Thanks to Kay Webb Harrison, I have more pink shoes news from Hampton Roads, Virginia. In a follow up article published in the Virginian-Pilot yesterday, editor Joyce Hoffmann took a look at the scandal du footwear, and talked to The Owner of Those Hot Pink Shoes, Candice Knilans, as well as the photographer who shot the image. And you know me – I’m a total sucker for behind-the-scenes info.
She “wanted to look dazzling,” according to the report, for her husband, who was deployed to Iraq six months after they were married. For those who questioned whether the shoes matched the dress, alas, no, it seems not. But she did have pink sunglasses to match, and she wanted the color to “distinguish her in the crowd at pier side.”
The photographer, Rich-Joseph Facun, didn’t think he had a great picture when he took the shots of Knilans, but the Pilot photo director thought the picture illustrated “[a]ll the joy of the day.” While other photo editors “complaints about the insinuations of sexuality in the shoe color and the crossed ankles” the photo ran anyway.
And yup, the complaints rolled in. Detractors were a minority, and they objected to the sexuality in the image as predicted.
Some insisted that a more innocent picture, that of a 5 year old waiting for his father, should have been the front-page above the fold image to portay the sailors’ homecoming. Yet again, I am struck by the desexualization and the preference for “wholesome or patriotic” images, which underscore a preference for chaste innocence when it comes to portrayals of military figures.
But the majority applauded, and the public editor, who is also an associate professor of English at Old Dominion, wrote:
…many readers were reveling in that giddy anticipation that accompanies the long-awaited arrival of a loved one.
With that moment came a flash of insight. Our military neighbors deserve to be celebrated for their sacrifices – sacrifices the rest of us seldom share.
For that awareness, we are indebted to Candice Knilans and her love of pink.
I wonder if Ms. Knilans is now a bit hyperaware of her choice of footwear when she leaves the house.