Friday, 5 March 2010

Why do women wear heels when they go out?

This really grates with me. Over time a heel – wearer’s feet will become more twisted than a government spin-doctor and above a certain height any girl who says she can walk in them is Pinocchio’s long lost sister. High shoes can also be acutely painful, so why would anyone dream of putting themselves through this?

Well, I suppose there are benefits; heels do make legs look longer thereby allegedly enhancing sex appeal and epitomising the age - old stereotype of the unsteady, vulnerable girl needing the strong, sturdy man to protect her. Also, in the extraordinarily short-term mentalities of the people who fall victim to the Topshop, New Look and - if it’s payday - Prada, ideals; a night out is just not complete without the “investment” resulting from an inevitably guilt-ridden trip to town.

There are a host of other tenuous rationalities for going through the torment that heel wearing brings, but these are too lengthy, irksome and quite frankly dull to go into here. This is because I currently have a far more distressing reality to address; I am a heel wearer.

Certainly not on a daily basis, but generally if I go out, I will eschew the pain factor in favour of the High Street’s latest offerings. The one thing that settles my conscience as I get ready is that I do consistently ask myself why I’m going to put myself through all the angst that heel wearing brings. The answer is – I like being tall. When I’m tall I feel in control. True, after a few vodka and cokes I may have to strive for levels of concentration I never even considered whilst sitting my A-levels and at the end of the night the bliss that ensues from taking the shoes off is utterly amazing. But I will have felt empowered for the past few hours, and that beats everything.

Scratching six foot in my most extreme bone-crunchers means I am in a prime position for people – spotting in crowds. I can talk eye – to – eye with my male friends who normally I have to look up to (physically if not metaphorically!) and I always know exactly where I am because I can see. And I really love that.

When I do go to the most painful extreme it must be for the sake of feeling equal. However, I have wondered if there is a tiny, devilish part of me that actually craves authority, rather than this infinitely sweeter equality. Completely countering this, I do occasionally worry that it must be fairly strange, even to the point of emasculating, for my male peers’ ancient role as “protectors” suddenly to be thrown out of kilter when their “protectees” are taller than they are. Just a thought.

As it is I know I will have continue to try to win my own argument whenever I go out – determinedly trying to trick my mindset into thinking I look empowered rather than vulnerable when I leave the sanctuary of my room. From past experience I know I can succeed in this.

At least until I rock up at AnE in the wee small hours with a broken ankle and half empty bottle of Smirnoff.

1 comment:

  1. Carolyne Larrington8 March 2010 at 15:26

    It's not just about looking wobbly and defenceless though, is it? How can you run or jump, or do any of the active things which men take for granted when you are as effectively hobbled as an early twentieth-century Chinese woman with her tiny bound feet?