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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Opinion | Normalize Dogs Out

Dogs out – a term that has taken off in the 2020s. But what exactly does it mean? No, contrary to its name, it doesn’t actually have anything to do with dogs, but rather, toes. ‘Having the dogs out’ means to be showing your bare toes—no socks, no nothing. Since the term was popularized a couple of years ago, it immediately developed an extremely negative connotation.

Now, the problem for me isn’t the standard itself; it’s the lack of consistency surrounding the standard set in place by our generation. If you are shopping in a grocery store, dogs out are acceptable. If you are walking your dog by the lake, dogs out are fine. If you are going out to eat in Downtown Evanston, no one would look twice to see if your toes are visible or not. But when it comes to ETHS, you would get shamed, made fun of, disrespected and even hounded on for just a sliver of your toes being visible.

I find this weird. Why is school the only place in public where our toes cannot be seen by the rest of the community? What’s the difference between having your toes out outside of the building versus inside? Both are public places. I wanted to get to the bottom of this, so I asked around and received various responses.

“Here’s the thing. No one is going to go out in public and criticize random people for having their feet out, but people who see you every single day are going to make fun of you, and they should, because it’s disgusting,” said sophomore Cash Nelson.

I disagree. While it is a fair assumption that the reason why people are less shamed for having their dogs out outside of school is because not everyone knows each other, no one is going to verbally go after a stranger,here is a key flaw in this argument. It’s less about vocalizing the shame and more about thinking it. I am guilty of judging the few brave souls who have their dogs out in school because of the stigma around it. But, when I go out in public and see dogs out, I obviously don’t vocalize that it’s weird, but more importantly, I don’t even think it is weird. 

“There are plenty of people that wouldn’t take proper care of their feet before going dogs out in school, and that would be gross. It’s impossible to mandate proper hygiene,” said sophomore Tim Lister. 

I disagree again. If someone is brave enough to wear sandals with no socks, they definitely would take proper hygiene precautions to quiet the haters. It does not need to be mandated as people would keep their feet clean regardless. No one would walk into school with their dogs out if they weren’t clean, since they would get destroyed by the rest of ETHS for that. It would be awful. Anyone who is going dogs out would definitely have clean feet.

I wasn’t satisfied with the explanations I was getting, so I turned to the older, wiser, graduated member of the Evanstonian: Jared Tucker.

“Dogs out represent the worst in our society,” Tucker said. “It represents poor manners and an obvious disregard for other people, as most people don’t want to see that.”

I believe Jared found the root of most people’s problems in the matter. Simply, people don’t enjoy looking at others’ feet. While I agree with this and understand it is weird and rather unpleasant, should this really trump people’s comfort? Also, if you don’t want to see feet, you can minimize it to a pretty low level. Just don’t look down as much as you can.

The term “dogs out” has taken off, but for some reason people still view the action with disrespect. (Drew Watson)

Now, I couldn’t write this article without discussing the history of the foot.

Over 5,000 years ago, it is believed that Ancient Egyptians were some of the first people to ever wear the sandal. From there, it exploded around the explored world, making its way throughout Africa and Europe and then eventually spreading to the rest of the known world. 

Back then, everyone who had the privilege of owning sandals wore them freely. They didn’t get judged by their friends for having their toes out, and they didn’t have to worry about the constant threat of being made fun of. 

At some point since the Ancient civilizations, wearing shoes that revealed toes became uncool, even rude, as explained by Tucker.. This doesn’t make sense to me. Why did this comfortable shoe turn into an undesirable look?

We are in school for over 180 days of the year. There is no reason why people who wish to forgo socks should have to wear them. Personally, I have no problems with wearing socks, but I could absolutely understand why many of ETHS’ finest scholars want to go barefoot.

“In school is where I be most of the time, and my dogs got to breathe where I be most of the time,” said sophomore Jesse Dush-Hart. “On god.”

“[In regards to feet], I think people should be able to do whatever they want without getting judged,” said junior Roee Salant.

Another key benefit of wearing sandals is practicality. In our busy teenage lives, we need every second of the day and more. Throwing on sandals with no socks takes significantly less time than putting on socks, slipping into shoes and then tying them. That is valuable time wasted.

Also, wearing sandals or other opened-toed shoes with no socks on can actually be beneficial to your health. According to Forbes, sandals allow our feet to breathe more and provide an advantageous setting for our toes.

“This isn’t just a superficial preference but can actually prevent foot conditions like athletes’ foot or ingrown toenails which tend to thrive when wearing tight, ill-fitting, closed-in shoes,” wrote Scott Forbes.

Everyone has toes. It’s only weird because we are making it weird. That’s the truth. In some alternative universe, society probably thinks that showing your fingers is weird, and people probably bully innocent high school kids who don’t wear gloves. Unfair, right? We can’t do the same here in Evanston. Destigmatize dogs out!

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About the Contributor
Will Klearman
Will Klearman, Opinion Columnist
Hey everyone! I’m Will Klearman (he/him) and this year I am an opinion columnist as well as a sports writer. I am a sophomore and this is my second year on staff. Being on The Evanstonian is great because it allows me to get an inside look on the sports at ETHS. I also love getting my opinion out there. Outside of The Evanstonian, I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing tennis and watching sports!
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    Yodel NewhoDec 27, 2023 at 12:35 am

    this is so inspirational!!! I’m gonna wear my toes out at school now! Thank you Will

    Reply