expressed by Shaobo Han who realized he looked great in heels at the tender age of 11. That’s when he took his momma’s high heels and started, as he explains, “prancing around the house when no one was around.” If a boy is going to prance, I say he should do so in heels. You see Shaobo thought, incorrectly the story explains, “that boys weren’t supposed to wear heels.” Thus, the shame of his home-alone risky-business. Shaobo explains his “male-presenting friends” all have the same collective memory that “even though nobody taught us how to wear heels, we all tried them.” The implication we’re supposed to pick up here is it’s all ok because its natural. No one taught them to do it.
Shaobo got his first pair of very own heels at Forever 21. He said he was lucky because his size is a men’s 8, which is a woman’s 10. That is lucky! Look at him.
Who could deny that Shaobo was made for heels and heels were made for Shaobo? He’s absolutely faaaabulous in these sling-backs. If wearing heels is wrong, Shaobo doesn’t want to be right. And seriously, who would really want him to? He’d look simply ridiculous in anything else.
However, there are some serious problems with this growing men’s market. They’re not what you think.
As cutting-edge and progressive as the high-fashion world of women’s shoes is, they harbor a terrible prejudice against, not only white men, but all men. It’s just wrong, as if they would just rather ignore that fact that a man can love how great a pair of indigo peek-a-boo Christian Louboutins make his legs look as much as any woman. But who wants to live in a world where a 6 foot, 210 pound man can’t find a decent pair of pumps that don’t pinch and still do right by his calves? The male customer has unique needs because, as we are told, “Males who experiment with heels generally do it much later in life than most women do.”
Thus, the well-stilettoed man needs more retailers to meet his unique needs. But there might be nefarious intentions lurking behind some of those looking to fill this empty space and this creates a confounding Catch-22. One of these men frets that while we certainly need more places that cater to the male-presenting woman’s shoe demographic, “we’re afraid that the mainstream industry sees us as a money opportunity.” The horror! Has he checked the price of women’s shoes? He’s not alone though in his fear. William Graper (as seen below) is terrified that he “can’t tell if major brands are authentically embracing queerness, or simply exploiting it in their branding to make a profit.”
The potential tragedy is that “such commercialization [could] corrupt what small, queer-owned brands have done in promoting inclusivity for inclusivity’s sake?” Apparently, one of the most important things about promoting inclusiveness is keeping it exclusive.
Fortunately, “Such appropriation hasn’t come for the stiletto world yet, but it could be just a matter of time before Big Fashion comes for men’s heels with dollar signs in its eyes” the article predicts. The answer to this dilemma seems simple. Have the national big-box retailers give today’s stiletto-wearing man greater and easier access to satisfy his fashion needs, but just don’t charge him. Doing so, while of course continuing to charge women crazy prices, would communicate that their motivation is clearly gender equality and not economics.
The article worries that this dream might not ever be truly realized as long as the following is true,
“Even in New York, a city where you can openly sob on the subway and be left alone, people will openly gawk over a man in heels.”
Even in New York City!