Picture this — a Cinderella-like giant glass shoe in a city, with brides and grooms posing in front of it. It sounds bizarre, but Taiwan is inaugurating a church in the shape of a crystal shoe on Feb. 8. As opposed to regular churches, this one is going to be a site for wedding pictures. Confused? So am I.
Apparently, Taiwan has done something like this before with a double arch “crystal church,” also
catered to wedding pictures. There is, however, something about creating a crystal stiletto that irks me, and it is the underlying — scratch that — very explicit sexism behind this sculpture.
The government spokesman for this project, Zheng Rongfeng, said this monument will have “100 female-oriented features in the church like maple leaves, chairs for lovers, biscuits and cakes.” Biscuits and cakes? Seriously? By default, I do not understand why any of these things are being labeled as feminine.
Why is it that anything related to marriage has to be considered feminine? In 2016, people are constantly advocating for equality and the breakdown of patriarchal social constructs. Saying that this shoe church will be “tailored to women, especially female tourists visiting the area,” is backward. Some people might argue that it’s good that the church at least focuses on women. To that, I say that this kind of focus, an almost demeaning, childlike focus, does more harm than good.
This opinion is shared among many critics of the monument. Several women believe that this church does nothing but objectify women and reduce them to a stereotype. A stiletto does not make a woman any more feminine than driving a stick shift makes a man more masculine.
Even as I write this, I am sardonically laughing because I should not be writing anything like this. It is 2016. Artificial intelligence and climate change are such important topics that should be focused on, but instead, people are talking about something that frankly should be common sense. Sexism and the objectification of women should not exist.
If Taiwan wants to build wedding churches for extravagant wedding photo shoots, fine, but Taiwan should also remember that women are not the only ones who get married. In today’s world, it should be okay and normal for a woman to not be interested in getting married, and I do see that happening around me, but structures like these backlog the process. Hence, I hope people remember something important: your gender should not stop you from doing what you want to do.
Cinderella is a fairytale that was fit for its time. Here is a fairytale that is fit for our time: Once upon a time, some women loved glass slippers. Others hated them, but they lived happily ever after in a harmonious world that did not dictate what they should be doing, wearing or thinking. The end.