Why high heels?

Hello everyone!

I have been woefully late in writing anything lately, which is probably due to a combination of factors — some of them including writer’s block, and all of them relating to the fact that this is the end of the semester, and my academic life took a turn for the excitingly-rapid-fire-worst.

I’m ready to accept the fact that this weekend is going to be a doozy. But before I embrace those organic molecules and inject them into the very fiber of my being, let’s talk a little bit about fashion. More specifically, painful fashion. Because we all know that it’s out there, running rampant in every clothing and shoe department in every shopping center. So, what I’m wondering is…

Why do we wear high heels?

Why have women constantly been relegated to painful fashion? I’m going beyond the traditional scope of corsets and foot-binding (though I know we are all just dying to look at pictures of invisible waistlines and mutilated feet). I’m talking about a very personal, daily struggle for many women — our choice of shoes. Why do I get the sense that women have to do a lot of painful things to even keep up with the most current fashion trends?

Me, I don't really get it.

Me, I don’t really get it.

Christian Louboutin, the fashion designer who helped return the stiletto to popularity, once said:

I hate the idea of natural. For example, I prefer gardens to wild nature…High heels are a complete invention – an extravagance. They’re far from natural, but it’s the impracticality that I adore. I prefer the useless to the useful, the sophisticated to the natural.”

Yup. Definitely less useful.

Yup. Definitely less useful.

Useless? Hates the idea of natural? Hm. I don’t know, that doesn’t really jive with me.

There are a lot of things that I would like to say about this topic, especially since this type of fashion is even “useless” to one of it’s own creators. Foot-binding was a very obvious detriment to women, since it left them absolutely incapacitated and unable to contribute much  due to a lack of mobility. To me, the same argument can be made for high heels; they are a shoe that lacks a fundamental function of any shoe, and that is the ability to travel, and that does not seem to benefit women and the expectations they are meant to have for their bodies. Is attractiveness linked to the seeming handicap? Are women deemed more attractive the less they are able to do in their clothes?

Walking with danger

Walking with danger

But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps my concerns with the health of women’s bodies and feet in particular are unfounded. I will admit that I am not a connoisseur of heels, so I definitely come from a distinctly biased corner. So this week, I actually would like to hear from you, my readers.

What is your experience with high heels, and how does it impact how you feel about yourself? Have you ever thought of them as a hindrance, or a benefit, and why?

This time I would like to hear your perspective, so send me a comment on this site, and we’ll try this whole cyber-conversation thing out!


In the Holiday Spirit

The holiday season is upon us! Thanksgiving has past, Chanukah is well underway, and the consumer industry has been selling Christmas decorations since October. Revel in the American Dream that is (was) Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

A friend of mine posted a few really funny cartoons that compare Thanksgiving traditions over the years – namely, how something when you were a kid is radically different when you are experiencing it as an adult. It’s really funny how much of it can be true – from the perspectives on overeating to the interactions with cheek-pinching relatives and on and on and on. So many of those things seem to apply to my life and will probably apply to my Thanksgivings in the future.


“You are my Everest!” – Joey, to the turkey

What left me inordinately uncomfortable after I read those cartoons was that there was a shred of truth behind a lot of them.  Sure, it was funny when you realize that the perspectives about eating change as you age, from food being purely enjoyed to becoming a guilt trip that is completely unavoidable in modern social circles. It’s as though we are content to wallow in our own self-disgust every single year.

I have spent too many years in the past feeling guilt and shame over Thanksgiving and regretting my decisions at the end of winter. A lot of years falling into the Black Friday guilt workout and feeling the stuffing sweats pouring down my face and accumulating in deposits  on the treadmill. And a lot of years repeating the golden phrase “Guess I’m not eating for a week!”

cartoon women on treadmills

This is not a declaration of war against healthy eating habits and fitness maintainence — I commend those people who (probably) keep better snacks in their fridge than I do and don’t succumb to hot chocolate every night rather than trudge through the cold to the gym to work out. You are on the right track, believe you me, a track that most of us should consider. This is a declaration of war against what we have made the holiday season — a guilting like no other, focused entirely upon what we do, what we eat, and what we look like when the day is done. Too often has that been my MO, and I’m a little tired of it. I think that what might take the pressure off of those of us who feel anxiety about the holidays and how your body might emerge from them is refocusing your attention in a positive way. Here are my tips:

  1. Establish the liberties you might be taking with yourself during the holidays. If you have the self-control, you can ignore this. I for one have found that self-surveillance can be at its most difficult during this time of year. Rather than labor over every “bad” decision you make, decide ahead of time how free you will be with your food choices.
  2. Turn your attention toward the people who matter most in your life. Don’t avoid your problems, but use this as a chance to help others. Sometimes this puts our own problems into perspective.
  3. Take time to think about things for which you are most thankful. It could be your mom, it could be your room, it could be yours eyes, it could be your eyebrows. Five things. Every day.