Looking at the rows of precious pointed stems, delicately placed and neatly kept in my cupboard, I wonder what one would call a collection of high heels. Indeed a “murder of heels” would be aptly named.
Those leather-bound, tightly stitched heels could do damage and serve the wearer two-fold, both as high accessory and self-defense weapon. Murder indeed after several hours of walking, working, dancing, and overall strutting.
And yet, my high heels are an invaluable experience to my daily living and lifestyle.
High heels are certainly one of the least comfortable footwear designs, however they continue to be highly popular choices. They shorten the stride, add height, elongated the calves and lengthen the legs. They can Instill confidence and belief in the wearer and are unlikely to go out of style.
This stylized, elegant extension of self has become a necessary accessory to modern survival. Heels are a cultural icon, albeit a rather cruel one. The consequences to our bodies from habitual heel wearing can include weakened/torn ligaments, potential arthritis in your knees, and lumbar spine flattening, to name a few.
Although these are sound reasons to no longer wear heels, women feel further empowered, which is a salute to their resolve.
The Stiletto Silhouette
The professional quality embodied by high heels penetrates our perception and attitude with a subtility almost as graceful as the heel itself. The heel lends the wearer an enhanced curve to her back as her posture is slightly exaggerated and her frame elongated.
These added qualities are registered just below the surface of our cognizance and provoke recognition of quiet, hidden beauty—a mystique.
Even the more eccentric, bold, and unapologetic heels don’t distract from the overall quality of the female form.
The grace of the heel is manifest in the slow, steady, deliberate steps needed to perform the function of style. The heel itself deliberately hinders the wearer’s walking pace down to a meditative, calm, contained speed.
The high heels shorten the stride and lengthen the leg of the wearer. The unruffled, tall figure of the heeled female form is distinguished and stately amongst the furor of city life. She is in complete control of her journey.
The rhythmic reassured click-clacking on cobblestoned sidewalks in slow, steady beat enchants the frantic world around her and demonstrates the luxury of taking one’s time.
Acquiring these instruments of power and beauty will financially take a toll on our bank accounts. But, with anything of actual value, the price only emphasizes that the product is worth it. Frequently women have exclaimed that these accessories are works of art and to be treasured for successive generations.
If handled correctly, years from now, heel collections will carry the cultural heritage, feel and flow of the 2020s. As lucky few hold the zeitgeist of the 1940s and 50s in their hands, passed down to them from the meticulous care of conscientious grandparents.
Again, as with anything of true worth, the value estimate only increases as the years carry on. This signals the investment value of high heels. If for nothing to justify the exorbitant price of purchase. However, one may ask, if our bank accounts depleted, how rich an experience could the heel honestly offer?
These people have never adorned a pair of heels themselves and could not understand the value granted to a single day in heels.
Raise the Gait
Unfortunately, heels have attained both a sexist stigma and a bad feminist reputation. The #myheelsmychoice arrived from the refusal of one Nicole Thorp to wear regulated heels (2 inches to 4-inch heel) as an employee at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
They sent her packing without pay. She then started a successful international movement, claiming over 150 000 signatures in a petition to legally protect women’s choice in footwear in the workplace.
She effectively garnered significant media attention and has reignited the dialogue of what necessitates feminine qualities in fashion, culture, power, and who presides over it.
Recently the Ukraine Ministry of Defense mandated that women wear heels in a 2021 August parade. After this mandate, there followed a considerable hostile reaction from feminists worldwide and an intense maelstrom of social media hashtag movements.
The Ukraine minister now confirms that women still have to wear heels, albeit more suited in comfort and health considerations (these shoes are now allowed lacing to tie the heel in place). It seems like we may be getting somewhere and slowly gaining ground, ladies.
The seduction of high heels is for women alone. It is our tool in this brutally unfair world to utilize when and how we wish.
When watching youtube interviews of designers Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Christian Dior, and different heads of Fashion institutions worldwide, I hear a constant themed narrative detailing the intent behind their vision. This narrative is one of respect, reverence, and adoration held to all women and perceived by the designers when conceiving the heel.
The design of the heel is with women in mind. The heel is a cultural icon not because it determines what a woman is; instead, it simply maximizes her experience. The heel uniforms a woman’s physique in power, grace, and seduction; it provides bearing in height and promise in stature.
In the Craftsman’s Words
What Blahnik describes as “enchanting,” the black ribbon and white linen of the shoes that surrounded him during his early years, details a fascination with making beautiful, loving instruments of lifestyle, art, and haute couture.
Christian Dior believed in the nonchalant chic of the elevated female form. Christian Louboutin claims that the heel “totally transforms the language of the women.” “To watch them walk,” as Blahnik explains, the beautiful undulations invoked from the heel experience are too valuable to discredit.
When defending the unreasonable qualities and expectations with choosing heels over flats, remember the minds and intent behind the design of the heel. These are not malicious, maniacal madmen who take secret sadistic pleasure in blisters, lousy posture, and depleted bank accounts.
These heels belong to the quiet, reserved thinker, the dreamer who is consciously and ever aware of the feminine endeavor.
These designers have granted us a commodity that consistently proves invaluable. They have evened the playing field. Now we can better meet our male peers, colleagues, and partners at eye level. And in Louboutin’s case, demand that they see red as we walk away.
The design of the high heel focuses on elevating and repositioning women to accentuate their feminine attributes. It isn’t for comfort. However, this is a price many women are only too willing to pay to feel their sensuality heightened femininity explored.
The strength required to wear stilettos is a women’s secret strength, her super alter ego. Although cruelty is associated with heels, the onus is on us women to claim back that narrative and allow heels in culture to express a liberated mindset. The inherent sensuality that is the natural outcome of wearing heels asserts one’s desire and celebration of what it is to feel beautiful truly.
The female experience frequently struggles needlessly with asymmetrically aligned divisions of power. The heel creates a persona available to all women capable and joyous in succeeding where so many tell her she can’t. But it is for women alone to claim that right; this is something that requires constant cognizance.
Men must understand that the narrative of seduction in a heeled walk is not his. It is for us women to invite. Unfortunately, high heels need constant defense. The toll on our bodies and banks makes it questionable whether this accessory is genuinely the asset many claims to be.
However, this only contributes to their formidable power. And so, we strut on. Strut on ladies, strut on.
The Guardian: Sex, power, oppression: why women wear high heels
Psychology Today: The Psychology of Women – What is the Meaning of High Heels?
The List: The Real Reasons Women Wear Heels
Kinvara Balfour: THE VISIONARIES: Manolo Blahnik, shoe designer
CBS Mornings: Christian Louboutin on his famous red-soled footwear