Monday, December 31, 2007

You Can't Judge A Transwoman By Her Shoe Size

One of the more amusing conversations I recently eavesdropped on while I was out and about was two brothers trading their 'how to spot a transsexual' tips. In addition to the usual stereotypes about height, broad shoulders, and 'masculine' facial looks, the one that made me chuckle was about shoe size.

"I can spot a transsexual from ten miles away because of them big feet." the so-called tranny-spotting expert proclaimed.

Yeah, right. If that was the case, how'd you miss spotting my elegantly dressed 6'2" behind wearing the hell out of my black Timothy Hitsman pumps, size 12? I have a size 13 navy pair of the same shoes in my wannabe Imelda Marcos sized shoe collection sitting in my closet.

I laugh sometimes when I hear biomen and some biowomen spout that fallacy. While there's a grain of truth to the fact there are some transwomen who have to shop at Payless or online at various websites to get fashionably stylish heels in double digit sizes, we are increasingly jostling with biowomen to grab the limited pairs of size 11s, 12s and 13s that are made available on store shelves.

Take note, alleged tranny spotters. Americans are not only getting fatter, we're getting bigger and taller as well. Feet are keeping evolutionary pace with that reality.

According to podiactric historian William Rossi, the foot enlarging trend for women has been occuring for about 150 years. At the beginning of the 20th century, the average American woman wore a size 3.5 or a 4. That climbed to a size 5.5 by the 1940s.

According to the Professional Shoe Fitting Manual, the average American adult female's shoe size in the 1960s was a size 5.5 to a 6. By the '70s it climbed to a 7.5 and in the '80s it had reached a size 8 or 8.5. As of yet stats haven't been compiled for the 90's, but you can do the logical progression and presume that the average American woman's shoe size will have climbed to a size 9.

In addition, thanks to regular wear and tear, pregnancy, and the stretching of foot ligaments and joints, over the course of a lifetime a woman's shoe size tends to increase by about a half to one full shoe size.

My homegirl Tracy discovered that fact to her horror after she gave birth to her daughter a few years ago. She's six feet tall and before her pregnancy wore a size 10. Her foot grew an inch during her pregnancy and she now wears a size 11. She used to mildly tease me when I'd whine about how hard it was for me to find fashionable shoes. Now she feels my pain.

And bioboys, don't be so quick to diss the sistahs about expanding shoe sizes either. This phenomenon isn't just limited to the feminine half of the US population. According to US Army records, the average shoe size worn by male recruits has gone up from about a 6 to about a 9.5 since the American Revolution.

But back to my regularly scheduled post. Transwomen come in all shapes, sizes and shoe sizes. I had a roommate back in Houston who was 5'6" and wore a size 7. My homegirl Lexi is 5'7", is a size 0 dress size and wears a size 9 shoe.

I know more than a few transsistahs that wear anywhere from size 7.5-to 11. Dawn needles me about the fact that she wears an 11, which is the largest size that most women's shoe catalogs display.

Conversely, I not only personally know more than a few biowomen who wear double-digit shoe sizes like my homegirl, but I'm aware that some celebrity women such as Paris Hilton (size 11), Tyra Banks (10), assorted supermodels, and most of the WNBA wear double digit sizes as well. There are some women's college and WNBA basketball team players that have bigger feet than mine. I remember the day I quit griping about my shoe size when I read that Chamique Holdsclaw wears a size 14.

So bioboys, better check your pseudoscience at the door. You may be missing out on a wonderful woman because you're either mistaking her for a transwoman based on her shoe size, or not taking the time to get to know a transwoman who has character, class and substance because of her size 12 pumps.


Jackie said...

You are absolutely right Monica. Teen girls now have much bigger feet than they did when I was a teen. Actually teens are bigger period. So peeps don't need to be spotting and making judgements. Also people say Transwomen ALWAYS have huge hands. People need to stop saying "always" about anything. My friend Alexandra has the very small and very pretty hands. Her wrists are smaller than mine. People need to quit. I'm just saying...

Monica Roberts said...

My hands when compared to a 6'2" male are small when I was on the guy side of the gender line.

When I worked at Macy's I met a 12 year old who was 6 feet tall and wore a size 10. I jokingly told her to pray her foot didn't get any bigger.

But yeah, I noticed that today's girls are getting bigger, taller, and developing curves and bustlines before their tenth birthdays.

Tami said...


Happy New Year! I just found your site and I like it a lot. Love this post. What idiocy! I happen to be a biowoman with big feet and hands. So there!

I look forward to reading more of your blog in 2008.

Unknown said...

I am so glad you all understand! I have a 16-year old daughter that wears size 14. I wear size 11. My daughters' friends all wear above size 11 also...feet are getting bigger for both genders.

I'm proud to say we buy our shoes at hope this helps!

Monica Roberts said...

I feel your pain. The more places I can find fashionable shoes, the better.

It would also help if stores actually started carrying the larger sizes in their shoe inventories.