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October 12, 2012 10:55 AM   Subscribe

"Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves." Do these shoes "inflict a new beauty standard"?
posted by kinnakeet (61 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well it ain't standard, and it ain't beautiful neither.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


They inflict a new silly standard, that's for sure. And if this is humans playing god, then I guess according to Alexander McQueen's 2013 spring line, god is a giant bee.
posted by elizardbits at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


My first thought was that it was only new to anyone who hadn't heard of John Willie (which is actually probably most people, so okay). But then she put on the shoes in a very different way than I'd expected and wow.

This kind of resonated with me for reasons I'm not sure of. Maybe it's the fact that these shoes make her basically walk like the girl from The Ring.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really, that's just high heels taken to a ridiculous extreme. Which to me is the point. Heels are not easy to walk in, they hurt your feet, and in order to seem dressed up, as a woman, you pretty much have to wear them.


No less ridiculous than the video, if you spend more than two seconds thinking about it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:05 AM on October 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'd go with Silent Hill, famous monster.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:05 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Mutter Museum's corset skeleton approves of this post.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:05 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looks like something put together by the surgeon from Human Centipede's less ambitious younger brother.
posted by jsturgill at 11:08 AM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


still waiting to meet the roving bands of maniacs that go around holding guns to people's heads, forcing them to wear things they don't like. apparently they're like all over.
posted by badstone at 11:09 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like the idea, but I really hate the whole "Humans are playing God" trope. Why not just say that high heels are ridiculous? It doesn't have to be some grand observation on the hubris of the human race. It's not like high heels were invented in a lab by the mad scientist villain of every cautionary sci-fi movie.
posted by crackingdes at 11:11 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait! She's………………slowly…………………getting…………………………away.
posted by stltony at 11:12 AM on October 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


still waiting to meet the roving bands of maniacs that go around holding guns to people's heads, forcing them to wear things they don't like. apparently they're like all over.

It's a little more complicated than that.
posted by jsturgill at 11:13 AM on October 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


Merge this video with the slowed-downed baby crying for full nightmare effect.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:13 AM on October 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


I like it. Says something about the uneasy tension between the limits of flesh and the perfectibility of mankind. It is also a commentary on body dysmorphia. Our physical presence often does not match our mental image of ourselves.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:14 AM on October 12, 2012


I can't read 'playing God' without thinking of this comic.

/You am play gods!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:14 AM on October 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


I hate those bloody trite messages about "playing God" by inflicting cultural beauty standards because, no, no we're not, we're creating patterns of dominance and conformity and social capital instead (usually rooted in class and gender), and unlike God, all of that is measurable or at least capable of being tracked over time, so by calling it God we're obscuring the actual functions of fashion and beauty.

That being said, I did really like the way the weird shoe-prostheses made her walk like some kind of clunky fairytale monster, as though she were about to bend down and consume a small child at any moment.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:16 AM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


We humans love to blame individuals (even the collected individuals that are called society) for the shit we have to deal with. Feel like your clothes aren't good enough? Somebody's fault. Probably the person who designs clothes, or the person at the office who models the clothes, or the person at your school who degrades people who don't wear the clothes.

But, clothes is just one very small aspect of the cultural norms policing that we do all the time. The difference is that it costs something, and it's constantly being replaced by the people at the top of the pecking order.

The way we talk changes, but that doesn't cost anything, usually. The way we stand and move changes slowly, but that probably doesn't cost much either. Cars are very expensive, but a car that's "correct" can last you at least a decade before it becomes a black eye.

But clothes is that perfect medium that we have to choose every day what to wear, and every thing is expensive, and it's so easy to ruin, and all the other things that make us feel terrible about it almost no matter what. And so we react against fashion. It's just what we do. I think it's pretty interesting.
posted by rebent at 11:17 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we please retire the phrase "playing god?" Its so loaded and meaningless, it just exists to cause a controversy. Humanity has been "playing god" since day one. Agriculture, medicine, vaccinations, nutrition, etc are all "playing god." Thanks.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:17 AM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves"

"Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect."

Isn't that the point?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:22 AM on October 12, 2012


I think these are a fun exploration of how clothing can interact with our bodies, I find that very interesting.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:22 AM on October 12, 2012


Are these real shoes that are on the market somewhere? Or is someone's joke of the most obnoxious pair of spike heels?
posted by Yakuman at 11:26 AM on October 12, 2012


Saw some chick wear something similar as I got off the train in downtown Chicago (ok not very similar but I thought to myself "my god girl, those shoes are not only ugly but stupid for you to walk in). I see these shoes and I want to beat the designer in the head with them and make him walk in them.
posted by stormpooper at 11:26 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


HOW TO PLAY GOD
A Walkthrough for God™ for PC, Mac and PS3

First off, before you do anything else, you'll want to go into the options menu and uncheck basically everything. You can micromanage the hell out of this game but for very very little benefit and you'll never keep up with all the RTS going on. Photosynthesis is the sort of thing you can just "set and forget." It doesn't need you checking in on it.

