November 29, 2021

The heel; a woman’s weakness in more ways than one.

Heels, every woman loves them. Among the blogs, magazines and columns I have read, the vast majority continue to declare their love and admiration. Never a bad word said against them, they have become God’s gift to the female sex, our trusty side kick on a night out. Our heart melts, skips and flutters whenever we spot the perfect pair on sale. We think, as soon as we purchase them they will better our lives in some way. Who can blame us? Once on, immediately, our legs are elongated. We look slimmer, sexier, and glamorous; moreover, our posture is instantaneously improved. There is so much positivity spoken about the shoe it’s unreal.
Recently, however, after an evening out out with my circle of friends, my own pair gracing my feet as I left the house. I began to contemplate the value of these so called ‘masterpieces’. Eventually, after spending the majority of the time sitting, resting my bruised feet, it got me thinking, are the female sex purely blinded by love?

We have all watched at least one catwalk show in our lifetime; If not live then on T.V. The models strut, carelessly up and down the runway, as if by magic, wearing the most towering heels known to man. As they walk, step by step, you hold your breath, anticipating, simultaneously hoping they won’t fall. Who can forget the clip of Naomi Campbell, walking in 1993 for Vivien Westwood, wearing those purple sky high heels? Let’s be honest, it’s footage to be laughed at. Witnessing a solemn faced model, in front of thousands of designers and photographers trip and fall in shame is priceless. As bad as it may seem, it is pure entertainment. Or so it may seem.

In a recent statement, Christian Louboutin, the owner and founder of the signature red soled heel, said that heels should infact be painful for women. In other words, disregarding our welfare, as long as the Louboutins look striking, all is well and good. Outraged by the designer’s comment I began to acknowledge my own insincerity. It is hypocritical to find runway models falling on the catwalk amusing and at the same time be irritated by another’s disregard of our wellbeing.

Considering this, I for one am fully accustomed to the pounding pain experienced after dancing or walking in heels for a long period of time. Many women can understand the feeling of your feet, pulsating as though they’re about to burst; it’s an experience that can be too much to bear. You can’t walk and look ridiculous tottering around like an innocent toddler in her mother’s most beloved pair. Think how weak and powerless we are at that particular moment wearing the heels we loved and saved for; they looked so beautiful in store. Yet, in reality, the elegance you hoped to ooze is eradicated once you are incapable of walking from point A to B.

Isn’t one of the reasons we love heels due to the fact they improve posture, therefore making us appear more confident and in many cases powerful. The rise of the business woman especially during the 1970’s/80’s was partially due to the professionalism and seriousness of their outfits. Adorned in a pencil skirt, shoulder pads and heels, they exuded importance and power as soon as they entered the workplace. Furthermore, the stance the heel gave, portrayed how a woman meant business, transforming her from mother/ wife to high flying businesswoman.

So why are so many in today’s society opting for heels, no matter how glamorous they may appear. It is clear that in some cases they can end up demeaning members of the female sex. Whether models are falling or women walking in pain, it’s time to contemplate what the heel is capable of. There’s no need to go into a deep feminist rant, but it seems in many cases heels can end up humiliating instead of benefiting us. We cannot become the objects of ridicule or subject to pain purely for aesthetic purposes. Not to say we should all eradicate them from our wardrobes (in no way am I doing that) this is just a reminder that, in some cases, looks can definitely be deceiving.

As appealing as your next pair of heels may be, remember, they’re not called killer heels for nothing.

2 Comments on The heel; a woman’s weakness in more ways than one.

  1. “Never a bad word said against them”? I had hoped you were writing satirically, but since this article seems not to be satire, I beg to differ. It’s bad form to make sweeping generalizations without backing them up–there are plenty of us heel-refusers who want to be able to run and stride freely. Try checking out some of the articles about heels and anti-heels:

    “Wearing Heels Does Not Make You A Bad Feminist” by Jenna Sauers on Jezebel
    “Self-hating shoes” by Jennifer Moses on The Chicago Tribune website
    The group I Hate High Heels on facebook
    “Walk for Women: High Heels as Activism” on Sociological Images
    “High Heels and the Body,” Sociological Images

    The illusion of power given by heels is in the height, putting shorter people eye-level with the taller ones. Check out Sociological Images for articles on heightism. Also, men wore heels historically, particularly in the 16-19th centuries. (See “A Tall Tale, but True: Men in Heels” in the New York Times for a brief history.)

    The problem with writing about women and fashion is that all of us–half the world’s population, cannot be lumped together. Even if you are only referring to Great Britain and other English-speaking countries in this article, you are ignoring a large faction of women who do not wear heels, or do not prefer to wear heels, or refuse to wear heels. Essentializing about sex and gender (or ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, etc.) is poor journalism, whether you’re a fashion journalist or an economist.


  2. I understand your point, however this article is verging on ‘tongue-in-cheek’. I am aware that not every woman in the world wears heels. In the same way the statement ‘Diamonds are a girls best friend’ generalizes women I chose to include ‘Heels; every woman loves them’. It maybe a generalization but their is no seriousness intended, it maybe exaggerated but it is purely a light-hearted comment.

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