A barefooted individual could be unmistakably identified as unfree and therefore be attributed with the lowest social status at first sight, being either a slave or a prisoner. As a consequence appearing barefoot in public was strictly avoided by common citizens. In many states this perception is prevalent to this day and shoes are typically also worn in the private space while being barefoot is placed under taboo see above. In societies where slavery is still unofficially practiced this rule pertains to this day.
For example the Tuareg are known still to practice slavery and force their slaves to go barefoot. In several countries of the world prisoners generally have to remain barefoot. This not only serves the purpose of unmistakable identification but also places the prison inmates in a physical disadvantage against their warders. Keeping detainees with bare feet makes it more difficult for them to put up resistance against the authorities and to escape from custody.
Taking away the footwear from a captive altogether has been a common practice throughout most civilized societies. This was the case as the visual result could be achieved almost effortlessly and it was an easily recognizable indicator. As a result bare feet have commonly been received as a characteristic of unfree individuals, also prevalent in most times and places where slavery existed. In historical periods such as the middle ages, where distinct footwear was used to display social status and rank, having to go shoeless was looked upon as a severe form of degradation.
The present ISIS usually deprives their captives of footwear, presumably for identification purposes opposite the booted combatants as well as to prevent resistance and escape. In Thailand, a defendant must strictly be barefoot in court during the penal proceedings. In Germany it was usual practice during the Nazi-era to keep female prisoners barefoot. In work camps women also had to perform forced labor with bare feet, even under adverse weather conditions. This was done to reduce the cost for clothing items and also to contain and intimidate the captives. In women's prisons of East Germany especially political prisoners could have their footwear seized and be detained barefoot as an aggravation of their punishment.
In parts of the United States forcing prisoners to go barefoot has been common with female prisoners up until the early 20th century. Especially in Texas it was usual practice on the part of the authorities to deny the convicted women any footwear and to keep them barefoot during their incarceration. This was contrary to the handling of detained men, who were provided with adequate shoes as a standard feature.
The disparate treatment was practiced to indicate the hierarchy between male and female detainees. By keeping the female captives barefoot their subordination of the under the patriarchal system was showcased even in prison in an unmistakable way. This also conformed to the stance of the criminal courts towards prisoners, by whom they were regarded as official slaves of the state. By withholding any footwear from convicted women their status was reduced to be very similar to that of actual slaves, who were also commonly forced to go barefoot.
This was thus an example of discrimination against women. In the Bible there are multiple passages e. Ritual customs therefore consisted of publicly taking away the shoes of a disgraced person. This resulted in the individual being defamed as a literal barefooter culminating in the loss of any social standing. On the other hand, taking off the shoes voluntarily and exposing one's bare feet is regarded as a token of submission and humility in the Bible.
This included the religious subjection under higher powers as well as the subjection under a mundane authority. Therefore it was concluded to be imperative for prisoners or captives to be kept barefoot and in light clothing as a token of their submission.
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During the era of the Catholic Inquisition it was a conviction that women allegedly practicing witchcraft had their ability to use their "sinister powers" largely impaired if they were barefoot. Therefore the arrested women first had their footwear taken away and it was ensured that they remained barefoot at all times. Due to interpretations of the Malleus Maleficarum it was believed that in case an accused witch was not strictly kept with bare feet she could cast a spell on people by only looking at them.
As the prosecutors wanted to avoid any risks, it was ensured that the bare feet of the women remained visible throughout. During questioning or in court the accused women often had to stand within the boundaries of a consecrated spot with the soles of their bare feet constantly being in contact with the sanctified section of the ground. This was believed to inhibit any of their purported magic powers entirely. Therefore the women were prevented from even looking at the prosecutors when their feet were not strictly in place.
To further ensure safety they were often lead in walking backwards for their court sessions. They were not allowed to turn around until their bare feet were visibly placed within the bounded spot. As the accused women were not able use magic after all, this assumption became accepted doctrine.
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Accordingly, contemporary depictions about inquisition proceedings or similar situations portray the women accused of witchcraft barefooted in almost every case. The soles of a barefoot person also serve as a specific target for corporal punishment , commonly referred to as "bastinado" foot whipping. This method is mainly used in the context of penal functions while the receiving person is usually held in a situation of imprisonment or custody.
