Fetish Progress: Sex, shoes & why masochism may not be healthy
Sex is a powerful tool when it comes to moving the world forward. Obviously it’s a fairly necessary manoeuvre when it comes to the physical emergence of future generations but it also plays a pretty significant role in the general advancement of mankind as a whole. “What do you mean she thinks I’m a loser? I’ll invent the wheel, that’ll show her.” But for every net gain here or there, pent up sexual energy causes just as many misfires on wasted or hopeless pursuits, meaning gals that just aren’t interested. Nature is a bugger when you realize that this innate desire to copulate commands our existential bridge with such a force that it either has the net effect of pushing us forward or stunting us completely. In my own case I shudder to think of how much I might actually have accomplished throughout my twenties had my mind been free from its instinctual focus on getting laid. Seriously, I coulda been a contender……
So it’s fairly logical to assume that marketers would be first in line to use this kind of power force to their own dark ends. Sure, using sex to sell things is hardly new but the real advancement these days has to be in the almost insane sexualization of inanimate items – the fetishization of stuff. “Stuff” has been endowed with so many of the qualities we would normally seek out in a person that it’s frightening to consider it. Look at the somewhat cult obsession that has sprung up around Jimmy Choo shoes. Some women crave the shoe more rapturously than the necessarily swank event they would need to attend to justify wearing the teetering things. The item as desire – a move that literally props opens the floodgates advertisers employ to drain us completely dry.
Clearly Footlocker gets it. They know full well that to sell sneakers (and to keep selling them) they had better turn each one into objects of fetish versus the items of function they really are. In service of this they have an ad right now that is a voyeuristic testament to the depths of psychosis they are willing to plumb when it comes to making a court shoe an object of lust. In the spot, two attractive twenty-somethings come lust-busting through an apartment door hanging all over each other. They head towards the bedroom. Immediately, the lady grabs control, pushing her man to the bed and stripping off his pants in one quick motion. Then, buddy lies face down while his blond dominator straddles him from behind and jams his head into the blankets. Then she absolutely hauls off and smacks him, hard, across the butt with a running shoe. Buddy pauses, like he’s processing the event before saying almost mechanically “Again.” She does, and he winces slightly but shows that his brain is now fully engaged as he bursts forth with a brand name: “Converse.” She grabs another and smacks again. Like a deviant Raymond Babbit, buddy spews out the new shoe’s style and color. He’s wrong about the color, though so she belts him again. “Maybe blue?” he says, “Blue.” As if to remind himself to focus harder next time. It continues as buddy offers more details and even the year of release in one case. Dude is pretty sick when it comes to this little sneaker fetish and his blond enabler eventually begins to creep even me out more than a little. So here we go. Footlocker as fetish for shoe lovers. It’s funny at first, but all in all, objectively creepy as hell.
Look, on the surface fetishes sound like little more than a bit of kinky fun surrounding the “big boom.” But how long before the extras start to matter more than the meal? Fetishes are pretty easy to sell when you’re using attractively fit couples that are lit right and sound normal but they get pretty pathetic, pretty fast when one considers the daylight of reality: a planet-load of average, out of shape desperates trying to find anything inanimate that might help to draw attention away from the personal shortcomings they perceive far more intensely than the person they’re with. Now that’s pervy with a capital “P.”
Look, Footlocker can do whatever they want when it comes to flogging shoes (or their customers, with their shoes….) but what the heck is wrong with us when we so easily allow items to start taking the place of individuals? When we allow for the transfer of power from an original human source onto an inanimate substitute are we sealing our own fate? Buddy has a hot blond striking him across the ass today. Tomorrow, he’ll only need a chrome and steel-plated SneakerSpank2000 to get the job done. I guess that’s what passes for progress these days.