Secondly, you DO want to keep the "Free Will": option checked, because otherwise there's not really a game at all, but understand where your likely frustrations are going to come from. For instance, smiting can be a great motivator for keeping your populations in line, but it also leads to favoritism. Smite now means schism later, and that gets difficult to deal with.

Third, make sure to smite the everloving shit out of artists and scientists, though. What do they think they're doing? Playing you?

etc. etc...
posted by Navelgazer at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think these are a fun exploration of how clothing can interact with our bodies, I find that very interesting.

I think so too. I know everyone hated that Gaiman poem where he said he thought some people should have spots. But I think this ties in with that. Are clothes simply a covering or a projection of how you wish to be seen. A projection of a mental image of yourself that does not match the physical reality.

Maybe playing god is a dumb phrase, but is there a common form that makes us human? Does it have to do with the physical or is it a mental state. How much can you alter your physical form? If i was a brain in a jar would I be human? What about a consciousness in a neural net?

Am I missing something? Isn't this conceptual art and not something someone expects people to wear?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:28 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


High-fashion shoes, I am convinced, are really nothing more than the platonic ideal of trolling.

Pause for a moment, and consider a high-fashion shoe designer. Now think of them as a troll.

Suddenly the shoes make sense, don't they?
posted by aramaic at 11:28 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves"

God doesn't seem to have been doing too much of this himself lately. Somebody had to step up to the plate.
posted by newmoistness at 11:33 AM on October 12, 2012


Yeah seriously, I haven't even seen God's fall collection, shoes or otherwise. Dude needs to get his head in the game.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:35 AM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was hoping for something to happen at the end. Something involving an axe and those shoes.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 11:39 AM on October 12, 2012


Looks like she has over dosed on Metamusil and is heading for the bathroom
posted by Postroad at 11:40 AM on October 12, 2012


Do these shoes "inflict a new beauty standard"?

No, those shoes inflict an old beauty standard.
posted by univac at 11:45 AM on October 12, 2012 [6 favorites]



At first glance, I too just thought hahaha look at those redunkulous high heels.

You have to watch far enough to realize that she is putting them on in a way that is backwards from what you expect and then watch her walk on her shins to understand the video.
posted by Librarygeek at 11:46 AM on October 12, 2012


Is the consensus really that we live in a maximally fashion-conscious culture? One that is so restricting we have to break out of it? Really? Where do you live? Because that is not my perception. It seems to me we live in the most fashion-apathetic time in human history.

It wasn't even a century ago that all men had to wear suits and ties at all times, women who wore pants were scandalously throwing off the shackles of gendered clothing, and even the poorest of the poor struggled to pull off the dapper look. Put a photo of myself next to my poor postal worker grandfather at my age. Frankly, I look like crap.

Today young women can wear yoga pants and gym shoes on the street. A woman who wears a dress is going to look traditional, while a woman who wears jeans and a blazer provokes no violent outcries from the establishment. Men wearing jeans to work is not unusual at all, rather it is the norm. Khakis count as "business casual". When I wear a nice pair of pants and shoes to my job, people get suspicious that I'm going for an interview after work.

I'm not saying I think we should go back to the way things were, but really. I get the feeling that the fashion world lives in a weird bubble where these things still matter, some Bermuda-triangle alternate dimension where style has not completely collapsed into the black-hole of the "American uniform" of T-shirts and jeans. Almost everyone looks like a slob in 2012. We're not perfecting beauty – we've all but given up on it.
posted by deathpanels at 11:47 AM on October 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


As a person who pretty much lives in cotton and Birkenstocks, these shoes strike me as more of a stunt than anything else, a testing of limits. That said, today's stunts often turn into tomorrow's off-the-rack fashions.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was pretty neat. One of the hardest parts of monster design is movement; we can always recognize how a human body moves, even in disguise, so to really evoke the uncanny valley we need to find new ways to move unnaturally, like the digitigrade stilts built for Dog Soldiers. I can easily imagine Guillermo del Toro or Peter Jackson incorporating these shoes into a new creature design, probably with an experienced monster actor like Doug Jones portraying the role.

What's that? This isn't a proof of concept for horror fantasy filmmaking, but just some artist's "commentary" on ridiculous constructed beauty standards? Never mind, then.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:50 AM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Agreed, deathpanels. I remember when folks dressed to travel--no more (and with TSA rules everyone's in sweatpants and mules now). I feel free to dress however I like, more so than at any time I've lived in.

