Why don’t I wear heels?

Because I am a man is the wrong answer. I don’t wear heels because

  1. They are painful and lead long-term damage of my feet
  2. They are uncomfortable, hard to walk in, clumsy, and slow
  3. Society does not think men look better in heels
  4. Society does not think men should subject themselves to a mild form of torture in order to please the opposite sex

Apparently heels make women look prettier. I never really get past “my goodness, isn’t that painful? Why on Earth are you wearing those?” Some women, when I tell them this, say they’ve been wearing heels so long that it’s as easy for them as wearing sandals. I suspect they’re lying. If they’re not, then I wonder at the damage that must have been done to reach that point.

If you are a woman and you wear heels and think you look pretty, that’s ok. You’re allowed to. You have the right. As a man and a feminist, I will nonetheless deplore the society that has allowed you to be indoctrinated into thinking that. Women are not born thinking “you know, I should really cripple myself, that will make me a more attractive mate.” They are taught that. Most infuriatingly of all, I suspect they are taught that by other women. But it’s all to please men (isn’t it?). If you’re a man, why not suggest to your girlfriend that she is equally gorgeous in flats and you don’t care if that’s not what other women or men think? If you’re a female feminist, why not show it by donning something more sensible?

In a recent acceptance speech for some award Emma Thompson took off her heels and said the following

I’ve taken my heels off as a feminist statement really, because why do we wear them? They’re so painful. And pointless, really. You know, I really would like to urge everyone to stop it. Just stop it. Don’t wear them anymore. You just can’t walk in them, and I’m so comfortable now.

Here is an article in Huff post with some anti-heels quotes by famous women. The title of the article is “It’s OK to hate wearing high heels.” I take offense at this title. It’s like saying “It’s OK to hate eating broccoli… but you should still eat it anyway”. It’s OK not to wear high heels! It doesn’t make you ugly. It doesn’t make you less of a woman. I also do not like that most of the women quoted still seem to wear high heels – they just take them off at times and rant about them. I would really like to see high profile women just stop wearing them, just refuse to wear them at all. I would like to see some over-the-top designer scrap his heel range and design some sexy ergonomic shoe whose name I can’t understand and that people will fawn over and pay exorbitant prices for. Because that will feed into culture, into society, into perception. And maybe, eventually, like the horrible practice of foot-binding, the high heel will die.

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  1. #1 by H. E. Lexus on 17/01/2014 - 4:37 pm

    High heels for ever. I wear them cause I like them. I do not find them to be uncomfortable and painful. This is due to me finding heels that fit my feet correctly. I say each to there own. 😉

  2. #2 by johandp on 18/01/2014 - 3:30 pm

    I should perhaps make it clear: if you like them and you want to wear them, then feel free. They are aesthetically pleasing. I am questioning the society that expects women to wear them even though they are not very good for your feet. Your blog is fascinating, btw. Its feminist in a different way than most: a man taking on the female custom rather than the other way round (which I suspect is more common).

  3. #3 by Katherine Louw on 19/01/2014 - 9:38 pm

    I found the points in your article interesting, and I agree that the women who claim to hate heels should stop wearing them, however I do have one objection:

    As a dancer (latin and ballroom) there is such as the “right” pair of heels, just as there are correct trainers etc for other forms of exercise. And not only are the “right” pair of heels comfortable, they also have a positive impact on dancing ability.

    That being said, most fashion heels are uncomfortable, and some of the latest trends are downright ugly.

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