Sunday, 18 January 2015

Boot sex

I was looking for some winter boots online the other day and made some surprising discoveries:

Are 'kids' a sex?

Okay, there are women's shoes and men's shoes, and of course boots for kids too - but does this make 'kids' a distinct sex or gender?

And if so, what sex/gender exactly would they be?
For all 'kids'?

Or are they listed as a separate 'gender' because children are considered gender-neutral?

But then, would boys really wear the 'Winter Queen'?

Equally, this differentiation had me puzzled:

Since when is golf gender-neutral?

The use of 'Ladies shoes', rather than 'Women's', is telling in itself – after all, why is 'Gentlemen's shoes' not a category rather than 'Men's'? However, it's the positioning of 'Golf shoes' next to the two sexes which made me most curious.

Clear sex-demarcation
Is 'golf', like 'kids' above, considered gender-neutral?

Certainly not, as one click reveals. 'Ladies' and 'Men' remain distinct sub-categories...

But, in fact, do we really need these categories to begin with? Women and men might have different sizes of feet – men's are generally bigger – but is their function any different?

I.e. do women's shoes really need to be specifically made for 'women'? Do shoes have anything to do with their sex, their reproductive organs?

Unlikely. Shoes are just another expression of the constant need to categorise the (two) sexes. 

 This sticker I came across on the London South Bank illustrates this clearly:

Why the gender-, or in fact sex-, obsession? Can't boots just be boots whether we're 'female' or 'male'?

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