Monday, November 26, 2012

Stiletto surgery - lopping off a toe to fit into your shoes

Well, anything for vanity, right?

There's been a number of stories about women getting extreme cosmetic foot surgery over the past decade. Daily Mail posts this one, and check the article further down for an infographic of various procedures. ABC News ran this story in 2012, and then there's this NYT article from 2003, which also quotes a survey about women getting foot surgery for a better shoe fit as far back as 1993.

Looks like the trend isn't going away! So consider, Prince Charming, the next time you fit that glass slipper on Cinderella, she just might have cheated to be sure she fits.

The thing is, some 90% of women wear shoes that are too narrow. And the pointy stiletto makes the matter worse, forcing the pressure all down on those tiny, vulnerable toes. But really, is it all to attract a man? Except for foot fetishists (who, even then, might prefer the whole, unaltered female foot, seeing as how they admire it so), most guys could care less how a woman's feet look. It is more of a competition between women that seems to be the driving force.

The fascination with women having tiny, impractical feet has deep cultural roots. You've probably heard of the Chinese practice of footbinding, a cruel practice in which a girl's feet are bound daily so as she grows, the bones of her feet gradually break and distort into an unnatural shape. Such outrage did it cause that a "foot emancipation society" formed in the Qing Dynasty, and formed one of the cornerstones of Chinese women's lib.

Yet here we are, a century later, practicing a similar custom and there's hardly a murmur of protest. One could definitely see where complications can arise in later years; the human foot puts on a lot of miles carrying a lot of weight in one lifetime, and missing a toe (as those who have had accidents can attest) makes walking harder. Nevertheless, women are already to risk malnutrition through eating disorders and the various complications of silicon breast implants, so what's one more toe?