These heels are made for walking

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 7, 2007

While waiting to get my hair trimmed last weekend, I picked up an issue of Allure magazine just to pass the time.

Even though Allure usually is not the usual fashion/lifestyle magazine I prefer, since it seemed to be geared toward a younger audience (Lindsay Lohan on the cover and all), I decided to give it a try.

In some ways it took me back in time, since as a teenager I had read magazines like Seventeen and Jane.

Both magazines gave me a map of how to navigate the fashion of high school, interviews with the newest “It” star, health issues that pertained to younger women and, of course, those quizzes that would tell you if a guy was the one for you or not.

Reading through the letters from readers I came across four letters in response to an article about “commando etiquette.”

If you don’t know what “going commando” is, let’s just put it this way, Britney Spears, Lindsay and Paris Hilton are infamous for doing it.

And if you still don’t get it, count your lucky stars because you’re within the clueless margin, which for once is perhaps the place to be on this topic.

What surprised me most was not the fact there was an actual article written about commando etiquette, but rather the overwhelming positive responses to it.

Three out of the four letters expressed support for the article, while one was vehemently against it.

I’m not going to rally against grown women who want to follow in the footsteps of the pseudo-celebs listed above. It’s your choice if you want to “go commando” or not.

After all, you’re the one who has to worry about high winds or any other fashion faux pas that comes along with the territory.

While I left the salon convinced that Allure’s target audience was teenage girls and it was disturbing to see this article in that type of publication, further research showed me that I was wrong. According to the magazine’s website, Allure’s demographics cover women from ages 18 to 49.

That discovery made me wonder, are women like Britney, Paris and Lindsay idols for older women?

I can see our demented debutant trinity influencing women 18 to 27 because most of those women have grown up listening to Britney and watching Lindsay and Paris on television and movies. But are women of all ages supporting the debasing of our gender, including our mothers?

All three of the mentioned women are uneducated, promiscuous and have various personal problems ranging from their weight to substance abuse. Not exactly the kind of role model we want for younger females, much less for anyone.

But even with those kinds of role models removed from the picture, what exactly are females being taught when it comes to knowing who they truly are or should be?

As it has always been women are valued only for their beauty and not so much for their conscience and intelligence.

So, why do women support this ideology? Some women would say it’s because of a patriarch society. And in some ways it is.

We let males look at us as weak and beauty obsessed and so that cycle is perpetuated down through the generations of women.

Over the years we have been taught how to mold ourselves to the unreal images on magazines and how to exploit ourselves to get what we want. It’s the same old tune that has been encouraged since the stereotypes of women have been formed.

Women have made headway on the political, career and educational spheres of society, but still lag far behind in the social realm.

Most mothers would steer their daughter toward being an apt, intelligent woman, but the conundrum still exists of who we should be in a social community.

We are constantly sent mixed signals spinning us into conflictions of who are. Are we the strong confident women we see in high ranking careers? Or are we the seductresses we see in the media? It’s something that I think most of us will wrestle with and never come to a definitive decision of who or what we should be.

It’s a fine and tricky line to walk sometimes, but at least we have heels to do it.