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body image, cancer

A letter to Prada about their PRO-SMOKING shoes

Dear Prada,

I was perusing shoes at Nordy’s, momentarily entranced by a pair of your gorgeous beige patent platform heels, when I came across a shoe of yours that I can only describe as the brainchild of a misogynist douchecanoe. I’m referring to what you call your “Lips” shoe. Yes, the one with the 80’s inspired slut-pout and the dangling cigarette.

Perhaps you’ve been living under a rock these past 30 years, but did you know that smoking is responsible for 80% of lung cancer deaths for women and that lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer in the US? It is a tragedy that 70,000 American women die from lung cancer every year. Women who smoke are also more likely to get a variety of other cancers, such as cancer of the mouth, cervix, esophagus, liver, kidney, pancreas, and bladder. All told, more than 22% of American women die of cancer annually.

There’s also the whole smoking kills babies thing too. Smoking during pregnancy accounts for 10% of all infant deaths and costs the US $366 million/year, but for simplicity’s sake let’s just focus on the cancer.

I’ve always looked to Prada as a style leader. Your lines are sleek and your clothes innovative yet understated. I own a couple of your pieces that I’ve collected over the years. I can’t afford to buy your clothes very often (my Prada shoes are more than 7 years old, but still stylish and comfortable I might add), but like many women I watch what the big design houses send down the runway and see what I can cobble together for less. Do not doubt that you are influential. 

A cigarette dangling out of a women’s mouth on a shoe is tasteless, ugly, and irresponsible, unless of course you think removing a cancerous bladder and creating a neo-bladder from bowel so you can pee through a stoma in your belly screams sexy? In that case, why stop at cigarettes? Why not put a picture of a gun pointed at a women on a blouse and a rape on a handbag?

I will not buy anything Prada nor support any store that carries your products until I see an apology for this monstrosity and this cancer-promoting shoe off the shelves. Sorry Nordstrom, this is going to hurt both of us, but we’re though as long as you’re making money off this asshattery.

So dear Prada (and Nordstrom), I passed over the beige pumps, as lovely as they are, in favor of a similar (and far less expensive) pair of Cole Haan’s elsewhere. They’re not quite the same, but I won’t feel like I need a bath after I wear them.


Jen Gunter

A previous admirer and former Nordstrom shopper

P.S. What is up with these Flame shoes? OMG, they are so fucking ZZ Top meets Ed Hardy. Perhaps your designers have smoking related cerebrovascular disease affecting their sense of style?

cc Nordstrom, Saks, et. al.


6 thoughts on “A letter to Prada about their PRO-SMOKING shoes

  1. I hope your letter goes viral, with all of the anger directed towards the designer of this poorly designed shoe with the negative message towards women. I am curious about whether the cigarette manufacturers paid the designer to push this killer pair of shoes.

    Posted by professormckellar | April 20, 2012, 10:22 pm
  2. There’s an argument to be made that it’s a bad thing that cancer kills men, too. To the main point, there’s also an argument to be made that Prada is being arch with this shoe (get it?), and figures that grown-up boys and girls haven’t themselves been living under rocks, and are quite capable of understanding that smoking can give them cancer. But in a free society, both Prada and its customers have the right to express their own sense of whimsy, irony, or whatever they see it as. Do we have any statistics on how many women self-righteousness kills each year?

    P.s. Ugly shoe!

    Posted by Cris | April 21, 2012, 1:40 am
  3. My father-in-law was a pipe-smoker for many years. Eventually he developed bladder cancer, and had to have his bladder removed and a urostomy created. He had that surgery in August 2002. In May 2003, he developed a bowel obstruction and had to have surgery again. He never got out of the hospital after that. He developed MRSA pneumonia and had some small strokes. He passed away in August of 2003, about a month before his 83rd birthday. His parents lived into their 90s. Maybe he could have too, if he didn’t smoke. It’s no wonder that my own children, 22 and 20, now, have never touched a cigarette. Well, this, and the fact that they can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke, too.

    Posted by dawnk777 | April 21, 2012, 8:50 am
    • “All told, more than 22% of American women die of cancer annually.” This cannot be true. There would no women left after 15 or 20 years. Surely you meant “All told, of the American women who die each year, 22% die of cancer”?

      Posted by Lauren Murata | April 23, 2012, 7:38 pm
  4. It’s a fucking shoe; get over it. Way to blame a lack of self control on a horrible looking product whose reach is minimal at best. Also, way to kill the previous well written paragraphs outlining your frustration with your P.S. showing your OMG rage at the ZZ Top shoes. Your argument had some merit until you showed you will just criticize something that looks bad despite the message it sends. Should have saved that one for a different post.

    Posted by Adam | April 24, 2012, 12:27 am

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