However, the NYT and other media still report on "Fashion Week" as though it actually matters.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:52 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Morgan Freeman did a pretty decent job playing God, but I preferred Alanis Morrisette's portrayal.
posted by Foosnark at 11:52 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


those shoes are pretty heinous, but compared to foot-binding they ain't shit. nobody had to have her feet broken and folded over on themselves to fit into those shoes.
posted by facetious at 11:55 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Either I don't get it, or I do get it and am severely underwhelmed.
posted by cmoj at 12:02 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, the way she puts them on is pretty unsurprising if you're at all familiar with fetish ballet heels (probably NSFW). The basic shape is still there, just switch the heel from back to front.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:03 PM on October 12, 2012


kinnakeet: ... today's stunts often turn into tomorrow's off-the-rack fashions.

Or fetish wear.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2012


Dammit, WidgetAlley!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:05 PM on October 12, 2012


still waiting to meet the roving bands of maniacs that go around holding guns to people's heads, forcing them to wear things they don't like. apparently they're like all over.

I mean not to distract too much from the actual video, but yeah... it's a bit more complicated than that.

I'm a woman and for years have worn a very pragmatic and minimal wardrobe, which was comfortable, and cheap, and suited me just fine. I hate owning more pairs of shoes than I need, I hate hate hate owning crap I might wear maybe once a year, and I can't stand spending money on it. I was pretty comfortable with this, really. I'm not really aiming to impress by appearance.

But this year it's got to the point where I gave in and said fuck it. I was tired of the comments that friends made. About my shoes not matching my fucking dress. I actually had a guy who was interested in me romantically tell me 'I don't care how you dress' and he said it like it was a good thing, like he hadn't just told me that I looked like a hobo. Which I did. But he did care, or it wouldn't have been worth mentioning. I guess it was sweet or something that he could 'look past it' to see the true beauty beneath or some shit when my personal opinion is it shouldn't even matter.

And yeah I'm a grad student and gonna have to look for jobs now. So there's another motivation that I resent. But you can't be taken seriously without effort. I told my grandmother, who I love and respect, that I felt like women had to be even more careful with how they dress to be taken professionally, even in my field where generally no-one gives a shit and people interview and go to conferences in field hats and flannel and ripped up blue jeans (hi, geologist here). She was basically like oh it's so nice that you're interested in participating in the real world now when I was trying to say how frustrating it was and how it's so much bullshit. But that's her world and she's comfortable in it, so good for her really.

Anyway now I own like 15 pairs of fucking shoes and it makes me angry every goddamn time I look in my closet. I even wear makeup now sometimes. So much wasted money and material and effort and space just so people who I consider close friends and whose opinions I generally value won't make fucking snide comments at me without even realizing that they're doing it.

Can't even imagine what strangers might've said. Pardon all the use of bad words.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:14 PM on October 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


It wasn't even a century ago that all men had to wear suits and ties at all times, women who wore pants were scandalously throwing off the shackles of gendered clothing, and even the poorest of the poor struggled to pull off the dapper look. Put a photo of myself next to my poor postal worker grandfather at my age. Frankly, I look like crap.

My great-grandmother wore a corset and long skirts + petticoats in Oklahoma and Texas in a world without air conditioning.

I'm pretty sure she'd trade places with me in a hot second, no matter how sloppy I look in comparison. Also she'd probably like getting to cut her hair short, take showers, and own more than three changes of clothes. And vote.

I like dressing up in old-timey costumes for fun, but have never understood actual nostalgia for the days they were mandatory.
posted by emjaybee at 12:16 PM on October 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyone else reminded of Matthew Barney's work with Aimee Mullins (NSFW)?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:27 PM on October 12, 2012


My great-grandmother wore a corset and long skirts + petticoats in Oklahoma and Texas in a world without air conditioning.

Mine was too poor to have corsets, but wore long wool skirts, wool socks, and cotton blouses (that she sewed and, for the socks, knitted herself).

I'll never forget the look of glee she would get when she talked about the magical 60s, when she could wear TROUSERS. "Trousers, honey! Trousers! Like men! I could run without tripping, teehee!"

Her favorite outfit was plain-colored sweatshirts, with comfy trousers that she'd make herself. The sweatshirts because they were also comfortable, and because she'd get us great-grandkids to draw on them for her :) I still have a photo of her in one with red hearts that she drew in puffy paint and got us kids each to sign our names in one.

So yeah. "The good old days." Maybe have a chat with people who lived through them; I've never met a woman from the early 1900s who wanted to go back to that time. The only thing my great-grandmother reminisced about was her wedding dress, which she sewed from an ivory wool. My grandmothers didn't even reminisce about that. They too were relieved with the acceptance of trousers.

