Friday, May 24, 2024

High heels and the politics of dress

The high heel fashionable fetishism is a form of self-harm on a level with wearing tightly laced corsets, or foot binding which were banned centuries ago
Fashion Model, Nebula Mokwena describes heels as “a girl’s best friend”. Feminists who fought long and hard to liberate women from fashion that endanger their health would turn in their graves if the knew that more than two centuries after the bra burning revolution┬á “girl” , “high heels” and “best friend” are still mentioned in the same breath.
The corset-opposing Rational Dress Society founded in 1881, included heels as part of its offensive against “dress that deforms the figure, impedes the movements of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health”.
Mokwena however insists that heels “make you feel splendid about yourself. They make you feel great. They are a confidence booster…they make you feel like you can conquer the world, they make you feel on top of the world, like you can do anything.”
Mokwena says the higher the heel the better. With a skyscraper high shoe, the petite fashion model must cut quite a dash on the rump or perched on a bar stool, however,  it must be torture on days when she has to walk out of her front door after breakfast and return after dark.
The petite fashion model who prefers to keep the world under her six inch spike is among a legion of Batswana women who have been taken in by the current vogue for six inch swagger. The sight of woman hoisted on high heels flailing around like a baby fawn attempting to master the skill of walking is as common as a Motswana woman who has never heard of the bra-burning revolution. Most think nothing of a shoe that turn a two-block walk into a blister-inducing trial.
Fashionista and RB2 Fashion Presenter Seneo Moji shares Mokwena’s sentiments that, “heels make one confident. They make one have a posture that goes with an attitude,” Moji said a nice, comfortable pair of heels is good for dressing up for formal occasions and even going to the office.
Dyed in the wool feminists with feet firmly on the ground ÔÇô pun intended-┬á argue that men have traditionally demanded that women walk in pain and gained great sexual satisfaction from this. The fashion industry that creates the rules is dominated by men, many of whom are shoe fetishists. They project their interest on to women’s broken feet. Others, however, argue that feminism counts for nothing if it is not a guarantee of choice. What heels inhibit in terms of speed, they restore by means of swagger. The stiletto, after all, was originally a weapon, which lent fatal meaning to the notion of bringing a man to heel.
Moji, who is also a Fashion Consultant and owner of Amiel Fashion Investments, advises that heels should be worn sparingly, “only on special occasions because living in them would cause health side-effects.”
To drive her point home, she shares a story about a woman she met while studying abroad who had an obsession for heals. The poor lady had so many health complications that the number of visits she had to make to the doctor were enough to wear out her collection of high heels.
A 2010 study reveals that women who wear high heels are likely to incur more injuries. The study says that high heeled women hurt themselves more when compared with those who put on flat shoes. Some have had to be rushed to hospital after twisting an ankle or tearing a tendon.
The same study revealed that more than three million women worldwide have ended up seeking medical help due to their footwear.
The argument that heels give women sex appeal is also a moot point among men. Women in stilettos might have longer legs at the party. But surely one who is wearing pretty flats gaily dashing about talking to people and ruling the dance floor is a damn sight more attractive than some mopey girl stuttering on the sidelines, admiring her shoes.  In short, girls in flat shoes are a lot more fun at a party.


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