Wearing Heels Does Not Make You A Bad Feminist

Are you overdue for a reminder that your high-heeled shoes are nothing more than pretty, pretty evidence of your status as a quisling to your sex? Well, the Chicago Tribune has an op-ed about the horribleness of heels and the women who wear them.

Why? Because heels aren't to the personal taste of the author, a woman named Jennifer Moses, who still bears the emotional scars inflicted by a pair of "pointy-toed black suede heels" that she wore to a bar mitzvah only to be felled by calf cramps during the Torah reading. High heels, writes Moses, are an attack on women's very dignity.

It strikes me as bizarre that in the aftermath of feminism, American women, who are perhaps the most liberated women in the history of humanity, choose, of our own free wills, to cripple ourselves. Now we can barely stand at all, let alone march for our rights, in our 6-inch heels. [...]

As far as I can tell, there has never been a time in the history of womankind that shoes haven't been a source of longing, envy and even lust. But not among men: Unless they're shoe designers, men don't think twice about women's shoes. No matter how much women are told that high heels elongate and enhance the shapes of our legs and add a sexy sizzle to our walks, I suspect men don't so much as notice shoes.

High heels are indicative of a widespread, virulent, anti-feminist cultural misogyny — and by the way girls, you don't even need to wear 'em to snag a man!

Boxes ticked on the anti-high-heels-op-ed bingo card include: Chinese foot-binding; Sex And The City; Manolo Blahnik; I Read A Wikipedia Page About The History Of Footwear Late Last Night On Deadline And Here Are Some Things I Learned (About Chopines); Straight men don't even notice shoes; The word "Cripple"; You can't be a feminist in heels; High heels are a conspiracy by gay men to keep women in their place. (The author includes Prada, Gucci, and Versace on her list of "women's shoe designers [who] are men." Nobody had better tell Miuccia, Frida, and Donatella.)

Listen. If you don't like high heels, nobody wants you to have to wear them. Really. That is why the good Lord made free will and cute flats! I understand that many women don't find high heels to be comfortable, practical, or even desirable. That is a perfectly reasonable way to feel. Good for you, person who likes to wear flats. Flats are always a good choice.

But don't tell those of us who — sometimes! — do like to wear heels that we're bad feminists, or stupid ladies who must have been brainwashed into acting against our own interests by Big Fashion. Wearing heels doesn't necessarily make you a good feminist — the point is that feminism has less to do with what you put on your feet than what you put in your head. And are we seriously still arguing that our clothing choices make women victims? Because I know a feminist movement that might take issue with that sentiment.

Sometimes a heel is just a heel.

[Chicago Tribune]