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What is the significance of shoes to a person? Are they used to show one's sense of style or just to prevent the feet from getting dirt and germs? What do shoes say about a woman personality and sense of style? In the African society for instance, it is believed that a modern African man is not judge by his looks but rather by the type of shoe he is wearing. For the women the case is different, this is because different shoe pass a different message about the woman's character; there are high heels, flat, closed and open shoes and each of them when worn by a women gives a different impression.
The purpose of this paper is not to entirely focus on women shoes but women in general; the paper will critically review an article written by one of the most celebrated psychologist Michelle Scalise Sugiyama. It will give the summary of the key points as bought out by the author; in addition to that the paper will also point out the author's strengths and weakness. It is however important to note that the main focus in the article is the different aspects of feminism from physical body to dress code especially shoes. The paper will however start off by giving a brief over view from the short story "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros which is the primary source of the article. In conclusion, the paper will give a brief summary of the key points that would have been discussed in the paper.
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To be able to understand the authors point of view in the article, it is important to first comprehend the main points from the short story that the author has heavily borrowed from; "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros. In this story the center of attention is on women and the struggle they had to endure in order to earn a decent living for themselves in the society. The main themes in this story are feminism and sex, how women are viewed by the society. In addition to that the story is about gender struggle between men and women and how they (women) are treated. There are different female characters in the story and each of them is used by the author to pass a different message for instance there is Esperanza who is the main character and she is used to represents power and strength of woman. She lived in a congested and poor neighborhood and this gives her the will and determination to work hard and own her own house away from the mango street. She also hopes that once she becomes successful, she will help the other members of the society to eradicated poverty and make their lives better. She managed to achieve this when she discovered she was a talented writer and it is her writing skills that enabled her live a better life that her peers. Her mum (Esperanza's mother) is also another influential female figure in the short story; she has been portrayed as a strong willed and intelligent woman who provides guidance and comfort to her daughter. Apart from the determination and power and bought out by the author, she has also critically discussed sexism; for instances she has described the changes that the Esperanza went through during her adolescence; both physical and emotional changes, she had her first crush and the sexual assault that she had to go through. It is this sexual assault that changed her perspective towards men and gave her a reason to work even harder to get out of this neighborhood. It is also after the assault that she directed her anger towards fellow women for failing to mount a spirited fight against the rights of women in order to protect them from falling prey to sexual predators. This then brings us to the question, what does the short story "The House on Mango Street" has to do with the article under review?
Michelle Scalise Sugiyama has used the female characters in the short story "The House on Mango Street" to explain the impact of shoes to the woman body. In the article, she has explained that when women wear high heel shoes, they discover that they have legs that are good looking and sexy. It is because of this that the girls feel strong and powerful when they walk around. The end result of this is that men become sexual aroused when they come across women wearing high heels and crossing and uncrossing their legs, this was the situation after Esperanza and her fellow age mates were taught by the older women on how to behave while wearing high heels. In the article, the author has observed that it is not only the strutting of legs that made women powerful but also the effects of the hips; women who wear high heels tend to have more firm and appealing buttocks as compared to those ladies that wear flat shoes.
In any society especially the modern society, there is always a battle for supremacy between men and women and one of them wants to the superior over the other. In the short story "The House on Mango Street", most women desired to get married in order to have freedom from their parents; however this is not the treatment that they received because once they married they were subjected to a more cruel life from their husbands. In her article, Michelle Scalise Sugiyama has indicated that women use sex and marriage as an escape route, she has given an example of sally a character in "The House on Mango Street" who believed that by getting married she will have a chance to buy anything she wanted because her husband will give her money. This is the beauty of marriage; however in the same institution of marriage Sally had to persevere the cruelty from her husband who on more than one occasion became violent towards her. This is a clear indication that marriage is not a bed of roses as portrayed by the media and other channels of entertainment.
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The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Article
After having looked at the key points in the article and what message the author was trying to pass across, it is important to also look at the authors strong areas of reasoning as well as those areas that she did not fair on well. Feminism, as a theme the author has bought it out in an excellent manner especially the use of shoe. Another area that the author has scored big is the way she has used the short story "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros to show that women despite the fact that they are believed to be the weaker sex they still have what it takes to make an impact in the male dominated society. On a negative note thou the author has displayed women more as toys that men can use for their own pleasure, as women struggle to make a positive impact in the society, they are branded prostitutes and loose. Marriage is also another institution that has been given a bad image; whereas people get into marriage because of the desired to be loved and companionship, she has portrayed marriage as an escape route that women use to escape the bondage of their cruel parents. This is not true because marriage is sacred and holly.
In summation, reading the article gives one the impression of how the modern society has changed. Women are no longer submissive to men and they are struggling to attain financial independence by looking for employment opportunities. This essay paper has critically analyzed the article by Michelle Scalise Sugiyama, it has however started off by looking at the short story "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros which is the main source for the article. It has discussed the symbolic meaning of the high heel shoes and the impact that they have on women and the society in general. In last chapter, the paper has mentioned the strong and weak areas in the article.