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Expression Not Oppression

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Stop Projecting Your Opinions on My Footwear

And stop telling me what to wear. A weird sentiment from a style magazine, I know, but, it’s not what you think. Here at High Fashion Living, we strive to be as embedded in the fashion world as possible, from millennial trends to ethical issues, we eat, sleep and breathe the fashion industry. So as socio-political issues find their way to starting fads and trends, we keep our ears to the ground and do our best to keep ourselves, and our readers, informed.

A little while back there was a “study” (I put that in quotes because it was proven said study was drastically lacking in research and held no weight with its peers) that made headlines from Cyprus saying that Lesbianism wasn’t real and was only a product of women having sex with women in an effort to turn men on. Ridiculous, right? To think women do what they do, or are who they are solely because of their relation to men, is narrow-minded and insulting. Cut to women accusing other women of this same thing based on how they’re dressed.

An article recently posted on Newsweek is a prime example of someone who sat through just enough of their gender studies class to realize “I’m a woman, I’ve been oppressed, so it’s me against anyone else who has differing opinions from me,” often making them against other women that they don’t find are “up to their feminist standards.” Well, let me stop you right there, shitting on a woman is still just that, no matter of your gender. The post in question goes on to criticize Melania Trump based on her shoe choice, and not in a fashion-police kind of way.  Let me first say, I don’t support President Trump in any way, I am social liberal and equality activist, and I find everything he says and does in direct opposition to my beliefs and puts those who I love most in harm’s way. That being said, there are numerous other things you could criticize Melania for, such as her bullshit claim of trying to make cyberspace a safer place, but suggesting that her Manolo’s are single handily carrying us into a Handmaid’s tale-esque future is a stretch. Then going on to suggest any women wearing high heels are doing so to send “sexual-signals” to the opposite sex, makes you sound like that asshole from Cyprus. This article also pulls quotes telling women heels “shouldn’t be worn at work” due to the fact that they’re distracting and make it’s it harder to take women seriously in the work place, that sounds an awful lot like something a man would say in response to a woman wanting to wear shorts or a tank top.

In a touch and go article from The Atlantic: Arch Enemies, there’s a quote that reads “stripped of their symbolism, heels are, simply, shoes.” The article should have ended there; heels are shoes, any and all symbolism or connotation surrounding them are given to them by others. Opinions are often forced onto the wearer without their consent, and things get dangerous when inanimate objects begin to have opinions seemly.

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 21: Thousands of people marched in Washington, DC on Saturday, January 21, 2016 for the Women’s March on Washington. A protestor marches down Constitution Ave. NW. The march portion of the event was canceled by people marched anyway. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

I understand the history of the heel as well, originally worn by men to keep their feet and clothes elevated above mud, feces, and blood, the style was supposedly adopted by Catherine de Medici, an Italian noble woman who chose to use the shoe as a fashion statement. In the 16th century royalty such as Mary, I of England started wearing them to have more imposing of a stature. It is also suggested that the heel was adopted more regularly in 1600s Europe to keep shoes from sliding out of stirrups while on horseback. Various scholars give a slew of different origin stories to the high heel, from as far back as the butchers of ancient Egypt to the prostitutes of 17th century France, one thing is quite sure, they have served many purposes for many people over the centuries.

ITALY – MARCH 18: Woman’s carved, gold high-heeled sandal, 1935, made in Italy. Italy, 20th century. Vigevano, Castello Visconteo Sforzesco, Museo Della Calzatura E Della Tecnica Calzaturiera ‘Petro Bertolini’ (Shoes Museum) (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

You can’t say you fight for women’s rights when you turn around and tell them what they can or cannot wear as well; this makes you a hypocrite. Just like I’m not saying this woman shouldn’t have written this piece, it’s her opinion and her writing, and you go girl, but maybe go back and finish your gender studies class and maybe take an ethics class while you’re at it.

WASHINGTON, DC -JAN21: Tens of thousands march to the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women’s March on Washington, January 21, 2017. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

 

All this to say that for many the high heel is art, it’s wearable design and sculpture that many people enjoy and in which they find happiness. It’s also an accessory that many in the fashion realm choose to wear because of how they complete or compliment an entire outfit. Let’s also not forget the essential element the heel plays in the art of the Drag Queen. With so many different motives to wear what you want, how you want, it seems frivolous to try and project your opinions and agenda on another person choice of self-expression. You cannot live in extremes and expect peace. Equality is created by lifting people up, not pushing people down, to put everyone on the same level.

Several participants get ready to take part in the “High Heels Race” as part of the WorldPride 2017 celebrations in Madrid on June 29, 2017.

By Kit Royce

@KitRoyce | Kit Royce

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