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Sunday, 06 September 2009


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So that's why women walk all over me! 8~/

Nah, speaking as a female person with a significant amount of both gadgets and shoes I can say that the more important divide's not between the shoe-collectors and the gadget-collectors, but between the packrats/hobbyists and the neat freaks.

(Hell, my fiancé has nearly as many shoes as I do, and his only gadgets are his laptop and his kitchen appliances. It's me who has a shit-ton of gear.)

I am not THAT addicted to gadgets

... unless the gadgets are in the kitchen (although most men wouldn't have a clue here!)

Uh, I have at least as many gadgets as I do shoes.

Or purses, I often tell the missus her search for the perfect purse is akin to my search for the perfect camera bag, IOW hopeless and expensive.

You go along enjoying a blog and suddenly - wham! Insult to women. Just once I'd like to enjoy something without being reminded I'm a second class citizen.

Hmm, maybe that might work. Hon, you can buy a pair of shoes when I buy an M9. Ok, maybe two pair as I'll be needing a lens too.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean it to be an insult to either sex. I just thought it was a smile, is all.

Maybe it's because I was in love with a girl in photo school who was *obsessed* with shoes. I've never spent so much time in shoe stores in my life, before or after. We had to stop at every shoestore window.

Sometimes I get nostalgic for her.


As a gal with a lot of shoes and a ton of photo gear (Just how many lenses do you need?), I'm not the least bit offended.

Hmmm...depends upon the man.
In certain cases it might be that 'women are to men what shoes are to women'.
I just got married on Saturday...time to mind my evil thoughts.
...now to spend some o' the booty on a new film scanner and send some Tri-X off to the lab.

shoe porn is dangerous stuff for men as well. a few months ago, i never would have thought how absolutely essential it is for every man to own a pair of brown suede wing tips, such as those from edward green, or maybe the captoes from crockett & jones.

Er, I've got lots of gadgets AND shoes. I'm not sure whether that makes me double sad or bisexual.

Joe, how terribly sexist.

As a man I can safely say that in my household all the kitchen gadgets are mine.
I can easily spend as much on a good kitchen thing as on a new camera. And it makes just as much difference to your end result ;)

Mike... a follow-up this morning - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8241193.stm - on the BBC News website (not that you have triggered it) states, "Women risk feet in fashion's name" just about says it all!

Um, I have more shoes than my wife (but only just - we counted). And more gadgets. Must be my feminine side!

Why is she rolling her eyes and shaking her head?

Steph, it was meant as a mild joke. And a joke on both sexes too. We men like to pretend we are very intellectual with all our gear talk, but at its core much of it is just another addiction, like TV, pretzels, work, coffee, and exercise.

My friends have a little girl. From the time she was three, she would zip over to window-shop at the nearest shoe store.

As the author of the original quote, I made the comment to explain and excuse why I kept making blog posts about super-gear I would never need.

"just one more lens"

what was it again? "to not need something isn't a reason not to buy it"

damn, don't know where it came from. from you mike? or maybe it was ken rockwell...

greetings from a 20 years old kiddie with 15 cameras (apart from the leica m6 nothing is really of material value though)


I don't understand why this would be considered an insult to Women..huh?

It's a little jab, a joke. Lighten up all you barefooted girls..you may be one of the women who doesn't feel this way but don't take it seriously...take a look around at your peers in the more magical gender.

I love a woman in a cool pair of shoes...klondike behemoth 6 inch moose racers..from Milano.

My good friend Julie and I were talking on the phone the other day..

"what's up?..not much..cool...everything ok?...yep..how's the music coming along, getting ready for your gig?....sposed to be but I had to replace the switch for my power window on the driver's side, i have to be able to roll the window down...cool, is it done?....yep finished it, just now...you did it yourself?..yep,works perfect...You broke into your door panel and replaced it?..you took your door apart?....yep, what's the big deal?....Most men dont even venture into cracking a car door open for repairs, they never go back together right....really? It went back together perfectly, works great"

All true and I cussed her out for having been successful...a few days later I went to her gig to see her band..she was wearing some wicked stilettos and a hot skirt while slinging a humbucked electric guitar...awesome chick in my book.

