What the Heel?
So lately a topic that has been all the chatter over the swing dance online community is a post by Sarah Breck on women wearing heels while dancing on the website Dax and herself share at DaxandSarah.com and a response why not to wear heels by Fenn at her blog shortgirlphoto.blogspot (Edit: Apparently Fenn decided to delete her blog post, but google cache has a version she edited before deleting the post. Link).
Just as a background, for my major Computer Science I do an upsetting amount of proofs. Also just when I think I am done with them… they come up again. In my algorithms class, my discrete mathematics class, and now again my automata and finite states class.
When I read or listen to people debate I usually don’t care about the emotional content of their arguments (which gets me into trouble a lot) but the facts they lay out.
What bothered me about the blogged response to Sarah’s post is this issue, Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule.
Today, I found this post in my facebook newsfeed. I was confused, because I thought I had read the title wrong. Surely, a dancer couldn’t be ENCOURAGING women to wear heels. I went over and read it, and my confusion was cleared…to anger. The writer says that women should wear heels because it’ll improve their dance skills.
THIS. IS. TOTAL. BULLSHIT.
This could have been written simply as, “Today I found this post in my facebook newsfeed. I was unpleasantly surprised by the fact that the author was encouraging women to wear heels which I think does not improve ones dancing at all and in fact can be detrimental to their health. ”
Same effect, but does not come off as horribly condescending and hostile.
I don’t have a background in podiatry nor have I spent long periods of time wearing heels so I am not going to comment on the validity if one should not wear heels or not. However what I argue against is the way Fenn presents them. Sarah’s main point her article or (the premise being argued against) of why she wears heels is,
“Because they help keep me in check. I feel like I become a better and stronger dancer when I wear them”
Fenn’s counter-points are:
- Shoes don’t improve your feet’s ability to do anything.
- Heels will damage your body over time.
- They are not necessary for any dances.
- Swing dancers don’t spend enough time strengthening their feet like other classically trained dancers do.
I would like to note that Sarah does not write anywhere heels are required for dance. Automatically points 3 and 4 do nothing to argue against the premise that Fenn is attempting to counter.
Point 1 I have a strong issue with because it disregards the fact of something we know and love known as physics.
There is this thing known as friction: the resistance encountered when one body is moved in contact with another.
Can I do slides without shoes? Yes. Will I get much more distance with a pair of slick shoes then barefoot? Yes.
Since Fenn seems so eager to bring up Balboa, here is a move from it known as the Maxie Slide. Named after the late Maxie Dorf.
With the exception of someone who does not have a good sense of balance, I can promise nearly every lead can get more distance with that slide with a pair of slick leather soles/suede then their bare feet.
In addition, some dance venues are not the safest places to go barefoot. As someone who has danced barefoot for an international dance troupe for almost 2 years (Penn State International Dance Ensemble) I know how much it can hurt when someone leaves stuff on our practice space. Imagine the possibilities of foot damage at half the venues across the United States.
Point 2 is the only valid argument I see in the whole response to Sarah’s article. However there is no references cited and I am left to rely on Fenn’s personal credibility, which is greatly reduced in my eyes in the extremely condescending manner that the arguments are presented and the extraneous irrelevant points that are raised.
In short, I agree with arguecat that…