In Defence of High Heels

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If you’re a fan of this site it might come as shock that some people don’t love high heels! Yes, we know. It’s insane – but true! Besides the number of claims that heels might not be the best for your health (if you are over the top and wear them 24/7), there are those that say that high heels are a symbol of female bondage.

“It seems like what wins for women in the culture is not the Harvard education that you have and how many cases you correctly argue in court; it’s whether or not when you walk into a room, you make all the men want to drop to their knees. For me that’s very problematic, because if the high heel is an accessory of female power – and if the definition of female power is sexual – that power has a very short shelf life.”

These are the words of Elizabeth Semmelhack, curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada. She makes an interesting point but it is, of course, is a gross simplification of the modern female and how she “uses” her wardrobe. Obviously, high heels are just one weapon in a large arsenal that women can wield. Who wants to be a one dimensional being?! High heels, as far as we’re concerned, symbolize the power of having choices. Sure we can wear flats. We can wear boots, and flip flops, and trainers, and kitten heels, too. And each of those lets us exhibit a different side of ourselves – including our sexual selves, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Writer Ong Soh Chin of Straits Times Indonesia put it perfectly:

Most importantly, a woman wears high heels today because she is allowed to celebrate her sexual power. In the past, her sexual appeal came from the perception of frailty symbolized by restrictive footwear and curtailed movements.

So the fact that we can take part in stiletto races today is progress indeed. There is also smug satisfaction to be had in the knowledge that very few men can sprint 100m in high heels with the same balance, style and power as we can.

… so there.