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HomeLifestyleFashionPower, Sex, Oppression: Why Women Wear High Heels

Power, Sex, Oppression: Why Women Wear High Heels

Power, Sex, Oppression: Why Women Wear High Heels  - Surge Zirc SA
High heels / Photo file: Screengrab

Sometimes you wear high heels not because you really like to wear them but because your work requires you dress in high heels every day.

Kate expressed herself, ”I did not have much power myself, but I worked in an office that placed demand that i wear high heels to the office everyday. In my office, you see powerful people come together for different purposes. It’s a place of suits and ties, skirts and silk blouses; of long speeches and aggressive air conditioning.

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”Then I had an image in mind, image of a certain kind of woman – professional, feminine, poised – that I wanted to embody. I saw these women daily, year after year, backstage to the halls of power, on benches by the ladies’ room, changing in and out of comfortable and uncomfortable shoes.

”These were power heels, and they were worn by women from all over the world. They were leopard print, or green and scaly. They were amaranthine and violaceous and subtly velvet. They were black and shiny as Japanese lacquer, with a shock of red on the sole. Some were plain, but uncomfortable anyway. Perhaps I have embellished them somewhat in my imagination, my memory tempered by glamour.

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”What is not in dispute is that all of these statement shoes invariably came with a steel-spined appendage like an exclamation point: stiletto, the heel named for a dagger. For the women whose feet put up a fight, these shoes were changed out of and put away, smuggled in and out of the building in handbags, like weapons.

”When I worked in a formal office setting, high heels were never of any special interest to me beyond the fact that I liked them, and wore them, and liked wearing them. I didn’t fixate. I never owned too many. If I’m honest, there were times when I liked the idea of wearing them more than the actual wearing of the shoes. Still, without high heels, at work I didn’t feel quite put together. Like a man might feel who has forgotten to put on his necktie in a boardroom full of men in neckties. They made me feel powerful in a womanly way; suited up, compliant, like I was buckled in to the workday.

”Perhaps I had something to prove; or perhaps I had been made, repeatedly, to think that. For better or worse, the high heel is now womankind’s most public footwear. It is a shoe for events, display, performance, authority and urbanity. In some settings and on some occasions, usually the most formal, it is even required.

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”High heels are something like neckties for women, in that it can be harder to look both formal and femme without them. Women have been compelled by their employers to wear high-heeled shoes in order to attend work and work-related functions across the career spectrum, from waitresses in Las Vegas to accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

”It’s a shoe for when we’re on, for ambition; for magazine covers, red carpets, award shows, boardrooms, courtrooms, parliament buildings and debate lecterns. Rather paradoxically – or maybe not – according to the 150-year-old fetish industry, it has also consistently been viewed as a shoe for sex.

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”For women, what is the most public is also the most private, and vice versa. Along with being our most public shoe, it is also considered the most feminine.

”And so, again and again I have found that the question of high heels – to wear them or not to wear them, what they mean or don’t mean, signify or don’t signify, ask for or don’t ask for – has been an unlikely but fertile locus of feminist debate.

Modern elevated shoes were born in Paris, invented and then reinvented for western fashion as the classic high heels we recognize today. The first came in the 17th century at the court of King Louis XIV, when blocky talons hauts, inspired by Middle Eastern riding shoes, were deemed the best way for a nobleman to accentuate the muscles of his silk-stocking-clad calves and proclaim his status.

Source: Theguardian


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Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SA
Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SAhttps://new.surgezirc.co.za
Elize Coetzee, a seasoned journalist, is the driving force behind SurgeZirc SA’s world news and world politics coverage. With an unwavering commitment to truth, Elize delves into global affairs, providing live updates, in-depth investigations, and thought-provoking analysis. Whether it’s geopolitical tensions, international diplomacy, or breaking stories, Elize’s incisive reporting keeps readers informed and engaged.
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