Whacky World of Cultural Weirdness

When it comes to cultural “norms,” we all have our blinders.  Take, for example, the fact that swooning couches were made so that when women wearing corsets in the summertime walked up the stairs and felt faint (started to swoon), they’d have someplace to fall.


You’d think that one woman would stand up and say, “Why don’t you get rid of the damned corsets so we don’t need any stinking swooning couches.”  But alas, miscarriages, illness and slow death by torso strangulation was the “norm.”   We can’t reform the norm at any cost!

If you think we don’t have cultural “norms” best left to the garbage heap of delusional thinking, think again.

There’s an old cliche my mother used a lot, “It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.”  That saying heralds back to the 17th century, a time when people would hang a pot or kettle over a fire.  The pot would have black on the bottom from soot  & so would the kettle.  

The meaning:  Someone who faults another for faults conspicuously his own.

Here’s an example:


image from Wikipedia

Photograph of a woman's foot in a stiletto

X-ray Image from The Guardian

Just because everyone believed in foot binding during the 10th to early 20th century in China didn’t make it right.

 We decry such practices today, but that’s the pot calling the kettle black.  

Take a look at the first picture.  Do you notice how closely a bound foot resembles the shape of a high wedged shoe?

Take a look at the second picture, notice how the foot is contorted when wearing stilettos, the mid section raised upward.  

In the article ‘High Heels’ by an Osteopath:

 “…high heels are one of the biggest factors leading to foot problems in women, with up to a third suffering permanent problems as a result of prolonged wear.”  

The article includes information about the damage caused by high heels; ingrown toenails, irreversible damage to leg tendons, nerve damage overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fasciitis, low back pain and bunions.  

The slide forward into the stiletto forces the toes into the unnatural shape of the shoe, redistributing your weight incorrectly.  It changes the position of your spine, puts pressure on nerves in the back and can cause sciatica (nerves become trapped.  This can cause pain and numbness down to your feet). 

I worked in the same office with a woman, age 45, who wore stiletto’s to work in the 1990’s.  I asked her if she had any problems going from her heels to her slippers.  I was shocked when she told me she wore high heels all the time. She’d worn high heels so long she couldn’t wear flat shoes.

Just because we vilify a practice doesn’t mean that we’re not doing the same thing using a different technique.  

We may not be breaking toes or binding the feet of children, and we may not see the damage being done over decades of abuse, but the reason for wearing these instruments of torture is the same:  To satisfy the perception of beauty inherent in the culture that’s perpetuated by a coveted population (in our case, stiletto’s are worn by models and prevalent in almost every movie and TV show).

Now tomorrow I’m going to take this whacky world of cultural weirdness a step further.