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Friday, August 29, 2008

Vegan Shoes?

In my constant search of things about which I can rant, one of my bookmarked sites is the PETA media page. It's fun to see what crazy letters they're sending to celebrities, which cities are hosting the circus (which means PETA urges them to ban bullhooks, cattle prods and also the circus), and where they plan to parade out their "Lettuce Ladies" who pander to men who are manly enough to enjoy ogling hot chicks in bikinis but pansy enough to enjoy that the bikinis are lettuce leaves and care about whatever message PETA paraded them out to send (this week it's Canadian KFCs to promote the fake-chicken sammiches). Today I stumbled upon a media center bulletin titled "PETA Names the 10 Best Stores for Vegan Shoes" and thought:

"I didn't know they made shoes that eat meat and dairy!"

Aside from that obvious joke, I really don't understand what "vegan shoes" really are, other than the subset of shoes NOT made out of an animal. Or made of dairy products or eggs? Do they really make shoes out of eggs or butter somewhere? Can you get a pair of extra sharp cheddar stilettos? Man - this really is just a nonsensical topic that brings out all sorts of jokes and ridicule, isn't it?

So my first thought is that these stores are all places where they only sell those kinds of non-animal-based shoes and don't test their shoes on animals and don't also sell cheeseburgers as well as shoes. That would kind of make sense; find 10 stores that don't sell leather shoes and call it a day, right?

Well apparently such is NOT the case. Because the first store on the list is:

Zappos.com: Now PETA seems to be flaunting this website for the fact that it carries "Stella McCartney's line of vegan shoes for Adidas", which I guess isn't sold everywhere? The problem is that Zappos.com is a freaking HUGE website. You know what else you can get at Zappos.com? BRUNO MAGLI Raggoso Alligator Loafers. Suck it, PETA!

Bourgeois Bohème: Okay, this site ONLY sells shoes and accessories that are "free from animal ingredients" and vegan-friendly. However, this site DOES sell faux-leather products - which I thought PETA was supposed to be against. After all, the activist group is known for throwing paint on ALL fur, whether it's real or fake, because even if it's fake it still PROMOTES the real stuff. That's why I haven't been able to figure much out with PETA lately. I can understand that fake-meat products are designed to satisfy a "meat craving" as you wean yourself off meat products or if you want to enjoy meat products because that's what your body naturally wants and you're an idiot and feel too guilty so you have to grab some fauxburger instead. But wearing fake leather? That's an IMAGE thing you're craving. You WANT people to think your shoes are made from 100% dead animal because that's what leather is and that's what you want it to look like (even if it's not). The real scariness about this company is this excerpt from their FAQ asking about the company really being vegan:

"We are a vegan owned and run company and make sure that everything we sell and use (including our office cookies and cakes!) are vegan and 100% cruelty free."

It must really suck to work there if you're a normal meat-and-cheese-eating human being.

Moo Shoes: I seriously don't understand the name of this company. I saw "Moo Shoes" on the list and all my brain could muster was COW + SHOE = LEATHER SHOES. I don't know how you can have the word 'Moo' in the title and not have any cow in the product list. If I were searching for a real authentic leather boot, I'd expect to find one at Moo Shoes. And I would be sorely mistaken and possibly homicidal with rage at the blatantly-false advertising. The website claims it's the the first cruelty-free store of its kind in New York City, but I'm guessing that if you walked in with a turkey leg in one hand and a "Fake Leather is for Fake People" sign in the other, you'd experience some cruelty from the high-strung vegan salespeople.

Payless Shoe Source: There's not much to say about Payless that I haven't already said about Zappos.com in the sense that "yes, they sell shoes not made from animal hides, but they also sell shoes that ARE made from animal hides." The proof is in the pudding, as I really ONLY buy my shoes from Payless and they happen to be these awesome leather ones that I'm wearing right now. Okay, I also buy a snazzy Velcro pair every now and then because my laziness knows no bounds. Well, it knows the specific bound of "not having to tie shoes" - but at least it's consistent!

Target: Yet another large store that HAPPENS to sell shoes that don't have leather (which makes PETA happy), yet also definitely sells many shoes that ARE made of leather (and possibly makes PETA cry). The bonus for me is that this isn't just a clothing/shoes store (despite it being on PETA's vegan shoes list) and you can also buy tasty non-vegan food items like an anti-vegan basket of Hickory Farms meat and cheese or something that promotes the meaty lifestyle, like a freakin' MEAT GRINDER! If you happen to buy some vegan shoes here because of PETA's awesome list, you should definitely thank them with a Hickory Farms gift basket.

