Wendy Davis and Her Sneakers

For those wondering how to distinguish between times in which what a female politician wears is irrelevant – – – as in our previous post discussing former Australian PM Julia Gillard- – – and when it might be relevant, Sally Kohn has a particularly good post over at Daily Beast.


do these shoes convey a message?


Kohn argues, in effect, that Davis’s shoes have become symbolic speech, while most of the time women’s clothes are not speech:

In the sense that Wendy Davis is a hero, her shoes are a symbol—a talisman of feminism and political voice and literally standing up for what’s right. Her shoes are legitimately part of the story of filibustering for 11 hours, especially because they stood out. But pointing out what women leaders are wearing when it has absolutely nothing to do with the story is exactly the opposite—it undercuts the leadership of women and quashes their voice.

While Texas legislator Wendy Davis may not have worn the shoes for their symbolism (merely for their anticipated comfort), they have certainly attained a meaning.  If there any doubts, take a look at the “reviews” section for the shoes on Amazon.com.