Saturday, 30 May 2015

One Step Forward, Two Back

As it's Saturday I won't make you brain hurt too much with philosophy, I'm just going to go on a rant.



Never mind older women, or people with medical conditions, it's par for the course they have to explain themselves. What about ordinary, healthy women who prefer not to walk on stilts?

You could argue, I suppose, as actresses they are probably trained/used to doing so. Still doesn't matter. Stephen Fry's comment was perfect. Men aren't asked to do this so ....yeah

OK, Cannes apologized and mumble mumble mumble. That changes nothing either. This is obviously still deep in our culture. In fact heels are getting higher.

The damage done to feet, legs, spines, etc. due to years of wearing high heels is well established. I don't need to tell you about that. Our bodies are not designed to walk on our toes. But even that isn't the issue. 

It's about choice. Again. As always. About people, in this case women (as usual), being told what to do, for what? For appearances. 

I have nothing against formal clothing for special occasions. I think some of the details need updating/adjusting, but that's fashion for you. Load of nonsense. 

But when you ask people to do something very uncomfortable, possibly actually painful, and potentially dangerous, that's a detail too far.

Yes, it's torture. Women who object to heels are not whiny babies (yep, I've been called that, and many other things). Personally, I can't walk in the damn things, I haven't had the practice and I risk injury. They also hurt, and I'm not into pain. But even THAT is not the point.

Who the hell has the right to tell me what I have on my feet? You might as well prescribe hairstyles, or dress colour, or fabric. Why not just have a bloody uniform and be done with it? 

I wore a uniform for a job once. I went into it with my eyes wide open, I accepted the job knowing I'd have to wear, every day, a red skirt and a red and white striped shirt, with a red jacket in cooler weather. It was actually quite snazzy, but the point was, we had an agreement in advance, plus they provided it. This is reasonable.

We were expected to provide our own red shoes. I bought flats. Heels were not part of the agreement. The general manager made a comment about my shoes being unsuitable. I stood my ground. There was a bit of a thing there for a bit. A few memos, some discussion at upper levels. Lots of veiled threats but nothing that could give me ammunition to go to the labour people. Just nasty little comments. And a very stubborn Melanie. I did my job well, this did not affect it, and they knew that. 

As a compromise I was asked to buy a "small" heel. I asked why. Nobody had a good answer. I was young, pretty, slim, and graceful, what difference did it make? I wasn't stomping around in work boots, I was wearing the leather equivalent of ballet slippers. What was the problem? Nobody could tell me what the problem was. Oh, there were various remarks about how I should "just know" and the usual rubbish about femininity, but not one single sensible reason why I should wear a "small" heel. Not one.

I won. In these matters I find that staying strong and simply ignoring stupid sexist remarks is the best way. I have no idea what happened after I left there, if dress codes were changed/more detailed, but in fashion nothing has changed, in fact recently heels have got higher. Some women like them. Power to them! That's choice. What if they were told "no heels"? That would be wrong too. 

It has occurred to me while writing this, that while I thought today's piece was not connected to the current ongoing topic of harm, it is. It really is. In fact it's a perfect example. It could even easily be argued that heels are harmful. To some, at least.

But the important fact is that flats are harmless. Or maybe, just maybe, they give women too much power.

1 comment:

  1. As you can see, there is a mindset that must be overcome. The expectation of wearing a certain 'anything' is it--no matter what gender. And 'who' determines fashion, after all? In some circles it is quite fashionable to balk at wear something that sets one apart from the crowd; eye-catching, as it were. Not to mention, sensible footwear means we may just be able to maneuver well, period. The best tool for the job, so to speak. Those blasted expectations can go pound sand. ;) ~ Blessings!