EXCLUSIVE: Putting their foot in it! Dr Martens engulfed in woke storm after promoting boots that show a transgender person with breast removal scars on their chest

Dr Martens — once the footwear of choice for skinheads and punks — has become the latest company to be engulfed in a woke storm after promoting boots that appear to endorse transgender surgery.

The shoemaker gave away a pair of custom rainbow-colored boots that featured a  painting of a topless individual with scars under their breasts  — a hallmark of breast removal surgery — as part of a promotional stunt.

The LGBTQ+ friendly boots — designed by a self-described ‘queer illustrator’ — were advertised on the company’s Instagram account and website last week, sparking a furious debate among its customers and social media users.

Some accused Dr Martens of ‘cashing in on the mutilation’ of women and urged a boycott of the company, while others praised the firm for standing up for minorities. 

The controversy has echoes of the fallout from Bud Light’s decision to partner with controversial transgender TikToker influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Dr Martens is facing criticism after offering a pair of boots that show a transgender individual with mastectomy scars

The shoes were posted on their Instagram account and have also been shared by artist Jess Voss, who designed the shoes

The shoes were posted on their Instagram account and have also been shared by artist Jess Voss, who designed the shoes

Dr Martens showcases boots custom-made by fans on its website as part of its ‘DIY Docs’ collection. 

The new design causing controversy was put onto the 1460 boot, the original Dr Martens that was popular among skinheads, scooter riders and punk rockers in the 1970s.

They were designed by Colorado-based artist Jess Vosseteig, who said she wanted to ‘represent queer joy!’ with her design. 

The boots were given away as part of a seven-day Instagram competition, in which users were required to like the post and tag a friend to enter.

By the end of the competition at 9am PST (12pm ET) today, the post on Instagram had nearly 10,000 likes.

One furious user commented, ‘How shameful. I’m disgusted’, while a second said ‘cashing in on the mutilation of young teenage girls and lesbians is so cool and progressive. Shame on you!’.

Several people suggested that the person shown was a minor, but Dr Martens told DailyMail.com that this was not the case and that the post was targeted at over-18s only.

Others called for people to stop buying the shoes, saying, ‘Never again @drmartens’, ‘#boycottdrmartens, what a disaster…’ and ‘Don’t buy your children anything from them’.

But there were also a number of supporters of the shoes, with some describing the shoes as ‘fire and rainbows’ while others said they would ‘explode’ with joy if they won a pair.

The base color of the boots is white and features several rainbows, stars and clouds.

One shoe features a pink individual with feminine features and medium-length hair waving their arms.

They are shown with scars below their nipples, which is a sign of a mastectomy, sometimes known as ‘top surgery’.

Asked by Dr Martens what inspired the boots, Ms Voss said: ‘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.’

The boots were designed by self-described queer illustrator Jess Vosseteig. In a post online, she said she was 'very grateful' for the opportunity and was thrilled that the company supported the LGBT community

The boots were designed by self-described queer illustrator Jess Vosseteig. In a post online, she said she was ‘very grateful’ for the opportunity and was thrilled that the company supported the LGBT community

Ms Vosseteig — who goes by Jess Voss art — has previously won accolades for her art, including the 2022 Creative Activism award from the University of Colorado, Boulder, for her piece titled ‘periods have no gender’.

She has previously partnered with several major brands including Lush, Facebook and publisher Harper Collins for art pieces on LGBT issues.

Who is Jess Vosseteig? The artist behind the boots 

Jess Vosseteig is a self-described artist from Colorado who draws art focused on LGBT issues and acceptance.

She did Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, before starting her own online business selling artwork.

Brands she has partnered with include cosmetics company Lush, publisher Harper Collins and Facebook.

She also won the 2022 Creative Activism award at her university for her piece titled ‘periods have no gender’.

Speaking about her work, Ms Voss said: ‘I am deeply inspired by the uniqueness of individuals, feminism, the LGBTQ+ community, bright color pallets and fashion.

‘With a minor in Women and Gender Studies, I blend my knowlegde and passion for intersectional feminism, equality and inclusivity with my love of art.’

She added: ‘I often get imposter syndrome and wonder if what I make matters, but then I am reminded that my work speaks to so many different people and brings positivity into the world.’

In an interview with Shoutout Colorado in 2021, she said: ‘I am deeply inspired by the uniqueness of individuals, feminism, the LGBTQ+ community, bright color pallets and fashion.

‘With a minor in Women and Gender Studies, I blend my knowlegde and passion for intersectional feminism, equality and inclusivity with my love of art.’

She added: ‘I often get imposter syndrome and wonder if what I make matters, but then I am reminded that my work speaks to so many different people and brings positivity into the world.’

After partnering with influencer Dylan Mulvaney, Bud Light has seen its sales collapse by nearly 30 percent compared to a year ago according to data for June.

Some slammed the beer for supporting the transgender activist and accused it of being out of touch with its customers. 

Those on the other side of the debate have also blasted the beer, however, saying it failed to stick up for influencer Dylan Mulvaney and LGBT issues.

Right-wing groups today slammed the Dr Martens boots as promoting a ‘moral outrage’.

Jay Richards, from the conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation, told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s hard to know what to say about a private company obviously celebrating this.

‘Did Dr Martens poll test this allusion to “top surgery” with its customer base? Or is it making the same foolish mistake made by Bud Light?.’

Dr Martens were founded by a Nazi soldier after the Second World War, who needed a shoe to aid the recovery of his broken foot.

In the 1960s and 1970s they became popular in the United Kingdom, particularly among postmen, police officers and factory workers.

They were also picked up by skinheads, a right-wing group made up mostly of working-class youths associated with racism and anti-semitism.

The artist who designed the shoes, Jess Vosseteig, said they wanted to include two people that were part of the queer community on the shoes

The artist who designed the shoes, Jess Vosseteig, said they wanted to include two people that were part of the queer community on the shoes

The artist also shared a post expressing her thanks to Dr Martens for including her art in their 'DIY Docs' section

The artist also shared a post expressing her thanks to Dr Martens for including her art in their ‘DIY Docs’ section

Other groups also liked to use the shoes as an antifashion statement, including punks, who put graffiti on them, and goths, who painted the yellow bits black.

In the 1990s, the shoes were popular among grunge culture, before sales suddenly declined dramatically forcing the company to close all but one of its factories.

In the 21st century, however, they have made a comeback by appealing to a wider audience after the world’s biggest fashion icons were seen wearing them including, more recently, Bella Hadid, Miley Cyrus and Olivia Rodrigo.

Today, the boots have become popular among many minority groups including LGBT youths and goths — with the brand championing the shift. 

Other groups have previously voiced support for companies picturing transgender men with mastectomies, however, saying this is vitally important to promote cultural awareness.

Pictured above are the controversial pair of boots on the Dr Martens website

Pictured above are the controversial pair of boots on the Dr Martens website

They were shown in a Q&A with the artist on why she chose the particular design

They were shown in a Q&A with the artist on why she chose the particular design 

The division in American culture over transgender care focuses on whether it should be offered to under-18s. 

Right-wing groups argue that minors are not capable of making decisions over irreversible changes to their body, saying surgery and treatments should be banned.

Their case has been bolstered by a number of transgender under-18s who have since de-transitioned in adult life.

Other groups argue, however, that transgender care at this age is needed to stop someone’s body from changing into one that does not match their gender identity. 

More than 20 states have restricted transgender care for minors, outlawing surgery, puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk