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Untied Shoes

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Growing up, Evie Ruddy didn’t quite feel like a girl, or a boy, and resisted gendered expectations. Only recently, with the growing awareness of non-binary identities, did Evie move toward a more androgynous gender performance and begin using they/them pronouns. Un/tied Shoes tells the story of how gender conventions have impacted Evie’s life, with footwear as markers along the way.

Un/tied is presented as an online shoe company, but visitors expecting to browse the latest styles will instead find a first-person account of self-actualization and contesting categorization. Thanks to gendered fashion industry conventions, buying shoes and clothes that reflect their identity has been a lifelong challenge for Evie. Framing their story as an online shopping experience underscores the hardship many non-binary and transgender people face trying to reflect their gender identity in their outward appearance. It’s an everyday illustration of the deep-rooted mores and social codes that determine who can wear what, and in which circumstances.

With Evie as our guide, Un/tied invites us to step into a future with more options, fewer labels, and shoes that come in all sizes, for all people.

2019, 20 min

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Digital Dozen
Columbia University Digital Dozen 2020
April 21 2020, New York - USA

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