Growing up I was good in math/science. So the natural progression of being a child a of a liberal mom who started her career in the 70’s was to go into engineering.
“Have your own career. Don’t rely on a man for money.”
“ You can do anything the boys can do.”
I liked matchbox cars but I also loved cute dresses and purses. Most of the people in my classes were guys. there were a handful of girls in my college course. I got a job in manufacturing with the macho men. I was literally a little girl of 25 years with a bunch of guys. I didn’t know how to possess femininity yet be assertive. Women in my life were either nurturing or assertive and unapproachable. They weren’t elegant but in charge.
At this job, I had to wear steel toed shoes. So I climbed onto the shoe mobile where I was to find a pair of Steel Toed Shoes to wear EVERYDAY for my job in manufacturing no matter how uncomfortable or clunky.
“Do you have any cute steel toed shoes?” I asked the man working.
“It depends on your definition of cute” answered the middle aged overweight man with a plumbers crack to rival the San Andreas Fault. I took this as a “NO”
There were exactly 3 women’s shoe choices in a sea of men’s shoes. This made sense because there were probably 10 women working among 500 plus men. I get it and am a proponent of it’s what you do, how you perform and not “how you look”. But for me, for my comfort, for my confidence, for my sense of style, I would have liked a choice! Maybe a steel toed pump!
I had always want to prove that I could do whatever the boys did. I was good at math and science so naturally I went into engineering. Our mother’s burned their bras, had a career, and tried to break the glass ceiling so that we may have choices, opportunities, and the ability to change the man’s world. So I had to succeed and be like one of the boys. How could I enter this world with my feminine side intact but still be the assertive woman that I needed to be. To have the confidence to go for whatever I wanted. I wanted to create a place to discuss such issues and to help women to have the confidence to know that their goals and dreams are achievable and a place that women feel like they are part of the ‘ole girls club. From this idea came the term Steel Toe Pumps.