Posts for someone else’s shoes

#InMyShoes: a radical act of empathy for our girls

Girl Power, Media, Parenting - Lynn Johnson - March 23, 2015

daughter's shoesExcuse me for the stereotype but I am a woman who loves shoes.  The semi-annual sale at Nordstrom makes me giddy.  I haven’t actually bought a new pair of shoes in a long time…for myself anyway…but that doesn’t matter.  The point is that I love shoes and am thinking about them this morning.


Last week, the Go Girls! Camp Facebook page featured 2 stories about girls and shoes.  There was this one about Mo’ne Davis, the Little League Baseball pitcher, and her brilliant plan to design a line of shoes that will benefit girls in the developing world.

Then, there was this one about Sophie Trow, the 8 year old girl who wrote a letter to Clarks Shoes about her disappointment over the lack of diverse shoe choices for girls.

The coolest part of Sophie’s story to me is the radical acts that followed.  Tons of women scientists who were moved by her story posted pics of their own shoes on Twitter (#InMyShoes) in solidarity with her cause.

Of course, these stories aren’t really about shoes.  They are about superhero-sized acts of empathy.

I’m sure you have heard empathy defined before as “the ability to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”  Perhaps, if our eyes are the window to the soul, it could be argued that our shoes are the foundation of empathy.

When I think this morning of Mo’ne and Sophie and all of those scientists on Twitter, I think about how complex and amazing it is to be able to kick off your own shoes and consider how they may or may not fit the feet of someone else.  I think about how brave it is to speak out on behalf of another woman’s experience.  I think about how bold it is to actually stand in the shoes of another girl and see…well…yourself.

Perhaps our love for shoes may have little to do with the superficial consumer-obsessed stereotype that plagues our advertising landscape. Maybe a woman’s love of shoes has a much higher purpose.

As I look at my own daughter’s shoes on this soggy Spring morning, I can’t help but imagine everything she has already experienced in her short life and all the paths she will walk in the future.  I can imagine those shoes taking her to the White House or to the top of a Silicon Valley tech company or to the moon.  But my true wish for my daughter – and all our daughters – is that she feels so comfortable in her own shoes that she loves herself beyond her wildest dreams and that she has the desire and strength to walk in someone else’s with so much radical love that it sparks a revolution.

Plus, its Spring, so I can also imagine myself in a new pair of espadrilles.  Wedges, please.

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