Via Visible Darkness, an interesting mental journey, begun, as it were, with a single step, as all journeys are. Worth your time, whether or not you’ve any abiding interest in gender equality issues, or Japanese women, or their shoes.
“Can one assume that the mostly domestic position of Japanese women in their society influences the way they walk? Maybe, since the political unconscious is precisely that, unconscious, when Japanese women walk with their feet pointing to the inside – to uchi – they are marking with their bodies the space of the traditional Japan –the time when the men went out and the women stayed in. Of course, there is no proof that such time ever existed. Most likely, someone can object, what I am trying to do here is orientalize the Japanese, and find in the feet of the women, in the way they walk, a kind of last bastion of old Japan, a sign of the exotic. And yet, it is possible to suspect that, since the traditional Japan – whether it ever existed, or has just been imagined–is becoming more and more distant from the actual conditions of daily life of the majority of the people, the position of women’s feet may also be marking a renewed choice for pleasures located before, beneath, or beyond the regulations of the cutthroat corporate world occupied by men.” [more…]