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Fashion Veils Western Women, Too

The new Elle Accessories includes an article about how to make the transition from heels to spring flats. If you usually wear heels, Elle says, the tendons in the ankles and feet will have been shortened, thereby making flat soles … Read More

By / April 19, 2007

The new Elle Accessories includes an article about how to make the transition from heels to spring flats. If you usually wear heels, Elle says, the tendons in the ankles and feet will have been shortened, thereby making flat soles painful. Foot pilates is a great solution for this, though!

We all know cankles look even more cankle-y in flats. But liposuction will ready yours for flip-flops, as can a new injection that dissolves unwanted ankle fat inside the body. A great way to reduce bruising!

But neither flats nor heels are orthopedically ideal, says a foot surgeon on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Neither provide the support needed for healthy feet.

Why does Elle not offer the most obvious solution: Sneakers? Or any other shoe with an actual sole that isn't heinous?

Because pain is fashion. From compressed tendons to surgery–fashionable footwear is today's voluntary foot binding. (See also this New York Times article about women developing back problems from lugging over-sized–but stylish!–handbags.)

Isn't it deliciously opressive in a way?

As handbags, heel height, and trends push extremes, we must ponder where they're headed in all their painful and opressive glory. The Walrus amusingly likens these extremes to niqabs, veils worn by Muslim women:

Western women have their version of veils as well. Let us project these into the near future and imagine how Islamic cultural scholars might interpret the ruthless orthodoxy of high fashion, the pressure to expose the flesh,and the curious body coverings (and uncoverings) of the secular, middle-class, North American professional woman.

The projections include the "Birknah":

In the evolution of the handbag, it’s not clear when animalskin pouches for carrying personal items began to signal status and self-worth for Western women — the classic Birkin Bag, for example, now starts at $8,000 — but the trend dates back at least three decades. This drift toward handbag extremism has resulted in the Birkinah, a purse that covers the entire female body, with zippered slits for the eyes.

The "Spraysakka or 'Golden Veil' ":

Followers of this Western body-worshipping sect gather in a kind of mosque known as a “tanning salon,” where they submit to ritual immersion in a reddish-brown pigment that is sprayed under high pressure over the entire body. When the spraying is completed, the woman looks like a piece of fruit leather…

And the "Blahnikador":

Also known as the “full-body stiletto,” the Blahnikador is an ornate, metre-high, two-legged pedestal, with an open-toe design. This places the woman on a hijanah, or “hopping platform.” Women living on this admittedly stunning platform must nevertheless hoist themselves forward in a lurching gait that has been tagged “nik-nakking.”

Got any more ideas?

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