Chinese Laundry: Okay, I'm not sure if this even is a shoe store based on name alone. It's only by daring to click the link provided by PETA that I found out that yes, they do sell vegan shoes. They have their own little category for all of them. Of course, since they want to be a REAL company, they also will sell you non-vegan shoes, like this leather shoe with an added snake skin print twist. I was afraid this would be another stupidly-named all-vegan company like Moo Shoes up there, but they reserved all their stupidity for their non-shoe-related borderline-racist name of Chinese Laundry and left out the all-vegan part.

Life Stride: Okay, so based on PETA's description, I thought I'd be in for another challenge here. They describe Life Stride by saying that their "nearly 100 percent vegan line of business and casual shoes" can be bought at many major blah blah blah... Did you see the word NEARLY printed in there? I did. And sure enough, you can find, oh, at least 172 kinds of leather shoes on their website. I'm still starting to think that a "vegan shoe store" in PETA's eyes means that they don't ENTIRELY sell leather shoes. If you can find ONE pair of plastic shoes there, it can count as a vegan-friendly shoe store. Which is like saying that an all-beef hot dog stand is vegetarian friendly because they'll sell you an empty bun.

AlternativeOutfitters.com: Okay, I have to give this company credit - they're another 100% vegan-friendly store and all my efforts to find leather and fur and beef jerky have come up empty. However, there's a disgusting amount of usage of "PLEATHER" at this store. I can stand seeing the words "fake leather" or "faux-leather" or something that sounds sensible. But if you say the word "pleather" out loud, don't you get this nasty taste in your mouth and the irresistable urge to punch something to make the sadness go away? I know I do! So since I can't ridicule this site by pointing out any not-purely-veganness and I've already poked fun at crazy vegan company info and I can't claim the company's name is something stupid... I'll just have to point out that you can buy an IRREGULAR Tan Vegan Belt with "Rhinestone and Turquoise" Buckle. If you look at that product and would ever consider purchasing it - do humanity a favor and kill yourself.

T.U.K.: This website kind of looks like it was built by a gloomy 14-year-old gothic kid from MySpace. The link they give you takes you to a selection of vegan-leather heels all in pink and black "retro" styles. But don't worry. Just because you want to live in the darkness and torture that all those animals go through, doesn't mean you can't wear their tanned and flayed flesh on your feet - as is evident in the BLACK STUDDED LEATHER CREEPER SNEAKER WITH BONDAGE STRAP. I kind of giggled - and were it not for the fact that they cost $50 (+S&H), I'd consider getting them because they look so faux-awesome instead of being faux-leather.

Journeys: Just your run-of-the-mill store that happens to sell some fake-leather products (PETA's link takes you to the Girls section rather than a vegan section for some reason) but sells a lot of products with real leather. My favorite product that I randomly clicked on when I searched for "leather" is this belt buckle shaped like a pair of blue sunglasses. How would they show up in my search for leather? Description: To be used with leather belts only. I honestly don't know what kind of belt buckle can ONLY be used with leather, but I like to think that it would sit at the "cool buckle table" at the metaphorical belt buckle high school cafeteria.

So there you have it - a scathing endictment of PETA's 10 Best Stores for Vegan Shoes.

Let the comments commence!!

(Sorry for such a link-heavy post today.)

Feel free to Digg it anyway!


Anonymous said...

If I had as much time as you clearly have on your hands and I chose to spend it ranting about vegetarians, I'd probably shoot myself, because my life really would be THAT empty.

Anonymous said...

Great Comment! That is precisely how I feel about this poster! I only read it to see how much more stupid he is getting.

Anonymous said...

Most vegan shoe sites take care to mention that they're either fair trade or made in the USA and that very fact alone shows that people who adopt veganism have a much wider reaching awareness about their own personal impact on people, animals and the rest of the world outside of themselves.

I can understand resistance to accept that leather and sweatshops cause suffering and that there's simple alternatives to that way of living. As Americans we're brought up to be at least marginally isolationist and blind to social problems, especially when it's linked to eating habits or capitalism. What I don't understand though, is dullwitted humor directed at people who are intelligent enough to accept this and want to do something about it.

Anonymous said...

live in the darkness and torture that all those animals go through

Well, at least you admitted what factory farming really is.

Too bad you're too ridiculous to have a normal human reaction to the suffering you're completely aware of though.

Kara said...

I'm so glad I can wake up everyday and stap on my favorite pair of black leather sneakers. Then when I get home I like to switch to my brown leather sandals while I walk my dog. The are the most comfortable shoes and made form 100% dead burnt and tanned animal hide. And I wouldn't want them any other way. I honestly don't give a damn what happens to the cows or the snakes or the gators that I end up wearing. All I care about is how their neat little strips of hide wrap my dainty feet.