I am often amused about the way that some barefooters will see a commercial that includes bare feet for some reason and then try so hard to interpret that as some sort of increased acceptance of bare feet, or that the ad writer is conveying how freeing going barefoot is.
I suspect it is just some sort of bareidolia.*
Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the bare feet in commercials really are showing a bit of rebellion or freedom or just plain comfort in one’s own home. But that doesn’t mean that’s the message of every bare foot.
Take, for example, a new commercial for J’adore, a perfume from Christian Dior.
It starts with actress Charlize Theron walking down a long, wide hallway, wearing classic foot-killers.
A long scarf drops from the ceiling. She gets to it, removes her shoes, and then starts climbing the scarf.
Oh, wow. She’s escaping the humdrum world. It’s a great new future without any shoes. As one barefooter put it, she’s moving into a brighter future, and part of that new golden future is leaving a shoe-obsessed world behind and entering a new shoe-free world. It might even promote a barefoot lifestyle.
She continues to climb up to the top of a dome.
At the top she climbs through a hole in the dome, still barefooted (oh, wow), and stands on top. It’s the barefoot lifestyle!
Here’s the whole commercial.
It’s escaping to a barefoot lifestyle!
Uh, not really. The whole scarf-climbing thing (including the way she wrapped the scarf around her leg at the beginning), is an art form called Aerial Silk. There’s even a Wikihow page on how to do aerial silks.
Aerial silk is always done barefoot. Here, for instance, you can see an example from Dusol Productions.
(By the way, on that page they also show “Ice Silking” where the artists start in ice skates. But then they take them off to do the aerial silking. They’re promoting the barefoot lifestyle!)
Bare feet are part of how you do it.
This is like seeing a commercial featuring a gymnast who arrives at the gym shod, takes off her shoes, and then does floor exercise.
[Picture from here.]
It’s not a promotion of the freedom of bare feet, or promoting a barefoot lifestyle. Bare feet are part of how you do it.
Yes, there is a good reason that it is done barefoot: it’s because you need to feel and grip the mat to do it right. That’s worth promoting on our part, about how bare feet work and are better than shod feet. That’s true with aerial silk, too. Shoes would really get in the way and would probably get caught in the silk (that goes double for ice skates!).
But I really doubt that most folks would get out of seeing either activity that the freedom of bare feet was being promoted.
It’s kind of like seeing a commercial in which somebody gets out of a shower barefoot and thinking it’s a wonderful subliminal advertisement for going barefoot.
* See pareidolia.