The barefoot injustice by our establishments

by Michael Buttgen, the “Barefoot Voice.” on “Barefoot & grounded” website

bf in public

When you take a close look at what patrons of most establishments are allowed to do, it’s surprising that bare feet are what get banned for “safety” reasons. There are no other social norms, legal precedents, or identifiable risk concerns that require the constant restriction or “protection” of ongoing biological systems like those for the feet:

  • Hand Function:Restaurants do not require that diners wear protective gloves when using a fork or steak knife. Diners are expected to be careful and try not to cut themselves. Establishments (except for specific areas of some hospitals) do not require that patrons wear surgical gloves on property to avoid the risks associated with communicable diseases. Individuals take on the risks of being infected when in public places. Library patrons aren’t expected to wear gloves to protect against paper cuts when flipping through books. It’s expected that they take on those risks.

  • Respiratory Function:Establishments (except for specific areas of some hospitals) do not require that patrons wear protective masks to avoid the risks associated with communicable diseases. A social norm exists that individuals take on the risks of being infected when in public places. Gas stations don’t require that customers who fill up their cars wear gas masks to protect against noxious gasoline fumes. Everyone involved understands that the risk of inhaling such things is part of the process.

  • Neck Function:Amusement parks do not require people to wear neck braces on roller coasters or bumper cars. (In fact, I can tell you from my experience working a roller coaster years ago that riders with neck braces would not be allowed) Policies are posted that you take on the risk of injury by riding such things. Car manufacturers do not require that drivers and passengers in their vehicles wear neck protection as part of the safety features in case of a collision. A social norm exists that people take on the risk of being injured if a collision occurs.

  • Hearing: Concert and auto racing venues do not force attendees to wear ear plugs for their own safety even though these events can get to volumes that are dangerous for the hearing. Concert goers and racing fans understand that by participating, they take their hearing into their own…ears.

  • Eyesight: Outdoor venues do not require on sunny days that their guests wear sunglasses for their eyes’ protection. People understand that they take responsibility for their own eye health.

Are the risks from going barefoot so much worse than those from the activities above? Is the potential for impaired hand function, lung infection, neck pain, hearing loss and cataracts so much less objectionable than a cut to the foot?

 dont worry

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A wonderful world of living with bare feet

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