As for these shoes, I too saw the video as a mirror of how high heels twist the body.
posted by fraula at 1:06 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would like it more if they were more agile-seeming, but i definitely like the design and the interesting, contorted shape they put the wearer into. Very much reminds me of satyrs and such.

I like it.
posted by dethb0y at 1:09 PM on October 12, 2012


Never understood why it's not the men who aren't wearing the heels. I mean, women like tall guys, right??
posted by LordSludge at 1:17 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


My great-grandmother wore a corset and long skirts + petticoats in Oklahoma and Texas in a world without air conditioning.

I'm pretty sure she'd trade places with me in a hot second, no matter how sloppy I look in comparison. Also she'd probably like getting to cut her hair short, take showers, and own more than three changes of clothes. And vote.

I like dressing up in old-timey costumes for fun, but have never understood actual nostalgia for the days they were mandatory.
You cut out the next paragraph in which I stated explicitly that I do not wish to return to the victorian era. My point is, are we really at an especially oppressive point in the history of fashion? It feels more like we're at the tail end of a 40+ year trend in the relaxing of socially-enforced dress.
posted by deathpanels at 1:19 PM on October 12, 2012


More clothes designed for the very thin, more of the same.
posted by bswinburn at 1:33 PM on October 12, 2012


My point is, are we really at an especially oppressive point in the history of fashion?

Please see my recent AskMe about my boss insisting that to have a promotion I'd need to wear makeup and nicer shoes. It doesn't matter if it's the least oppressive it's ever been. Dress/appearance is still, especially for women, often a pretty oppressive thing.

My take away here is: when it comes to appearance how obviously ridiculous something is often has little bearing on how much we are willing to inflict it upon other people.
posted by Saminal at 1:52 PM on October 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Never understood why it's not the men who aren't wearing the heels. I mean, women like tall guys, right??


Timberlands.
posted by PuppyCat at 2:22 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metaphorically? I'm just not seeing metaphoric perfection. Is that something close to symbolic fitness?
posted by surplus at 2:27 PM on October 12, 2012


I couldn't watch that without cringing. That's a pair of broken ankles waiting to happen. First time something makes a loud noise behind her and she turns round to look, she's going down.
posted by talitha_kumi at 3:22 PM on October 12, 2012


I am kind of bemused (and a little horrified) that several folks saw this and thought it was a real product and not a point. I guess it is effective at its purpose, then.

Clothing is a communication tool. Figure out your message, and execute. Or don't. We all participate, no exceptions.

Well I guess there are nudists, but they have a message too.
posted by danny the boy at 3:43 PM on October 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked it. Much more interesting than I first thought it would be. The choice of her dress was really strong, too. That floaty, flimsy, deliberately feminine but also slightly cherubic tunic, with the delicate chain detail, and the soft hair, and the light color of the "shoes", they all worked together to strongly make a point that was immediately refuted by her physicality.

I felt like she needed to sprout grotesque wings, to help her move. I was expecting some subtle or shocking CG to happen, even over halfway through, and was bracing myself for something. When there wasn't, its absence made a stronger point about what was in the video. You don't need painted on illusory wings to turn the human body grotesque, and you don't need to get high-contrast and confrontational to explore the thinness of the line between expectations of beauty and expectations of self-harm.
posted by Mizu at 6:20 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


She should try out a pair of Weta Legs.
posted by homunculus at 7:20 PM on October 12, 2012


The video shows a dramatic example of the Folly of Female Footwear Fashion and what happens to the body when high heels are worn. Butt and boobs are both thrust outwards in order to preserve gravitational equiblibrium. Even in a pair of two inch pumps, the wearer's body is performing the same readjustments as the girl in the video, if to a lesser degree. None of the articulations in the skeleton evolved to maintain it in this position. It may look "attractive" to some, but it's debilitating, (which implies some lack of judgement on the part of the wearer.)
posted by carping demon at 7:23 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I put on my shoes one at a time, just like everybody else.
posted by sneebler at 8:01 PM on October 12, 2012


Am I wrong or does that have to be incredibly painful?
posted by naoko at 8:49 PM on October 12, 2012


This season of Project Runway has been disappointing. Not on an ecumenical level, true, but still a bit of a shambles.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:11 PM on October 12, 2012


High heels arguably evolved from two different historical shoe trends, both gender-neutral: the high platforms that wealthy people would strap to their shoes so they didn't have to get their shoes dirty in street filth and riding shoes, which had a 1-1.5 inch heel to make it easier to manage stirrups.Louis XIV wore heels that were up to 5.5 inches high.

The "high heels are only for women" concept is pretty recent, historically speaking.
posted by rednikki at 9:20 AM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brokenness and disfunction is the new aesthetic.
posted by xjudson at 8:11 AM on October 15, 2012


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