Oh my god, shoes.
People love to use shoes to let readers or viewers know what kind of person someone is supposed to be. This isn’t anything new. I remember being shocked when I realized that all women in movies and shows wear high heels. Even Detectives Kate Beckett (Castle) and Olivia Benson (Law and Order: SVU).
Well, Dana Scully wears flats sometimes.
General trends I’ve noticed are that in books, women less frequently wear heels (unless we’re talking the comic kind of books). Songs too. Boots show slightly more dangerous girls, unless they’re marked as the hiking kind. Flats are reserved for slightly more innocent and feminine of girls. Sneakers go to the less traditional of our female leads. Here are some examples.
Wonder Boys, a book by Michael Chabon, was turned into a tip top Pgh movie starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire, with a pre-Cruise Katie Holmes as Hannah Green.
Grady, our lead (played by Douglas in the film) described Hannah as:
A talented writer who rented a room in my house. I knew her to be insightful, kind, and compulsively clad in red cowboy boots. I had, in fact, never once seen her without them.
Hannah rents a room in Grady’s house and is attracted to him, coming on to him at several points [in the film].
fun. has a song called “All the Pretty Girls” which is also about a boot glad woman.
It includes the line “I wish all the pretty girls were shaking me down, but not you, you still wear boots and your hair is too long.”
The song, in general, is about how the singer wishes “all the pretty girls” would try to hook up with him, but in truth, he doesn’t want them because he wants the lady he’s singing about, even though he thinks she’s bad for him. Or at least says she is as a way to comfort himself over the rejection.
These women–for they are women as they are sexual creatures–both wear boots. They are also both trouble.
I recently read “Angel Burn” by L.A. Weatherly. I don’t recommend it. Our point of view character, Willow, is non-traditional, a bit of a hipster, and fixes cars–something she likes to remind us it not a normal thing for girls to do. She wears purple converse, a nontraditional take on a boy’s shoe.
Skye, the Colorado teen who leads us in Jocelyn Davies “A Beautiful Dark“, wears ballet flats. She wears makeup, feeling not quite complete without mascara and lip gloss.
I am totally losing the ability to keep track of all these young adult romance heroines.