The practice of foot whipping is still officially employed in several Middle Eastern nations where the term falaka is customary. This kind of beating was also frequently practiced in Western countries until the middle of the 20th century, where it is generally referred to as "Bastonade". Among others, it was common in German territories, where it was employed until the end of the Nazi-era , mainly within the reformatory and prison system.
In certain facilities it continued to be used up until the s. The beatings are usually aimed at the vaults of the foot, not directly hitting the bone structure of the balls and the heels. The vaults are highly pain-sensitive due to the tight clustering of nerve tissue in that area. As bastinado usually causes a high amount of suffering for the receiving person while physical evidence remains mostly undetectable after a certain time, it is often used for interrogation purposes in certain countries as well.
Many singers and dancers perform on stage barefoot. The classical dance of Cambodia had its roots in the holy dances of the legendary seductresses apsaras of ancient Cambodia and attained its high point during the Angkor period in its interpretations of the Indian epics, especially the Ramayana. Cambodian dancers were well-born women of the king's harem and danced barefoot, with the feet turned outwards and the legs slightly bent at the knee to cushion the movements of the upper body.
The unimpeded movement of the foot was essential to the art. When the land was invaded by the Thai, the dancers were taken to the Thai court, where their art was adapted and continued to flourish. The barefoot dance movement of the early 20th century challenged the received laws of classical dance and the broader laws of social decorum. For decades, the bare foot had been perceived as obscene, and no matter how determined barefoot dancers were to validate their art with reference to spiritual, artistic, historic, and organic concepts, barefoot dancing was inextricably linked in the public mind with indecency and sexual taboo.
In , Maud Allan shocked and fascinated London theatre-goers with her barefoot dance of desire in Salome , and scandalous tributes positioned her as the embodiment of lust. For many, barefoot dancing represented not only the freedom and horror of modern sexuality but the progress and decline of high culture. Californian Isadora Duncan revolutionized dance in the Western world by jettisoning the tutu and the pointe shoe of classical ballet and scandalized audiences by performing works of her own choreography in flowing draperies and bare feet. She anticipated the modern women's liberation movement by urging women to rid themselves of corsets and matrimony.
She believed her utopian dance vision and program would ameliorate the perceived ills of modern life and restore the world to the imagined perfection of Ancient Greece. The film The Barefoot Contessa tells the fictional story of Maria Vargas portrayed by Ava Gardner , a Spanish cabaret dancer of simple origins who frequently went barefoot. She was cast in a movie by writer and director Harry Dawes portrayed by Humphrey Bogart and became a major star. She liked the name because it went well with her simple and elegant cooking style. She sold the store in and wrote her first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook , which became one of the best-selling cookbooks of the year.
She would go on to write more cookbooks and, in , started production of a television show on the Food Network , also named the Barefoot Contessa , which continues to run. In the latter half of the 20th century, many singers, primarily females, have performed barefoot, a trend that continues in the early 21st century. One of the first singers to become well known for singing barefoot on stage was Sandie Shaw , who became known as the "Barefoot Pop Princess of the s.
He is perhaps best-remembered as being part of The World's Most Dangerous Band , the studio band on the Late Night With David Letterman show in the s, where he normally played barefoot, earning him the nickname "the barefoot guitarist". Others may do so to provide a more relaxing atmosphere and to calm them down. There are risks and benefits associated with going barefoot. Footwear provides some protection from puncture wounds from glass, nails, rocks, or thorns as well as abrasions, bruises, heat burns, electrical shock, and frostbite —but studies of people who habitually walk barefoot have consistently found that these problems are minimal, with only about 0.
Walking barefoot results in a more natural gait. People who are used to walking barefoot tend to land less forcefully, eliminating the hard heel strike and generating much less collision force in the foot and lower leg. A study examined modern humans and compared their feet with 2,year-old skeletons. They concluded that, before the invention of shoes, humans overall had healthier feet. Since there is no artificial protection of the bare foot, some of the possible issues include cuts, abrasions, bruises, or puncture wounds from glass, nails, rocks, or thorns, as well as poisonous plants, animals, or parasites that can enter the body through the cuts on an injured bare foot.
