Wednesday, 2 August 2023

Doc Martens Highlights DIY Shoes With Gender Transition Chest Scars

 Dr. Martens highlighted one of the brand’s shoes that was decorated by an artist with a design of a woman with chest scars from gender surgery.

The controversial design was showcased on Dr. Martens’ “DIY Docs” feature, which highlighted several independent artists who added their own designs to the classic shoe.

The shoe’s design features a drawing of a pink woman with scars where her breasts would be, presumably the result of the double mastectomy many trans-identifying girls and women get in order to appear more masculine.

The celebratory gender surgery-themed shoes were designed by artist Jess Vosseteig, a “queer illustrator,” whose art “focuses on inclusivity, empowerment, and creating conversations surrounding feminism and the queer community,” according to a lengthy feature about her work on the Dr. Martens website.

“I love illustrating to empower all genders, break gender stereotypes, and promote body positivity/neutrality. I want my audience to feel seen and heard in my work, be empowered to be themselves, educate others, and push societal norms!” Vosseteig said in the feature, which includes pictures of the shoes in various stages of completion.

The artist said the design was inspired by “queer joy.”

“The inspiration for my design came from representing queer joy! I wanted to include two stylized people that were part of the queer community. I knew I wanted to incorporate lots of color with rainbows, clouds, and sparkles! I wrote ‘Queer Joy’ on the back of them to send the message that queer joy will always exist,” Vosseteig said.


The shoe is not available for sale from Dr. Martens, but the company advertised a giveaway for the shoes on its U.S. Instagram account on Tuesday.

Followers would have a shot at receiving the shoes if they followed both Dr. Martens and Vosseteig, liked the post, and tagged a friend by July 31. The Instagram post received nearly 10,000 likes, although some of the comments were negative, with one person writing, “cashing in on the mutilation of young teenage girls and lesbians is so cool and progressive. Shame on you!”

The design sparked backlash online with many social media users calling out Dr. Martens for promoting gender surgery.

“Why does a major fashion brand have a cartoonish, love-bombed depiction of a woman with self harm scars in the place where her healthy breasts are supposed to be? Promoting child mutilation is a pretty interesting marketing decision,” wrote one Twitter user.

The backlash to Dr. Martens echoes the response to Bud Light’s decision to work with trans-identifying influencer Dylan Mulvaney, as well as the backlash to Target’s LGBT-themed kids clothing.

The debate around minors and gender surgery and treatments has picked up steam in the last year as parents and medical professionals expressed concern about the ability of a child to consent to these medical interventions, which they say are permanent and life-changing.

Hundreds of teen girls in the U.S., some as young as 12, have gotten elective, gender-related double mastectomies to remove their healthy breasts over the last few years.

Meanwhile, it is more popular than ever for youth to adopt new gender identities. An estimated 300,000 minors aged 13 to 17 identified as transgender as of last year.

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