Wooden shoes and wellington boots: the politics of footwear in Georgian Britain

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Shoes may not seem to be an obvious topic for political history, but shoes were highly politicized in Georgian Britain. Changes in shoe design, and the differences in the footwear worn by different social classes, shed light on the types of masculinity that came to be privileged within the political cultures of the day. Historians often argue that it was over the eighteenth century that modern, binary schemes of gender difference emerged, positing that men and women had different bodies that befitted them for different spheres of activity. The political subject of the Georgian period was a male head of household, who governed and represented those who depended upon him, on the model of a Roman citizen. The consumption of foreign goods and styles could be highly politicized in the eighteenth century. Gay’s focus on footwear in the poem was quite deliberate, since shoes were redolent with national symbolism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEveryday Political Objects: From the Middle Ages to the Contemporary World
EditorsChristopher Fletcher
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780367706609, 9780367706616
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021


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