You may have noticed that Kristen Stewart (of Twilight fame) walked the red carpet at the Academy Awards on crutches. The excuse? The story is that she cut her foot on broken glass.
But I have my doubts.
We’ve heard this kind of story before. You may recall that Serena Williams lost a lot of tennis time from supposedly cutting her bare foot on glass in a restaurant. But there were oddities to that story, as I wrote about in Foot Fault. It seems as if cutting one’s foot while walking barefoot is a standard excuse, and works to perpetuate the myth that walking around barefoot is really dangerous. I wrote about that in How Barefoot Myths Are Propagated, when the story seemed to change.
It’s really pretty hard to cut your foot on broken glass, as I showed in this youtube video.
Here Kristen is, picture from here:
Those are pretty high heels (peeping out from under the dress) for a foot injury. Really high.
However, that’s the left foot, and from watching video of her hobbling, it’s pretty clear that she it was her right foot that she hurt, and she was wearing something else, something shorter, on that foot.
But, where did the broken glass excuse come from? The first explanation we got was merely, “I’m an idiot”, said on the red carpet. I’m not sure how “I’m an idiot” explains accidentally stepping barefoot on broken glass.
But then supposedly she told Anne Hathaway that she had stepped on the glass. She told her “I’m gonna hobble. I just hope it doesn’t open up right now.”
The story got more extensive later, according to her makeup artist, Beau Nelson, who is quoted as saying she “cut the ball of her foot, quite severely, on glass two days ago.”
I suppose that’s possible.
But then there are other stories. This one, Kristen Stewart’s Crutches And Bruised Arm On Oscar Red Carpet Raises Questions, notes that she also had a bruise on her arm.
And this story in the Daily Mail on Tuesday, That looks painful! Kristen Stewart limps awkwardly on injured foot during outing with friend, shows her out and about with a clear bruise on her right ankle.
This sure looks different than cutting the ball of her foot on broken glass. It sure makes me wonder if that’s just the cover story for what really happened. And “cut my foot on broken glass” is just such a convenient excuse for explaining a limp. (Also note that, while it might be possible to step on the glass and fall, bruising one’s arm, it’s hard to imagine also bruising the ankle on the same foot. As soon as you step on glass and feel it, you’d be raising your foot, not putting the sort of weight on it that would bruise it.)
The problem from a barefooter’s point of view is that, if it is not true, it just spreads a myth and makes more and more people believe that it has a real basis in fact. It confirms their biases. I’m afraid it also works well as a cover story, since so many will believe it so readily.
It also makes it harder for those of us who go barefoot to be able to do so, since all sorts of businesses see the story and believe it unquestioningly.
We’ll probably never find out what really happened, but unfortunately, the supposed danger of walking barefoot has now been reinforced in so many minds.