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Like the sound of my own voice played back to me, the clack of my heels echoing through the rows of desks in my office would have been unbearable a few years ago. Today, I adore it.

I’m Sierra Bein, a content editor at The Globe, and I once had a conflicted relationship with high-heeled shoes. To me, wearing heels screams a type of self confidence I used to have trouble owning. It took me years to feel like I was worthy of them and to take ownership of the traits (assurance, determination, poise) I associate with this footwear.

I was cursed with the largest feet of all the women in my family, which meant I also had the good fortune of being able to wear my mom’s heels around the house at the tender age of 10. When I would visit my aunt, she would let me don a pair and pretend I was older and beautiful like her. I would imagine my grown up self one day wearing these special noise makers.

That sound, the gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) click clack of heels on a hard surface, reminds me of my mother walking alongside us on city streets, of formidable teachers making their way down the hall and of my boss rushing out of her office. It’s the sound of a self-confident woman on the move, her shoes seeming to say, “Yes, I’m making noise. Yes, I want you to hear me.”

And science actually backs that notion up, as Beca Grimm writes in a piece titled “Why Women Love Loud Shoes” on Racked. "In general, the research implies that people wear loud shoes because they do want to be noticed,” Dr. Simon Moss of Monash University told her.

That may be true, but that’s not how I started out. Long fascinated by heels, I began to wear them in earnest when I landed my first job as a news editor at my university newspaper. In those early days, though, I tried to make as little noise as possible, consciously making an effort to muffle my steps.

It turns out, I’m not the only one. Google yields plenty of results on how to quiet your heels. Don’t lift your feet too high off the ground, use heel caps, get gel cushions. And let’s not forget those who actively hate that tapping noise (cue the blog posts and chat groups).

I’m well aware that heels are thought to be a tool of the patriarchy – a way to make women more attractive. That’s why sometimes when men design heels for their own viewing pleasure, they can look nice but feel awful. Just ask the legions of women who are forced to endure painful footwear on the job. (Last year, Alberta followed Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba in banning employers from making high heels mandatory.) Because let’s face it, heels can be bad for our health. Lower back, knee and foot pain are all possible ailments. And while we mostly associate heels as women’s wear, ironically, it was actually men who used them to boost their egos first. In the late seventeenth century, for example, Louis XIV favoured them for giving him a more daunting stature.

So why then, do I wear heels? Is it to be somehow more attractive? Honestly, no. I wear them because they’ve become my secret weapon when I need a bit more self confidence (shout out to Louis). Yes, heels give me – at five feet tall – a bit more height. But they do more than just that. When I wear heels I pay more attention to my posture, I make eye contact more confidently and I walk with more purpose. The extra inches help me feel a little more prominent, and since I’m often the shortest person in the room, a little less – literally – looked down on.

Back in my first year working at the student paper, when I made the bold move of starting to wear heels, I felt like a mousy girl who was easy to ignore. I was the youngest person on the whole team and somehow wearing them helped mask my feelings of imposter syndrome. Once I started actually embracing them – and the click clack they came with – people’s impressions of me changed. After I graduated, I became editor in chief and president of the paper, and I learned that some of my staff would hear me coming before they could see me, and quickly get to work. I wasn’t out to scare people, but I admit, the authority I began to assume, in part, thanks to my chosen footwear, made me more effective as a leader. (And I say “in part” because, of course, I can’t give heels all the credit.)

Where once I tried to quiet my step in them, now, six years later, I clonk around like nobody’s business. If heads turn, that’s all right. If people talk about me and my noisy feet, I don’t mind. Heels, I realize, are a positive tool for me, and if a man ever wants to complain about that, well, I’ll point him back to that trailblazer Louis.

What else we’re thinking about:

I was fascinated by Joe Friesen’s recent Globe story about how the University of Manitoba studied years of medical school admissions data and found that wealthy white students were more likely to get in. Friesen introduces us to Fatemeh Bakhtiari in the piece, a second-year medical student at the U of M, who was born in Afghanistan but grew up in Winnipeg. As he writes,"Ms. Bakhtiari said she believes the diversity of her class is valuable for two reasons: Diverse groups have been shown to be more innovative, and physicians should reflect the population they serve." I know I’m most comfortable with a female doctor, and I can’t imagine others wouldn’t benefit from sharing commonalities with their doctors as well.

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