Wednesday, December 27, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Empowers

So...About These Heels...

While reading Bonnie Wertheim's recent New York Times article on high heels, I became energized to write.  Within the first few paragraphs, I already had my wheels spinning about what to say.  She wrote about so much--feminism, women in the workplace, harassment, the history of heels.  I had to dive into this topic.  Heels are my favorite.  

As 2017 has given us a lot to talk about in regards to women and their roles everywhere, the theme of high heels and their place is really striking.  Wertheim wrote about an upset arts publicist/mom of 3 who was overdone by the limit (one) of shoes in the emoji library.  It basically signified the high heel was the only way to signify womanhood.  No boots or flats of any sort.  Just a heel, and a high one at that.  

Sliding my foot in...
I should share my bias before going any further.  I absolutely love heels.  I wear them every day while at work (I do use flats or boots as necessary for transportation.  Walking long distances or dealing with Chicago snow are not ideal for heel or foot care).  I should also note, I am 4'11", so for me, a heel of almost any sort just gets me in the game.  People literally talk above my head, so being at a height extreme kind of creates a need for additional inches.  Plus, I just like heels.  In liking heels, I know the importance of heel care.  Avoiding cracks and grates (this can sometimes be hard), so wear platforms when possible, they absorb the shock when walking), wearing flats when necessary (because too much of anything isn't so good), having a good shoe shop on hand at all times (this is obvious), and of course--actually wearing them.  You can't get good and comfortable with it if you don't practice.  

Stepping back from my disclaimer, I agree with the sentiment--women should not be limited to dusty old stereotypes when it comes to apparel and ability.  If a woman can star in, produce, and direct a critically acclaimed movie, she should not be told by a film festival she must wear heels.  If for any reason--style, form, function, preference or physical need--a woman decides heels are not for her, she should have a plethora of acceptable options.  She should have this without repercussions--even if it's in her emoji library.  

More inches...
But what about the other side to this argument?  No, women should not be bound be historical references to femininity and status when it comes to appearance.  And nope, she shouldn't be wearing high heels in a flood either--purely based on the obvious circumstances of what's literally appropriate for the situation (See. ...never mind).  However, women should not have to be neutralized in their femininity in order to be accepted.  

When Hillary Clinton was running for President the 1st time, the "Traveling Pantsuits" was its own phenomenon.  But it spoke to something.  Women had to appear as close to masculine as possible--without crossing that line--in order to be accepted in such a male-dominated field.  This is just as bad as women being cornered into heels only.  

Just because a woman wears heels and other traditionally feminine pieces doesn't mean she's to be any less accepted in her field or industry.  As noted in Time Magazine's recent piece on female leaders becoming the norm, less than 50 women have been elected to the U.S. Senate in the chamber's history.  But numbers like this are changing--right along with the way the women look.  Sure, you'll always find professional women in the pantsuit or even skirt suit of her choice.  Yet these days, even with just 6% of Fortune 500 companies being run by women, you'll see plenty in heels, flowy dresses, and other ultra-feminine looks.  I bet you won't mess with them in the halls of your local statehouse or boardroom, though.  They know what they're doing.  They're experts in their industry and role models to those behind them.  More than heels for sure.  

The next step...
Today's lexicon is filled with themes of women having to overcome many of the issues we thought we were working through decades, even centuries ago.  Sexual harassment (regardless of the attire) has been a mainstay, and equality for women of all races is still quite the uphill battle.  

As we ladies continue to push forward, make our voices heard, and show our daughters how it's done, we have to lean on our many options--both in attire and profession.  We cannot be bound by overly feminine roles and apparel.  And we must not let our counterparts force us into the submission of neutrality.  Further noted in the Time article, "research shows that at least 30% of a group has to consist of nonconformists before the "other" label is abandoned, and each member is valued for him--or herself".  Also, the more homogenous a group, the lower the cumulative IQ dwindles. We have to put effort into moving the needle here.  

Let's do it.

In the meantime, here are some high heel faves...
Kendall Miles - Super cute, trailblazing; with Chicago ties
Ron White - Form and function; cute and comfortable
Tiannia Barnes - Fun, fashionable, and inspiring

Here, also are some of our other posts on shoes...particularly the ones every woman should own.

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