The fungus is known to only affect around 0. Wearing shoes such as flip flops or sandals in these areas can reduce the risk. The hookworm parasite, found only in warm, moist climates where human feces contaminated with hookworm larvae has been left in places where it might come into contact with human skin, can burrow through a bare human foot or any part of the body that comes into contact with it. The parasite may spread through contaminated material coming into contact with any part of the body, such as through flecks of mud splashing on an ankle or leg.
Since the hookworm infection is very cheap and easy to treat, and since it requires infected feces to come into contact with human skin within a particular time period, eradicating hookworm is mainly a matter of hygiene including the building of proper toilet and waste-disposal facilities and mass-treatment. In very cold weather, shoes can provide thermal insulation, protecting against frostbite. Issues that can develop as a result of someone who has always worn shoes going barefoot include calf pain or Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis due to shortening of the Achilles tendon and the foot being underdeveloped, due to regular use of shoes.
A careful transition eases or remove symptoms, which quickly vanish as the foot adapts. The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetics wear shoes and socks at all times. In the United States, there have been myths that regulations require the wearing of footwear.
In the United States, during the period of the counterculture movement of the s , business establishments would deny admittance to barefoot hippies arguing that health regulations required that shoes be worn. However, those regulations that exist apply only to employees and not customers. Some people speculate that driving barefoot increases the risk of an accident if bare feet slip off the pedals. There are several recreational activities one can participate in while barefoot.
Those involved in water sports such as swimming and water polo almost always participate barefoot due to the difficulty of swimming with footwear. Other common activities performed barefoot include yoga, pilates, hiking , running, driving, water skiing, touch rugby , soccer , beach volleyball , surfing , tubing , gymnastics , Slacklining , and martial arts. Wrestling can be done barefoot.
The second theory is that shoes and socks absorbed kinetic energy, and kicking flesh-to-leather created more torque. People of all ages all over the world can participate in barefoot hiking, gathering for walks through forest and hiking trails sans footwear. Barefoot hikers claim that they feel a sense of communion with the earth and enjoy the sheer pleasure of feeling more of the world with their feet. Barefoot parks usually include a lot of adventure stations, allowing visitors to experience the feeling of soil textures underfoot; to wade through rivers, mud, brooks, or ponds; and to exercise foot gymnastics , balancing , and climbing.
This concept was first developed in the 19th century by Sebastian Kneipp , one of the founders of the Naturopathic medicine movement. He believed that applying your feet to a range of natural stimuli would have therapeutic benefits. This is related to the ancient practice of reflexology , practiced in China for thousands of years for relaxation and to promote longevity.
Seoul , South Korea, has barefoot parks, allowing people to relax in a natural environment. Many leisure and competitive runners have been known to run barefoot, including well-known athletes Zola Budd of South Africa and Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia. Barefoot running can be dangerous, especially to runners who do not adequately prepare or give their feet time to adapt to the new style. Many injuries are possible, such as injuries to the Achilles tendon or plantar fascia , or stress fractures in the metatarsal bones or lower leg.
Barefoot runners who do not prepare their bodies could provide, "a stimulus plan for podiatrists, orthopedists, and physical therapists. The official position on barefoot running by the American Podiatric Medical Association states that there is not enough research on the immediate- and long-term benefits of the practice and that individuals should consult a podiatrist with a strong background in sports medicine to make an informed decision on all aspects of their running and training programs.
One alternative to barefoot running is to wear thin-soled shoes with minimal padding, such as moccasins , plimsolls , or huaraches , which result in similar gait to going barefoot but protect the skin and keep dirt and water off. Barefoot skiing originated in Winter Haven, Florida , in , when slalom skier A. Hancock tried to step off his ski. Early skateboarders rode barefoot, preferring foot-to-board contact and emulating surfing moves. Barefoot skateboarding has been witnessing a revival in recent times.
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This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. November By country or region. Opposition and resistance. Abolitionism U. Main article: Barefoot running. Main article: Barefoot skiing. Bibcode : Natur. Daniel Lieberman. Retrieved 11 April Barefoot water skiing: an illustrated guide to learning and mastering the sport.
