Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

Peeping Bottoms: Confessions of a ‘shoe porn’ addict

shoes-main Women have been fixated by shoes, by high heels in particular
Written by Namrata Zakaria 2 | New Delhi | Posted: August 6, 2014 11:42 am

A decade or so ago, I would have had a serious problem. Carrie Bradshaw, Imelda Marcos and me. And countless other women across the world obsessed with a sliver of leather on their feet.

Women have been fixated by shoes, by high heels in particular. Reams have been researched on the air of confidence a pair of stilettos are known to induce. Heels are authoritative and aggressive, coquettish and coy, seductive and sexual.

In these times of Instagram, our shoe fetish takes in a whole new meaning. ‘Shoe porn’ is an apt moniker for women (and a few ladylike men) posting pictures of their footwear, or the shod feet of those around them. It’s quite delicious really, to see the most colourful, crazy, chic and seriously cool shoes every few hours a day. I confess I am addicted.

It all began with my own fetish. Every time I bought a new pair, I posted it online for feedback. When my only pair of (rather old) sneakers gave way last week, a serendipitous new acquisition — lace-less fuchsia Pumas — was shared. When it rained cats, dogs and a small zoo last week, my faithful gold Melissas were fished out and shown off.

I soon discovered I was among a growing ocean of people sharing their deepest darkest indulgences — they were sharing their soles. ‘Shoes about town’, ‘Shoe fetishism’ and ‘The Shoe Gawker’ are popular Instagram blogs. ‘Shoe Addicts’ is an Instagram-like app that is quite the rage.
The online revolution isn’t only dedicated to heels. Sure, there are enough pumps, strappies and peep-toes around, but the new craze for sneakers sees a pair of winged Converse as revered as hand-beaded Christian Dior. Pointy flats and Roman sandals are having their moment too. As is the humble flip-flop (aye to Havaianas, never to Fit-Flop), making this an interesting direction.

The thing is, shoes have always been looked at with suspicion. In advertising, films and popular culture, they are evil sexual provocateurs. Shoe fetishism is a real medical condition, called by Wikipedia as a “psychosexual” condition. In the film Something About Mary, one of Cameron Diaz’s suitors steals her shoes. Pedro Almodovar’s women often wear espadrilles, the opening scene of Volver shows Penelope Cruz’s feet from under a bed. In Central Europe of the 19th century, young men drank champagne from their girlfriends’ shoes, giving bootlegging a whole new turn.

On another side, they are considered unclean and unacceptable in polite society. In traditions like ours, we don’t gift shoes for this reason. Shoes have to be removed at the time of prayer. They’re often flung at politicians we don’t like. (Although I’m quite Gandhian about this, I’ll offer you to address the other foot too.)

Blame it on the rains, but what one wears in this horribly wet weather is of great concern to me. I lost a favourite pair to the rain gods last year. And continued…

comments powered by Disqus