There’s a real schizophrenia amongst the public when it comes to bare feet. On the one foot, there’s the whole problem of being in public with bare feet. On the other foot, people also recognize just how comfortable and natural it is.
The latter point is so true that even advertisers try to sell their products by depicting bare feet.
Take a look at this recent advertisement from “Travel Alberta” regarding Red Rock Canyon in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Play the whole thing through (it’s only 30 seconds) before continuing.
It’s really nice, and emphasizes bare feet as part of the experience. Of course, for barefoot hikers like myself, it just makes me salivate (or something).
I’ve actually been there.
Here’s a picture of my Mother from when I was there back in 1971. I’m afraid I wasn’t a barefooter back then, and I don’t recall traversing the canyon as in the video.
However, let’s look at the video a bit closer.
It’s portrayed by the advertisers as a great trek.
[Click on the picture for the larger version.]
Even more so, it is perfect for going barefoot.
That’s the sensual experience. It’s the advertiser using the joys of being barefoot in nature as the selling point.
This is the boy’s bare foot. Just compare the shorts shown in the previous shot with this picture.
They even emphasizes it by reminding us to “remember to breathe”, with the bare foot leaving a noticeable wet footprint on the rock.
But wait. What’s this?
I guess the experience isn’t enough for the girl to go barefoot. Water sandals. Bleah.
Well, at least the boy is enjoying a barefoot experience in such a wonderful place.
Or is he? Do I detect a hint of darkness?
Let’s blow that up.
It sure looks to me as if he is shod. So why the heck were they showing us bare feet traversing the rocks?
Can we check this out?
Yes, we can. Because “Travel Alberta” also put together another video that incorporates shots from the same shoot, There Is.
Here’s a screen capture:
pisses ticks me off. Both of the kids were wearing shoes. But, purely for advertising purposes, they include barefooting shots just to play on our emotions, to lure us to the location. They’re the embodiment of the barefoot schizophrenia.
They know that being barefoot evokes an emotional response of purity, naturalism, and fun. But they still have their actors (because that’s what they were—it’s an advertisement, after all) be shod when it might not be noticed.
But we can ignore that. Even though they’ve punked us, we can go there and really do Red Rock Canyon properly.