Oh man... you've really started something. Have a peek at this image which appeared today on the 1X.com site... http://1x.com/v2/#photos/latest-additions/27480/

Have you SEEN the price of a pair of Manolo Blahniks?

Besides, what's the lifespan of a pair of fashion shoes compared to that of a good (camera) body?

If it's digital, the shoes will last longer. :P

Okay, I was hoping that this was going to go by without too many "Ah, you ladies are too sensititve" comments, but, come on, guys, stop picking on Steph. It was a weak, relatively inoffensive "joke" - but when you spend your whole life hearing "jokes" like that, coming from all sorts of places and all kinds of people (usually, but not always, men, some of whom do it for reasons other than to be funny), it gets old.

Think of it as the death by a thousand papercuts - the first one's not so bad, but imagine if it was the 1000th.

One of the things that I like about TOP is that it's remarkably free of the usual chest-beating macho hoo-ha that abounds on a lot of other photography sites, and I have to say that, like Steph, I was rather disappointed to see this here.

Just because most women have learned to laugh off "jokes" like this doesn't mean that we necessarily enjoy them. It's more that being upset isn't worth the grief we'll get for pointing out how annoying it is to be reminded that, yeah, women aren't like men! Tee hee!

Which, um, FAIL. As several of us have pointed out, neither shoes nor cameras nor gadgets come with chromosome requirements. All the "joke" does is reinforce dated and inaccurate gender stereotypes. Ha ha.

I'm with Steph. This was unnecessary.

And, yes, perpetuating stereotypes like that *is* sexist. May not have been intended to be, but so what? Still is.

In the future, don't.

For those who think that "I know a woman like that..." is a legitimate counter, try this on for size:

I know a black man who was a thief. Would that make it OK for me to say "Blacks are thieves?"



pax / Ctein

Fair enough!


"Would that make it OK for me to say 'Blacks are thieves?'"

Bad analogy, because liking shoes isn't a negative trait or behavior.

Not all men like gadgets. Not all women like shoes. I think we all understand that.


Yes, what Mike said. I just saw that now, after composing this reply to Ctein:

I must say I'm quite surprised at this reaction. To me there's nothing sexist whatsoever about it. It's a light joke, like saying "white men can't dance" or "let's find a gay guy to give you a make-over".

Just to make sure: you are saying it is sexist against *women*, yes? Because I don't see how it's more or less sexist to say "women like shoes" than "men like gadgets". Besides, while both are over-generalizations (you do that in humor), there's nothing wrong with liking shoes, or gadgets, or not liking shoes, or gadgets.

If you say that taken out of context as it was, it can be seen as sexist, I apologize to anybody offended.

But I think that if we continue to pack ourselves in cotton by trying to wipe out anything which has the faintest potential to be seen as offensive to anybody, then we'll end up becoming so thin-skinned as to be defenseless against the real problems in the world. You know, like somebody who beat his wife every week, not to mention war, drugs, etc etc.

Actually, Mike, you'd be surprised about how negative the shoe thing can be.

Again, it's the death by a thousand papercuts thing.

If you grow up female, you get told a bajillion times that what "you" like to do is "go shopping," that somehow you are biologically wired for it, etc. - while at the same time it's almost always presented as this silly, frivolous activity. A silly, frivolous, inherently female activity - and so, by extension, implies that women are themselves silly, frivolous creatures, not to be taken seriously.

I know you didn't mean anything by it - heck, I've found myself making an omigod SHOEZ! joke here and there myself - but these things add up, in slow and subtle fashion, so I like to point them out when I can. It's a bit like picking up a grain of sand off a mountain, but the alternative is to lie there passively and let yourself be covered with sand.

You didn't think you were going to get all this response to a little one line quip, did you? :)

Can I add, that I do appreciate that you're willing to hear criticism on this? So often, the immediate reaction is angry defensiveness. So thank you!

"Not all men like gadgets. Not all women like shoes. I think we all understand that."

Frankly, I'd go so far to say MOST men do not obsess over gadgets* and MOST women do not obsess over shoes.

*except for most snapshooters.

"You didn't think you were going to get all this response to a little one line quip, did you? :)"

Actually, no, I didn't. But the thing that disappoints me is that we're not talking about the *photographic* implications of what Eolake originally said, which is the only reason I posted it. I actually have no interest in making any sort of claims about women and shoes one way or another. Nor am I interested in discussing that.

