A Dr. Martens shoe showed the design of a woman bearing the scars from a gender transition “top surgery” as part of the brand’s “DIY Docs” feature.
The “DIY Docs” feature aims to spotlight independent artists redesigning the classic Dr. Marten shoe, often to promote LGBT causes. The latest example came from “queer illustrator” Jess Vosseteig whose art “focuses on inclusivity, empowerment, and creating conversations surrounding feminism and the queer community.”
Vosseteig described herself on the company’s website saying, “I love illustrating to empower all genders, break gender stereotypes, and promote body positivity/neutrality. I want my audience to feel seen and heard in my work, be empowered to be themselves, educate others, and push societal norms!”
Her design of the shoe most notably includes a pink woman who appears to have scars following a double mastectomy, a surgery often used by transgender men to transition.
“The inspiration for my design came from representing queer joy! I wanted to include two stylized people that were part of the queer community. I knew I wanted to incorporate lots of color with rainbows, clouds, and sparkles! I wrote ‘Queer Joy’ on the back of them to send the message that queer joy will always exist,” Vosseteig explained.
While the shoe is not available for sale, Dr. Martens advertised a free giveaway of the pair from its USA Instagram account on Tuesday. If followers liked the post, followed both Dr. Martens and Vosseteig and tag a friend, they could be eligible for the contest until July 31.
The shoe also does not appear to be available of purchase on Vosseteig’s personal website.
Though Dr. Martens did not respond for a comment, the company confirmed that it will not be selling the show and that the design came from the artist alone.
The design, along with Dr. Martens, was attacked on social media for promoting gender transition surgeries.
“@drmartens is advertising a new shoe celebrating females who get a double mastectomy,” the Libs of TikTok account warned.
“Why is Dr Martens promoting trans double mastectomies? Cutting off healthy women’s breasts in the name of gender identity should not be promoted,” YouTuber Oli London tweeted.
Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice agreed, “Removing the healthy breasts of girls should be as alarming as if the amputation of healthy limbs was happening as part of a social contagion. What if thousands of kids were removing their right arms?”
The controversy resembles the original backlash surrounding the Bud Light brand after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney revealed a customized beer can with the activist’s face. The company quickly insisted that the can was not intended for sale, but the promotion led to a massive decrease in sales, effectively ending Bud Light’s reputation as the most popular beer brand in America.
The “DIY Docs” section of Dr. Martens’ website also featured other shoes promoting LGBT activism with designs reading “QUEER” or “Trans Love.” Many other shoes were also in partnership with the LGBT activist group The Trevor Project.
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