The High Price of Heels

I don’t know what it is but there’s something sexy about high heels. The way they enhance the shape of a woman’s legs, perhaps? But women pay a high price for wearing them. And I’m not talking about the retail markup.

heelsWhen I was a young reporter at the Star in Toronto, I interviewed doctors attending a convention in the city and – without exception – they warned that wearing high heels can be severely damaging.

High-heeled shoes not only disfigure the feet and strain the legs and knees, the doctors said, they can also cause long-term injury to the spine.

And, of course, as the doctors pointed out,  there’s always the danger of serious injury from falling.

As you might imagine, that was a long, long time ago – more than half a century, in fact. Yet women are still being required by some employers to wear high heels as part of a “corporate dress code.”

Finally, a rebellion is brewing against this lingering form of bondage. In a recent New Yorker article, writer Mary Karr urged women to revolt, proclaiming:

Oh, womenfolk, as once we burned our bras, could we not torch the footwear crucifiying us?

Karr is not alone.  In a Salon.com article today, Mary Elizabeth Williams reports that a revolt against high heels has erupted in Britain. There’s a movement afoot to change the British law that allows employers to specify different dress codes for women than for men.

Imagine that! In the year 2016, women still have to fight not only for equal pay but also for equal treatment under the law! And in a supposedly advanced western society, not in some feudal Mideast fiefdom.

So let’s hear it for the rebels! Let’s hear it for Julia Roberts (one of my all-time favorite movie stars), who defied the dress code at the Cannes Festival the other day, showing up on the red carpet not just without heels but without shoes. 

And (as you can see from the photo above), she looked totally sexy without any help from those pernicious high heels.

Click for the Salon.com article.

More on the dangers of heels.