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Asia One News. Castlebar News. July 24, Southeast Asia travel. Retrieved 10 August The Times of India. March 3, Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on 6 June Retrieved April 16, Archived from the original on June 14, Retrieved June 12, April 23, Retrieved June 25, Retrieved September 16, BBC News. June 1, Retrieved July 18, Retrieved August 6, Historical Boys' Clothing. Shoes: Their History in Words and Pictures. Phuket Wan.
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The bewitched cloister: portrayed according to official records by Anton Memminger , published Cambodian Handbook. Oxfam GB.
Footnotes: On Shoes. Rutgers University Press. University of Illinois Press. Food Network. Archived from the original on 30 June Retrieved July 10, London: Guinness World Records Limited. The Edge. Archived from the original on June 27, February 9, Most average humans love a bit of small talk. Solo travel is rarely lonely but you will learn to love being alone. Those rare times you bagged a dorm all to yourself and chose to spend the evening writing and exploring what makes you tick. Oh and the endless magical bus journeys, which equalled un-guilty thinking, reading and learning time.
So good luck solo travellers, it takes a special person to understand why you NEED your alone time. Best of luck explaining why you need to go and visit them in their faraway land though! Living out of a bag for extended periods of time became a way of life. Not having anyone to impress or keep up appearances for is liberating.
That new pair of jeans becomes a plane ticket, that pair of killer stilettos, impractical for travel. These material possessions no longer hold the same value as they once did. Getting my golden sun bleached burnt! My wild mane was now a part of me, the travelling me.
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So making it conform was like an ending. For you now know that these things mean nothing at all and that money could be used on experiences. You prefer them in flip-flops anyway. A solo traveller learns so much, not only about the world but themselves. They never feel the need to agree for ease or to keep the peace. Learning to adapt to new cultures becomes second nature and respecting other humans and their differences is a given.
Yes you will try and educate with your first-hand knowledge but most average humans like to believe that what they read is gospel. Expect a backlash! Routine is now the enemy and spontaneity your life source. You will think nothing of booking a flight on Thursday for an immediate weekend getaway. They may hesitate when you mention this newly forming plan, make excuses about needing time to sleep, watch that box set or get the house in order after a busy week at work. A whole world of opportunities out there and a backpack that looks so rejected lying dormant on your bedroom floor.
Try as you might to conform you will never see settling in a conventional life as a viable option now. Your only solution is to find someone wild and free to run with you. Solo travel made me more dateable so guess that is different for guys. It seems girls are more interested if you have a lot of adventures etc. Also I find that solo travel didnt make you super opinionated, rather made me understand how little I really know.
Thanks for this, it put into thoughtful, clear words a lot of feelings I am trying to explain at the moment.
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What an incredibly blinkered view of the solo traveller. You are probably that type of person yourself. Dull and totally unoriginal. Everything you have written is absolutely true. It was like I had written it myself but much more eloquent. Once your a traveler your old mates just cant talk to you about anything you find interesting and the girl you strike up a conversation with down the bar just sounds like a small minded yokel.
She want to settle down and have 2. Touche, I find this to be a problem of mine. Appreciate the time spent to write this, it was a delightful and encouraging read to wake up to. Well as an older solo traveller, I do get lonely and miss all the things about a relationship. So I am dateable but not attachable. Their choice has made them happy and they have had experiences i never will and vice versa. And to say travelling alone is rarely lonely is just not true.
If the nomadic life makes you happy then fantastic, i certainly couldnt live any other way. But please dont be so arrogant to think you are special or better than others by doing so. I wish public interest work gave me the freedom or the paycheck that would allow me to jet off for a weekend on a whim. Sick children in developing and war-torn countries do not pay that well. Despite my life choices, I feel like I am worth talking to.
You must admit that there is more to life than travel, and that everyday non-traveling people can have a valuable, nuanced perspective. Even towny-yokels have a story to tell- a rich, full story- brimming with challenge, intrigue, love, adventure, misery, and tragedy. The human condition is complicated, and cannot be distilled to one dimension. I feel for those who cannot appreciate the adventure and beauty in everyday domestic life. I agree with a lot of the sentiments and the energy of the article- but I feel it is very myopic and a bit judgemental.
