Read Bad Shoes & The Women Who Love Them
by Leora Tanenbaum
, illustrated by Vanessa Davis
, which looked interesting on the new books shelf at the library.
I have this fondness for books about basically frivolous pop-cultural tangents which also happen to treat them like very serious academic business, and while this isn't quite one of those, it does have a set of lovingly commented and cited footnote references in the back which wouldn't disgrace a university press edition.
A fun mix of history of usage & sexual meaning & cultural pressures of & medical objections (even as far back as the 1700s, when apparently men created the current fashion) to high-heeled shoes, plus some trivia and personal anecdotes and tips on shopping for heels that won't kill your feet (I skipped this part as Not Being Relevant to My Interests), plus some truly scary stories about what women allow people to do to their feet in order to make them look "nice" (dear god, why would you pay someone to remove some of the bones from your toes?!
I should note that that last bit was about modern surgical options and there's an entirely separate chapter devoted to Chinese foot-binding.
A nice, fluffy (except for the surgical horror stories) light read with a lot of interesting references in the back I might follow up upon, and which makes me profoundly glad that I don't have to wear the damn things and am unlikely to ever voluntarily do so. Especially since they apparently not only deform your feet over time, but routinely cause knee and back injuries that can lead to unfixable chronic pain.
Also, it seems mildly weird, but the implication was that US people wear shoes indoors as a matter of course ("wear flat shoes with good arch support at home when not entertaining")?
I can understand if people live in rural environments with dirt floors and scorpions or in crack shacks with needles on the floor, but in reasonably clean suburban areas, doesn't that track filth all over the wall-to-wall carpeting?