Red Heels and Feminism

Kaitlin - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on August 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in red shoes and feminism. They may seem like an odd pair of beliefs but red shoes and feminism have more in common than an initial overview may present. They are both misunderstood. My best friend is convinced my accumulation of crimson colored shoes is an outlet for a promiscuous nature lurking beneath a mild surface, my latent “hooker tendency.” Feminism also has a bad reputation, stereotyped as an overly aggressive man-hating demon that doesn’t fit with its true nature. They both make me feel strong. Perhaps it is shallow and materialistic, but I am empowered when I stand in a crowd in my fire engine red patent pumps. I wear feminism as well, it may not be visible, but what I have learned I wear like a Superwoman cape to get me through the day where I face unknown obstacles.

I believe in diversity of red shoes and feminism. Some days I feel like wearing my red pumps but other days I prefer my canvas boat shoes. I have ballet flats, Mary Janes, boat shoes, pump, kitten heels, flip flops, sneakers, and rain boots. But they are all bright fire engine unmistakably red. I believe in the need for feminism to be just as diverse. There are representations of all walks of life, different ethnic groups, classes, sexual orientations, and religious affiliations. But like my shoes united by their same hue, we are connected by our common womanhood, no matter how different that experience may be. I believe in that.

But most importantly I believe in the healing power of red shoes and feminism. Some days it seems like the entire world is against me and I have to fight every molecule of my body to succeed in accomplishing the most basic tasks like rolling out of bed. On those days I slip on my red shoes, even if they’re paired with sweat pants and an oversized T-shirt. The shoes never fail to elevate my mood better than a pint of ice cream or synthetic serotonin. They are the catalysts that begin the process of transforming my day from lost to self-loathing and pity to a productive one, if I choose to continue the process. Feminism is like the psychic equivalent of red shoes. In her essay “Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism” Suzanne Pharr writes “The third wave of the [feminist] movement, multi-racial and multi-issued, seeks the transformation of the world for all of us. We know that we won’t get there until everyone gets there; that we must move forward in a great strong line, hand in hand, not just a few at a time.” I believe that feminism seeks to end all the other isms that plague the world, racism, classism, ablism, sexism, etc, if only we would let it. It won’t do all the work, it’s just a catalyst and a tool to show how different things could be if changes are made to ensure a better more equal life for everyone. I happen to like a feminist world more, a world where people are paid equally, where violence does not exist, where discrimination does not occur. So I believe in red shoes and feminism because they both give me the courage to start making small changes which one day may make big changes for everyone.

Wouldn’t the world be a little bit better place if everyone could just slip on a pair of red shoes and feminism?