Good read, nonetheless. Jason, an excellent reply. You are right about the human condition being nuanced and that every person no matter who they are or where they live has a story. Most travelers are not independently wealthy, instead we have learned how to exist on nearly nothing and how to work while traveling. Much of what she has to say is true and is probably more directed at women.
To hop on a plane and go to a place where you know no one takes a lot of belief in yourself and your abilities…. Thank you for your thoughtful response. Jason, well said my friend. I can tell you how refreshing it is to read a comment on line with actuall substance, and relatable content from the original article.
In other words, you took the words right out of my mouth. My parents were of this traveling ilk and my sister and i were raised as such. Even though i feel as comfortable in the mountains somewhere as i do in a house, there is one simple fact of reality that only you, including the original author; has mentioned. Last i checked, airplane rides to anywhere are not free. Gasoline for you car,bus,station wagon,moped also is not free.
So, hell ya traveling is bitchen, living out and about should an incredible humbling experience, and im betting there are tons more folks that would be doing it if their circumstances allowed for it. Fantastic and well worth the read! So very true. I can relate. Makes me feel less odd somehow since I know other people feel that way. So true! It makes me want to cry.
Your solo travel experiences really do build your core. I hope to go back to it one day and find someone who is on that similar wavelength. Thank you so much for writing this article. Yes, a part of me died while reading this but I needed to see this. A tiny fire of faith has been renewed. Thank you. Go to retirement and get your freedom! Next stop Burma.! Solo of course.
Thank you! I, for one, am looking forward to getting back to routine, stability, a dog, family time, the material comforts of having a closet and hot showers again, and an office job. I reject this. That attitude is what makes a lot of solo travelers really irritating, actually. Travel does not give you prerogative to stare down your nose at people read: the VAST majority of people who lack the privilege to travel as you have. Guess in some cases it does the opposite.
Not being able to appreciate the people next to you and always yearning for something else is a great way to push people away from you. This article is so true. And so did the friendships and relationships. And there are so many more examples I could make.
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Sad but true, expierences happen in transit but it is the life of the wanderer….. This comes across as egotistical in the extreme. I think many people are more flexible than you realize, even a lot of real-life solo travelers, and not this mythical solo traveler template written about here. So elequant and true. Am resting at the moment, but itching to get my case out for my trip away at the beginning of January. Maybe the solo traveler in me likes the article but disagrees with the blanket statement of your title?
This was perfect, and everything I needed to hear right at this point. Thank you for writing it, and sharing it, and knowing just how true this is. This is exactly the reminder I needed. I seek another solo traveler. Yes, we cannot lead a normal life, so seek a birds of a same feather. Normal life? Please…might as well be dead. Nicely written and so true. I do NOT agree that solo travel makes a person undateable — unless it made that person so picky about people that they are doomed to loneliness.
If anything it opened my mind and gave me more confidence in my dating life moredateable. I can see the point of this as I have been living abroad and travelling for over a decade. I do connect will well travelled ad interesting people. Most of my long standing friends in England have traveled a lot and we take a keen interest in each others stories. A well rounded and mature person should not look down or think they are in some way superior to those who have a less adventurous lifestyle.
That is a recipe for loneliness. Solo travelling is a nice experience and every one should consider travelling alone at least once in their life, but there are many different ways of travel that offer so much fun and learning.. Travel can reinforce your love and connection with your co travelers. Solo traveling sounds in this article as a way to be emtionless and anti social or dating incapable.
Really a great and beautifully put down.
It feels like we are a new specie knowing where the escape door is from society strangles Thanks for the amazing article. Love how you write. Been a solo traveler for a while. It should make you more open minded and then you can talk to anyone. Just my opinion. Interesting article and whilst lots of it rings true, aspects of it is incredibly pompous.
Being alone is great and I love getting to know myself. But there are times that I would like a potential partner whom I love to come with me so we could experience and grow together. Being middle age and have been and continue to be a solo woman traveler, there are too few people that can relate to what you experience.
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