Heels height of misogyny

Being blessed, or cursed, with a thousand acre stride I’ve never been at home in high heels.

My rule of foot is that if I can’t stand, walk and, if need be, run in a pair of shoes, I won’t wear them.

The highest heels I possess aren’t very high at all because I put comfort well ahead of fashion.

That’s easy for me when I’m not in a position where I’m judged by my appearance. It’s much harder for women in the public eye.

Wearing heels can be uncomfortable and make you vulnerable to tripping or sinking into wet grass; not wearing heels invites the fashion police to denounce you as frumpy.

So, few women leaders will go flat-footed; most of them – like most other women – want to be stylish. But the choices for women today are not just between heels and flats; the height of the heel is the issue, and they have never been higher.

In an era when women are supposedly economically liberated and politically empowered, it seems fashion is doing its best to subvert this. A recent report found that Australian women were the most economically empowered of 128 countries surveyed. Yet, the woman executive or company director wanting a pair of ultra-glamorous Christian Louboutin shoes with their trademark red soles would find herself obliged to totter around on 16-centimetre heels.

“It’s like foot binding – except women are doing it to themselves,” says Kirstie Clements, former editor in chief of Australian Vogue.

She says Louboutin’s original shoe, the classic Pigalle pump, “made you walk sexily, looked beautiful and were comfortable”. They had 8.5-centimetre heels. Today Louboutin’s lowest is 10 centimetres.

These shoes are uncomfortable – “they cripple you before you even leave the house,” Clements says. . .

. . .Today women executives want to be feminine but what is on offer from the men who make shoes – and they are all men: Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Louboutin et al – is neither flattering nor womanly. “It has turned into misogyny,” says Clements. You could almost posit that there is a reverse correlation between the height of women’s heels and their success in the wider world. It’s hard to think and perform when you are in constant pain. . .

So why do they do it?

Legs look better like that, even if you’re a cow:

Hat Tip: The Lady Garden.

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