A 1920s-themed bar/restaurant in Riverside, California has been receiving tremendous backlash for a policy requiring women to wear high heels. An advertisement for "Pro-[upside-down-A]-bition" (I don't understand the question, and I won't respond to it) reads: "Ladies: No flat shoes or sandals. Must have heels. Exception will be made if injured."
The flyer in question was posted by one of our promoters for a SPECIFIC event; scheduled on a Saturday night—after dinner hours. We should have caught the questionable wording and corrected it. “Fashionable Cocktail Attire” should have sufficed. However, we have taken steps to review all posts in the future and insure that they send the message that was intended. The bottom line is that we do have a dress code. Our dress code is not carved in stone—it changes with the time of day, day of the week, and with any event that is scheduled. Our intention was never to offend anyone. We have invested significant time and resources to create ProAbition.
Our goal was to cultivate and create and environment that is consistent with our vision and to promote the growth of beautiful Downtown Riverside. With that, we believe the people—our customers, and friends that come to ProAbition, are the biggest part of that atmosphere. That is why we have a dress code—to promote and maintain this atmosphere for the enjoyment of all who wish to partake.
Now, I'm not going to demand that every nightclub promoter in every mid-size university town in America think critically about gender politics every time they write a press release, and consider the ways in which women's behavior and potential impact on the world have historically been circumscribed by what we are "allowed" to wear and how we are "allowed" to present our bodies, and the fact that choosing to wear an article of clothing such as a high-heeled shoe, which serves no practical function—but, in fact, inhibits function and mobility—for the sake of fashion is one thing (and problematic in its own way, though I participate in it too), and being required to do so in order to participate in basic public recreation is quite another. I'm not demanding that. Just like I don't waste my time demanding that centaurs become real and teach me the secret portents of the cosmos. Waste of time.
Jesus fucking Christ.
Could you at least try? Could anyone just try one time?
Like, it's not even like your clurb is called "Heelz" or "Planet Heelywood" and the presence of high heels is somehow relevant to your brand. It's also not like high heels are some signature 1920s thing and flats were invented by Judith Butler in 1992. I get that the '20s were cute and stuff and people think it's "better" if ladies' buns are elevated by high heels because people like to look at ladies' buns. But if you're going to selectively revisit history for the sake of fashion, it might be a good idea to actually take a look at history. Because for a lot of people—including ladies' buns—history is actually pretty shitty. Come on. Ban Crocs if you want—have a dress code, go nuts—but can't the ladies drink their Korbel in peace without mandatory torture machines strapped to their feet?
Or, if you're going to head down this road, why not go all the way and apply other stuff-that-happened-in-the-1920s to your dress code? Iron lungs drink free on Tuesdays! Show us your shrapnel wounds from the Great War and you get to spin the moonshine wheel (fingers crossed it doesn't land on "incurable blindness!"). Oh, and no integrated bands. None of that newfangled Benny Goodman bullshit.
Oh, is it because it's not actually about fashion or history—it's about ladies' buns?
Yeah. I know.
Glad we had this talk.