Amber McNaught writes,,,
When I read that Celine Dion apparently owns 3,000 pairs of shoes earlier this week, I have to say, I wasn’t particularly surprised. In fact, I didn’t even write about it here at Shoewawa because I figured the whole “Multi-millionaire superstar has more stuff than the rest of us” thing wouldn’t exactly come as a shock to the rest of you, either.
And I admit it: if I was a multi-millionaire superstar, with a closet the size of my current house (Have you seen Mariah Carey’s? That’s the kind of size I’m aiming for.) I’m thinking I’d probably have a whole lot of shoes, too. I’d also have a lot of dresses, handbags, and possibly a nice car or two. And a pony. Wouldn’t we all, in the scenario whereby we were suddenly wealthy beyond our wildest dreams, buy much more of the things we’re interested in? I think so.
So, what’s the problem? Well, the problem is that some people view a large collection of shoes as evidence of an empty life and an even emptier mind. Witness this article by TV personality Lowri Turner, in which Lowri is appalled at the idea of women being interested in fashion and – gasp! – shoes, and views it as evidence of the complete destruction of our society.
In a piece entitled “Get a life, Celine, not another pair of shoes,” (Emotive, much?) Lowri sneers:
“Celine says she wants another baby. ‘To be a mother is my most important role.’ No, Celine, walking in and out of shoe shops is your most important role.”
Ummm, yeah. Because owning lots of shoes totally means that you can have no other priorities in life. And if a mother owns lots of pairs of shoes, it absolutely follows that those shoes must be more important to her than her children, doesn’t it?
Lowri takes this astonishing conclusion a little further, though:
“For Ms Dion to admit to owning that many pairs of shoes tells us something about what it is to be female now,” she writes. “Once upon a time – not sure exactly when, but bear with me – a woman was defined by the qualities she possessed, kindness, grace, elegance, intelligence, education, beauty, her abilities as a lover or mother perhaps. Today, it’s how many pairs of shoes you own. And we’re not even embarrassed about that.”
Lowri goes on to blame Sex and the City for women’s irrational interest in shoes, pointing out that the show helped “trivialise women”. More so than columnists who infer that liking shoes can be easily equated to being an empty-headed idiot who cares for Louboutin and Manolo more than her own children trivialises women, say.
I beg to differ. I think it is possible for women to women to be interested in shoes – even to the extent of owning hundreds of pairs of them – and still be intelligent, well-rounded members of society. I think it’s perfectly possible for women to love shoes and still be good mothers. My shoes are not my babies. They are not, as Lowri’s column infers, a substitute for the more fulfilling life I would have had if I’d only I’d been able to stop thinking about shiny stilettos for one second. They’re just shoes. Just one of the things that make up my life. And yes, shoes and shopping give me a lot of pleasure, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only things I ever think about, or that I have no other priorities in life. And I say this as someone who edits a shoe blog for a living.
Lowri does go on to say that she thinks it’s “possible” to “like shoes and have other interests”, but her slating of a sucessful, talented woman (I’m no Celine Dion fan, by the way, but even I can’t deny that’s she’s good at what she does) purely on the grounds that she also enjoys collecting footwear, seems a little unfair to say the least. I really doubt that Dion gets into debt in order to finance her “addiction”, or neglects her children and career in order to sit at home lovingly stroke her Choos: can we really infer from the fact that the woman enjoys a bit of shopping that she needs to “get a life”, as Turner suggests?
Lowri asks, “So, is that all the modern woman is now – someone who collects shiny boxes?”
No, Lowri, it’s really not. But if we can have the shiny boxes and still be mothers, lawyers, teachers, world leaders and, yes, even entertainers, then good for us.
Amber McNaught is the editor of Shoewawa. She is also a wife, journalist, feminist, and lots of other things besides. She doesn’t have 3,000 pairs of shoes, but she’s working on it…