“Excellent protection for the foot and the womb!” one reviewer says of the Mizuno sneakers worn this week by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis during her historic filibuster of an abortion bill.
The mock reviewers are at it again. Following on the heels, excuse the pun, of snarky reviews for the likes of the Bic “For Her” pen, the masses have been busy writing faux reviews on Amazon for the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 running shoes worn by Wendy Davis during her lengthy filibuster of a bill that would tighten abortion regulations in Texas.
Davis’s choice of sneakers has been highlighted everywhere from E! News, to the Associated Press, to the Washington Post, which offered the headline: “These shoes were made for filibusterin’.” When Rand Paul launched his 13-hour filibuster in March over the Obama administration’s use of drones, the Post noted, he didn’t think much about his footwear—and he regretted it. “I didn’t wear my most comfortable shoes or anything,” he later admitted, and that in retrospect, he “would have worn different shoes.”
(MORE: Meet the Woman Behind the Texas Abortion Filibuster)
Davis seems to have put some thought into what she’d wear, dropping her usual dress heels and opting for a $115 sneaker that “delivers a harmonious balance of lightweight feel, sculpted fit and exquisitely smooth ride,” as the Mizuno website puts it.
But, to paraphrase an old Air Jordan ad campaign, this isn’t really about the shoes. In most recent cases of funny reviews on Amazon, reviewers were just having some fun by mocking ridiculous products. “Because of the insights this book provided, I can sleep a little better and cope with the reality that I can’t always be there to protect my kids from huge ships,” one parent wrote in a review of a book titled (yes) How to Avoid Huge Ships. Occasionally, the snarky reviews have crossed over into commentary on more serious topics, like gender issues (see the Bic pen mentioned above).
Reviewers are now using the Mizuno sneakers as a launchpoint to weigh in on abortion rights and politics. “Do you believe in human rights?” one “endorsement” asks:
Do you think a women’s health is a matter for her and her doctor and not for aged religious fundamentalists? Then these are the shoes for you! They will carry you through a marathon and a 13-hour filibuster necessary to protect women from the bigotry and religious intolerance in Texas. Highly recommended for progressive feet!
Other reviews include lines such as “Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy on race day,” and “Fits perfectly up a republican’s rear end.”
(MORE: Transgender Marketing: 12 Campaigns That Defy Sexual Stereotyping)
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted that the running shoe “comes in four different vibrant colorways — Davis’ rouge red-apple green-dark shadow; white-ultraviolet-anthracite; Aruba blue-electric-anthracite; and violet tulle-vibrant orange-ultraviolet — and also are available in a men’s version.”
But based on some of the tongue-in-cheek Amazon reviews posted by men, this is certainly not a product for guys. Even though “I have never gone through the experience of wearing them,” one male reviewer writes in the course of a one-star review, “I feel somehow compelled to decide for the shoe’s female target market whether or not they should own them.”
Another male (one-star) reviewer suggests — ironically, of course — that these sneakers could fall into the wrong hands (or feet, as it were):
“These shoes are a danger to the republic! This is precisely the kind of technology that will enable terrorist women, terrorist gays, terrorist minorities, and other terrorist liberals to endure the long (and getting longer, just you wait) lines at the polls.”
Has all the attention helped boost Mizuno shoe sales? “At this time there are no metrics that suggest a spike in sales,” Mizuno Public Relations Manager Harper Cornell said in a statement. “However, by the online discussions our Wave Rider fans seem to be excited to see such attention on their favorite running shoe.” Cornell noted that the company “was surprised by the sudden spotlight focused on our flagship running shoe, the Wave Rider, in the past 24 hours,” and that “we are proud of the running shoes we develop for our consumers. The Wave Rider is designed to give the comfort and cushioning needed whether it’s a 5K, a marathon or 10+ hour filibuster.”