Yesterday I had to go to the mall. Again.
My relationship with malls is fraught at the best of times. I get antsy in foodcourts. I become unreasonably annoyed by slow-moving family groups. And yet, malls are where the department stores live and the shops with all the clothes that I don't really need to buy but will anyway. And, I'm going to be honest, I do like the vastness and comparative anonymity that one gets in mall toilets. So many stalls to choose from! I'm going to choose the one in the furthest corner so no one can hear me pee!
So let's just say that when it comes to suburban shopping malls, I am ambivalent.
And perhaps that's why I'm struggling to understand the promotional poster I saw at Northlands Mall yesterday.
Yes. That is a woman with a shoe in her mouth.
No. I have no idea what we're supposed to make of this.
I get that in advertising it's common to picture women putting things near their faces. Lipstick for instance, or that weird thing where someone who's just done the laundry buries her face in it and inhales as if fabric softener is some kind of intoxicant. Fair enough, I can understand either of those things being near someone's face.
But let's be clear, the woman pictured is eating a shoe. And she's not even doing it in a sexy way. I realise that the idea that there is a sexy way in which someone might consume their own footwear is a bit a foreign notion. I think what I'm trying to get at is that there's no "only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate" vibe going on here.
When I look at this, all I get from it is:
"Oh Gog, hah muck wonger do I half do halve dis shoo in mah marf? It tace wike fwoor. I bwahshed my teef for dis?"
At times I would rather take a stiletto to the face than find myself in the mall but somehow I don't think this is the association they were going for.
And the thing is, I think I might be the target market for this poster. I'm a young(ish) woman with disposal income to spend on things like high heels and I'm very much a shoe enthusiast. But just because I like buying and owning impractical footwear doesn't mean that putting a shoe into an image will make me think "oh yes, that's something I'd be interested in". I also don't want everything in my life to be covered in depictions of shoes or shaped like a shoe. You can get "shoe" everything these days. Handbags shaped like shoes, tape dispensers, jewellery holders and various household knick-knacks. Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I like shoes. No, I don't need to be reminded that they exist every waking moment. No, I don't love them enough to want to nom one.
Do you find this poster as unappealing as I do? What do you think they were trying to get across? Can we just move on from the whole woman = shoe worshipper thing?