Brooklyn Museum Exhibit Claims Sneakers are Sexist

Elizabeth Semmelhack, the senior curator at The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, believes that there is a thing called “sneaker culture” and it is sexist. She has brought her beliefs to the United States with “The Rise of Sneaker Culture,” an exhibition that explores such topics, which opened at the Brooklyn Museum on July 10.

“We don’t consider sneakers to be feminine. Therein lies the essential difference,” Semmelhack explains. “Sneaker collecting, done by many men, is [described] in the tradition of other male collecting, like baseball cards and fine wines. It’s about having every single one in every single model. Female buying is ’emotional;’ male buying is posited as rational. But emotion is just as wrapped up in sneakers.”

Thus, “sneaker culture” is sexist. Semmelhack’s exhibit purports to examine the “unspoken sexism” of “sneaker culture.”
Is this shoe sexist?
Sneakers were also linked to Nazis in the exhibit by Semmelhack, as the Third Reich focused on “physical perfection in service to the state.”

Casual Friday then forced men to wear sneakers: “For many men, it was an unsettling transition,” Semmelhack believes. “Having been told not to wear their work-day uniform of a business suit, they suddenly were asked to find a new way of dressing that involved bringing aspects of their weekend selves — their downtime selves — into the office.”

Semmelhack concludes that “sneakers helped men step into the fashion system on their own terms.”


Founder and editor of the Social Memo

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