Discrimination against large feet. Sizeism?
‘Bata’ was a shoe company in Nigeria when I was growing up. Most of us who went to school in Nigeria in the ’70’s and 80’s had our school shoes bought from Bata. To say they weren’t the most flattering footwear would be a gross understatement. Apparently the company still exists in some parts of the world and they have an online shop. If like me you wonder if it still make those ugly shoes, Google it!
‘Bata’ became common usage for the word ‘shoes’ in the western part of the country. Anyway I tried to find a word that meant lover of shoes but couldn’t. The word for ‘lover of’ in English, originally from Greek, is ‘phile.’ So in my usual fashion and with my poetic licence, I put the two together to make ‘bataphile’ meaning ‘lover of shoes’.
So I told you I don’t enjoy shopping much here but I am a ‘bataphile’. I do love shoes and am able to overcome my dislike for shopping just to get some.
There’s just something about pretty shoes that does it for me. They serve the practical purpose of protecting your feet. Ok, I have to admit that there are some styles that do more harm than good but I’m not referring to those. Shoes have the innate ability to dress an outfit up or down. They are great morale boosters and they make feet look good, even ‘ugly’ feet.
I love shoes. Different types of shoes. Great trainers for functional reasons not necessarily for aesthetics, strappy high-heeled sandals, court shoes, ballerina pumps, flat sandals, roman/gladiator sandals, slippers etc. I love them all. I wish I could afford to buy a pair of each style in every colour.
The reason for this post wasn’t necessarily to let you know about my love of shoes but to gripe about something else.
Could someone please enlighten me why it is that a lot of shoe manufacturers feel that it’s not worth bothering with anyone with feet larger than a UK size 8 (US size 10)? And why do the selective few who deign to make shoes in larger sizes reckon that people with larger feet can surely not possess any appreciation for cute styles or possibly have any fashion sense?
While you’re at it, could you also tell me why shoe manufacturers automatically assume that large feet are always appendages of large calves? So that when I do manage to find knee-length boots that fit my size eight and a half /size nine feet, there is usually enough extra leather in the calf section to make an additional pair of shoes? My feet may be large but they are narrow and my calves slim. Who says large feet can’t do dainty and delicate?
I don’t get it. You see a lovely pair of shoes in a shop window, you walk in and ask to try on a pair in your size. That’s when you get the look. The one that says;
“Oh you miserable sod! You’re one of ‘them’! Yours will never be the pleasure of prancing around in pretty high heels. Nor will you ever know the joy of strutting your stuff on the dance floor wearing sparkly ballerina pumps. For you will be bulky boat shoes and clunky clogs. Perhaps you’ll fare better in the men’s section?”
Then with pity in his/her eyes, he/she smiles and says ever so politely;
“I’m sorry, our shoes only go up to size 8.”
This is a scene that is replayed over and over again when I go shoe-shopping and quite frankly, I’m fed up. It’s sizeism! It’s discrimination of the worst kind! The kind that never makes the headlines. The kind that goes unnoticed as a large percentage of the world’s population will never experience it either because they don’t fall into this category or because they simply can’t be bothered with wearing shoes at all.
I’ve a mind to start lobbying my local MP for a new bill to be passed in the Houses of Parliament. It will become illegal for shoe manufacturers not to make and shoe retailers not to stock pretty and fashionable footwear in larger sizes. Anyone who falls foul of this law will be liable to supply said footwear to the customer for the rest of their (customer’s) life. And should aforementioned customer die within five years of award under suspicious circumstances, then any offspring who has inherited similarly sized extremities shall benefit from same.
What say you? Yea or nay?
Tara for now.