As I read it, he's saying that there's nothing really serious or necessary about the fact that some males put so much energy, effort, and emotion into their gadget purchases, and then argue (defend or attack) each other based on those choices; in reality (he's saying--in my interpretation--) it's not necessary or serious or important, it's just a relatively knee-jerk, gender-conditioned behavior, self-indulgent, and (yes) faintly silly.

It's those implications of the statement that interested me, not the possibility that his way of saying it might give somebody a papercut...although of course I don't like to give any reader any sort of cut.


"Oh man... you've really started something. Have a peek at this image which appeared today on the 1X.com site... http://1x.com/v2/#photos/latest-additions/27480/ "

If a man, try and stand as if in high heel shoes. Your body will tip forward tilting the upper pelvis down and forward, and to compensate to not generally fall forward, you will lean back from the lower spine, essentially tilting forward at the pelvis and reverse balancing at the low back.

This can put tremendous pressure on the spinal complex structures and also manages to pinch up circulation - fluids can more easily pool up creating a kind of stagnation gradually taking place in the pelvis. This affects women further in the remaining parts of the spine which also must compensate in various directions.

Hence especially the pelvic organs can suffer in the long run and spinal surfaces and nerves take a hit. This can cause or exacerbate back pain of various types and even cause referred pain to different parts of the body.

So, not to get too long in the tooth with this, it ain't worth it.

There's more. But, I'll take a break instead.

Personally, as a male, I am deeply offended. They are not gadgets, they are tools. PFUI.

Me dear lamented mother, a very successful business person, would have viewed her vast collection of high heels, as TOOLS. She had the legs, and needed the height. All part of the "sales" pitch.

I hope I'm not pouring gasoline, here. :-)

Whether sexist or not, more importantly, it's false. Not only do I have more shoes than gadgets (because men my size can only indulge in a bit o' sartorial fun with those) but I've never seen any woman (in real life, not on 'Sex & The City') obsess so mind-numbingly and fastidiously about the minute details of their shoes as I've witnessed grown men obsess over minute details of their gadgets (in real life, not least on TOP :))

Dear Mike,
Yes, thank you, that's just what I meant.
I am well off by many standards, and since I live well beneath my means, I can afford cameras. And this has resulted in me buying a new camera every time the industry has made a small step forward. And you know how many times that has happened.

A little girl asked me why I had so many cameras around. I said, "it's like your dolls and bears, they comfort me".

But like you say, self-indulgent and silly. Do I need a 500D *and* a Limux G1 *and* a D90? Of course not.

Well, could be worse, I could be addicted to serious gambling or heroin or web browsing. Uh, oops.

Dear Mike,

The disappointment is of your own making. There's an easy fix: The next time you want to make a photographic point, don't try to bring it home with a sexist remark.

Rana so eloquently defended this position (and my previous post) against yours and Eolake's protestations that anything said further would be redundant. As they say on the street, "What she said."

pax / Ctein

Oh please! What a 1950s viewpoint, for God's sake! I hope my images are evidence that I care a hell of a lot more about camera gear than shoes. Or purses. Or pots and pans. Or makeup and clothes. Or decorating.

Wow. I mentioned Eolake's quote to my wife and she found it to be funny. This was before I read these comments.

There are countless issues regarding women (and thus, men) that are so much larger than the "grain of sand" (to use Rana's words, which correctly reflect the stature of any unintended slight caused by the shoe comment) that I think the hoopla is not warranted here.

Camera mania can be silly. Shoe mania can be silly. Humans-male and female-can be silly. Let's move forward and be nice to each other...

I think it is a silly sentence and suggests something about the little grey cells of the person who wrote it and he who perpetuates it.

I really think the quote jibed men as much as it did women.

I'm tired of women suggesting all I need to have a good time is a half-ton truck, morning sex, and more gravy.

So what?

The moment you start thinking yourself the only victim in the world is the beginning of a very small world.

Stephen Gillette wrote, "Wow. I mentioned Eolake's quote to my wife and she found it to be funny."

