I’m torn.

The press release, which made its way into my inbox earlier today, began on a high note. “Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence With Marshall’s,” read the e-mail, before taking a quick turn for the worse: “. . . IN THE SEASON’S HOTTEST SHOES.”

I want nothing more than to take a stand against domestic violence. But I’m not sure the best way to protest violence against women is to reinforce the perception of women as frivolous consumers whose activist passions are largely fueled by their enduring obsession with shoes. “It’s no secret that women love their shoes,”declares Marshall’s. “And now they can indulge in this season’s most fashion-forward shoe styles while taking a stand against domestic violence.”

The shoes don’t stop there.

On October 2, 2008, Marshall’s will co-sponsor an event to kick off “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” The Union Square event will feature comments by “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester, live sculpture-building by New York artist Nancy Bowen, and participation from other “notable New Yorkers.” But will there be shoes?

Oh, yes. There will be shoes:

Don’t forget your old shoes—-Marshalls is offering the first 100 participants who arrive at the event a new pair of shoes from their fall fashion collection in exchange for their gently-worn shoes.  After receiving their new shoes, guests will have the opportunity to take a stand against domestic violence and walk one of two runways, which will lead them to local artist, Nancy Bowen, who will work during the event to create an artistic shoe sculpture.  At the conclusion of the event, all shoes not used in the sculpture will be donated to Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based organization that facilitates the donations of shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide.

Forget about the shoes. Did you say Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl”? See you on the runway, Marshall’s.