Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Judge the success of feminism by high heels? Are you kidding me?

To every woman who has ever worn a pair of high heels, I feel your pain.

I don't mean the physical pain of having to wear heels, although I know how much they can hurt after a while because the women in my life have made that clear over the years. Plus, I'm not an idiot. I mean, look at those things! It's pretty obvious they're not comfortable.

No, the reason I feel your pain is because heels have been turned into a target of feminist screeds, a symbol of feminism's shortcomings. Can't someone wear a pair of Louboutins without betraying the women's movement?

Story continues below advertisement

Katy Brand doesn't seem to think so. Writing in the Telegraph, Brand quotes Caitlin Moran's 2011 book, How to Be a Woman: "We'll know that feminism has worked when a woman goes up to get a best actress Oscar wearing flat, comfortable shoes."

(Allow me to point out how moronic and repellent this statement is. With every harrowing issue that feminism has fought and continues to fight – violence against women, abortion rights, equal pay for equal work, to name only a few – to say that a woman wearing comfy shoes to an awards ceremony will be the proof that feminism has worked is the low point of reductionism and stupidity. It's vile.)

Brand agrees with Moran's statement wholeheartedly. Reflecting on the current awards season, "it is clear that we have a little way to go yet," she writes.

Just look at the Golden Globes and the BAFTA's. Heels everywhere, and not a single flat in sight.

The men at awards shows "all have a marvellous time, in flat, comfortable shoes, chatting and laughing and even doing a little bit of business" while women are "increasingly hysterical with pain," Brand writes.

She continues: "How much more fun we would be having if we could only stop being slaves to the torture stilts we insisted on wearing. We could then stand around and chat and laugh all night like the men … and maybe even do a little bit of business.

"It will be a brave women indeed who really does attend a high-profile awards ceremony as a top nominee in a pair of flats, and if she goes on to win, we will see a new dawn."

Story continues below advertisement

A new dawn! If only some courageous trailblazer would dare to stand up against the high heels hegemony!

It's certainly true that challenging gender norms and the appearance industrial complex are core parts of feminism, but really, a new dawn? They're just shoes, aren't they?

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