My pencil-slim fashion-conscious ex-model wife thought it very amusing too... although she hasn't bought a pair of shoes for 20 years, nor been able to wear any for the past ten. For someone who used to literally dance on their feet whilst simply striding down the street (but whose legs have been completely paralysed by M.S. for the past decade) to laugh at the OP's comment was doubly amusing... and of course she still dreams of those cute click-clack attention grabbers!

"The next time you want to make a photographic point, don't try to bring it home with a sexist remark.

pax / Ctein"

Saying women like shoes is sexist but saying men like gadgets isn't? I don't like any forms of discrimination but if the the original quote is ‘sexist’, it is only so in that it draws a distinction between the behaviours of men and women and then points out that there is very little difference.

It is sexist, however, to deliberately ignore the parallels being drawn and to leap to the defence of women as if (a) they need defending and (b) men aren’t being parodied as well.

Amazing !!!
Ok, so I pop in the discussion. I am a female homo sapiens. Quite happy to be.
There are so many interesting issues raised here, and I guess I won't have time for all of them, but here are a few thoughts.
the form of the quote is not good enough. It kind of doesn't have enough flesh, it's too skinny. I thought this **before** all this discussion, before I saw it on Mike's blog . And this because I really loved that sentence on Eolake's blog (here) when he put it there, making fun of himself in the context where it appeared, after loads of camera reviews he had just made.
(But that would be from my point of view)
"I used to look at photographer's gears and knowledge with great awe, wondering how they can know and use appropriately all those different cameras and lenses. I have two cameras, five lenses, and was slightly feeling small, not professional enough... But then I realized (Eolake wrote) that gears are to men what shoes are to women. That was a relief. I just stopped feeling small, and when I saw a new review on Eolake's blog, I just indulgently laughed about it the same way as when my 20 years old sister buys her 20st pair of shoes, or my 10 years old brother gets his 20st electric train after begging for it a few days, or when I buy a new mug as if I didn't have at least 20 at home already. And since then I just feel so happy about my five lenses. So much easier to carry outdoors in one bag than if I had 20."
Ok, this is much too long for a quote. Well, at least it tells the story of how I percieve this sentence in the context where it was published.
Now, on a different subject, here is a nice short poem about a shift of perception (Sorry I don't remember the writer, the quote won't be accurate, but you will understand what I mean. It is meant as a child's poem.)
** I used to collect stamps.
One day, my daddy bought me on kilo of stamps.
I don't collect stamps any more. **
This is nice, short but with enough flesh, and I remember it because I found it funny when I read it, some ten years ago. I think Eolake's one-sentence would need some more flesh to make the content more vivid.
And no more time for other ideas, but i guess that is already enough.... I really have to go... :-)

I'm totally, completely, absolutely stunned that, following the 'sexist' bent this thread has taken, no-one has made any comment at all on the primary business interest of Eolake Stobblehouse
------ which may throw some light on his original quote (and add fuel to the flames!)
Now, all I need to do is duck, and sit back and watch :-)

I, as a man, am offended by this characterization.

No, wait. While I'm not obsessed with gadgets (anymore), I'm also not obsessed with being politically correct to a fault or finding slight in every light joke.

Cheer up, everyone, and stop taking everything so seriously. Men are ridiculed in the media for being insensitive, smelly, clumsy, no good with feelings, incapable of dressing properly, lacking social grace etc. I am, to some degree, guilty of all these, and I laugh at every reasonably good joke about it. I even enjoyed watching Sex and the City, well, at least until the writing got really awful, and I'm quite sure if someone tried to do the jokes used in that series on women rather than men, they'd be tarred, feathered and quite possibly crucified by the PC Brigade.
But they were good jokes and they made me laugh, and if I'm to be the butt of them, so what.

(Maybe it's just that I'm blessed with a girlfriend with great taste in inexpensive shoes. She obsesses over shoes, and don't even get me started on purses, but she's not a brand fetishist. She also takes better pictures than I do, but she's inexplicably disinterested in any tech specs.)

Dear Dali,

Not gonna happen, because Mike has a "no ad hominem" rule, and there's no way that direction could avoid descending into personal attack and insult. Most of us understand and respect that rule.

pax / Ctein

In my case, cameras are to me what hamburgers were to J. Wellington Wimpey.

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