The male hat seems to be primarily a male affair. Shoe fetishism is quite another thing: the widespread insatiability of women as far as shoes are concerned and the male fantasy in this respect, seem to be complementary.
No feminist can argue a case for male shoe fetishism: the triggering of shoe voraciousness which is obliging many women to continuously buy new shoes. And no man will deny that nymphomania may have to do with men having done something to the women concerned. Curiously enough, many women buy precisely those kinds of shoes which feminism, in its by now wild variety of versions, has been severely criticising, claiming for instance that precisely this kind of shoes has expressly been invented by men, to deny women their escape from the male species hunting her: high-heeled shoes.
That many men do indeed have these shoe-fantasies seems to have become an accepted fact amongst psychiatrists. Not so much those abhorred fantasies of women being caged by their high-heeled shoes, as the ever-returning image of the female calf which, thanks to those high heels, will show a stunning tension in its muscles, a curving, perspectival pointer indicating higher heavens of the female body – thus sexually exciting.
What surely must be called a fetish, this fantasy of steep, high-heeled shoes may acquire far-reaching forms and proportions. Consider, for instance, Hans Bellmer’s obscene drawing of the contours of a shoe with a stiletto heel, which coincides with the generous contours of a woman, bending over, thus showing the observer her arse. Or another Bellmer picture, once more showing the artist fascinated by the connection between the female body and the shoe:
Woman plus Shoe, an intriguing combination. Balancing on her high heels, she goes through life with her hips swinging, thus more especially Woman. Instinctively, her now seemingly broader hips refer the male mind to her unique capacity of child bearing and giving birth.
That in the very same movement this also gives her an extra dose of sex appeal is what feminists do not like, the ass becoming a fetish considered to be the orphaned reduction of all that she also is to that ass, in fact separating her true self from her ass. This, even though women who like to wear high heels might tell you they might win the marathon on them. And the next day another one… Thus, Sarah Jessica Parker.
What I once coined as postmodern shoppism, the acquisition of things for the sheer reason of the buying, all utilitarian use value of the commodity disappearing in the act of its acquisition, quite often turns on shoes. The moment, Keira Knightley saw a pair of such stiletto shoes she simply felt the need to possess them, even though they did not fit. Subsequently she placed them on the mantel piece. Agreed – this might still be considered practicing a kind of utilitarianism aesthetics.
However, consider this: Research has uncovered the fact that many female shoppist addicts go out hunting especially for shoes, then – after having come home – not to op the bag with inside the shoe box, but to place the unopened bag in a special little room for this very purpose, in which are waiting the newcomer a series of other unopened bags with shoes.
Thus, not only is Woman a riddle to Man, she quite often is a mystery to Herself – insoluble. Was will das Weib? – Arthur Schopenhauer’s famous, if not infamous question. The answer is obvious: Shoes! Perhaps even shoes-as-such, disconnected from their use, as the male shoe fetish seems to be disengaged from the women he purports to love. Perhaps, it was even that German philosopher’s name which made me invent the neologism of shoppism.
Is the hypothesis too far-fetched when I suggest that – with in our mind’s eye Bellmer’s drawing of the shoe contours coinciding with those of a woman sitting on her heels – that the shoe-shopping woman is in fact collecting herself? An ellipsis it would be, with its two centres – Woman and Shoe.
My former wife has, as she herself has always been claiming, an ideal shoe size. Thus, on French brocantes she finds used pair after used pair of great shoes in perfect condition as, by the way, she finds new pair after new pair during Dutch bargain sales. Irresistible they obviously are – and she has only worn perhaps three pairs of them ever.
Sierksma La Roche, May 2021