Shoe browsing isn’t what it used to be. There was a time when setting foot inside a shoe department brought me a degree of flimsy pleasure. No longer. Now when I set foot inside a shoe department, I find myself awash in a sea of sky-high, vinyl and leopard-print stilettos with platforms so thick that I may as well affix file cabinets to the bottom of my feet. Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention, exceptionally tall clown strippers convinced everyone that they are the ultimate embodiment of sexiness and good taste. Let’s talk about it.
The fumbling gender theorist in me sees the rise of the clown-stripper aesthetic as a likely indicator of one of several things: the undoing of feminism, the ultimate triumph of feminism, the increasing popularity of the circus, or maybe it’s just a shoe. The “it’s just a shoe” line of reasoning is particularly strong. But still, there’s something more interesting afoot, isn’t there? I’m reminded of the quote from Crazy Stupid Love when Ryan Gosling tells Steve Carell, “The war between the sexes is over; we won the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise.” Did they also win when women started wearing stripper-clown shoes that impaired their ability to stand upright? A post-feminist answer might be no, they didn’t win; we all won. But for some reason, “winner” isn’t the word that comes to mind when I see these shoes.
Ultimately, where clown-stripper fashion falls on the feminist scale isn’t for me to say. If teetering on the brink of collapse in sky-high heels and vinyl is what floats your boat, my sisters, I will support you. Literally, at least. I will be far more stable in my flats and Adidas—a good buttress to have nearby. As far as supporting your style choices—not a chance. We’re talking about clown-stripper shoes, remember?
The OneZ: WTF?
WTF? is a series dedicated to the trends that haunt our city streets and leave us with nothing else to say but “What the f#$%!?” While individuality is appreciated when it comes to personal style, WTF-committers may suffer from a lack of judgment with regard to taking risks. If you see a trend that leaves you saying “WTF?” please send a message care of the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.