No shoe is too bone breaking, nor corset too breathtaking, nor bodily alteration to excruciating for man not to have tried it out in his continuing pursuit of the fashionable body…
…Shoe manufacturers have shown admirable patience with nature. Despite or because of feet that live up too their commercial ideals of anatomy, they doggedly go on producing symmetrical shoes. And although their customers’ feet have not changed in the course of time, they spare no effort or expense to come up every season with a new ( symmetrical) shoe for the same old foot. The pathological hate of the natural form of the foot is nowhere more forcibly expressed than in the commandments of the Shakers, which say that, ” it is contrary to order to have right and left shoes.”
By some atavistic quirk of nature, every normal baby is born with undeformed feet. The forepart of the foot- measured across the toes- is about twice as wide as the heels. The toes barely touch each other and are as nimble as fingers. Were the child able to keep up his toe twiddling, he might easily retain as much control over his feet as his hands. Not that we see anything particularly admirable in nimble toes; they strike us as freakish, perhaps since we associate prehensible feet with primitive civilizations.
To our twisted mind, the foot in its undamaged state is anachronistic, if not altogether barbaric. Ever since the shoe became the badge of admission to Western civilization- in countries with large rural populations such as Portugal and Brazil, the governments at one time exhorted peasants to wear shoes in the name of progress- we have looked down on barefooted or sandaled nations. ( to be continued)