The Cannes Film Festival actresses were photographed walking the red carpet with elegant floor-length dresses obscuring the shoes they wore for the special occasion.
So what’s the big deal if a woman decides not to wear hard-to-walk heels, but opt for more convenient — even fashion-forward — flats to step into this well-known movie extravaganza?
But for some people, it seems to really matter. It was reported last week that some women wore flats to the festival only to be turned away for violating the dress code. In fact, heels seem to be one of the unwritten red carpet dress codes. Wearing high heels changes the way you stand, walk, and how people feel about you. Even though the shoes are rarely seen, when the hem of the dress is swung aside, they are essentially the corset: the shoes allow women to position themselves.
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High heels have become a symbol of femininity and even female power. However, what exactly is this power? why is it only women who have the privilege of expressing it in high heels?
High heels would have a “lifting” effect on the wearer, similar to the advantage of riding a horse. And it was not originally a women’s clothing. High heels were first introduced to Western fashion from West Asia at the turn of the 17th century. For more than 130 years, it was an expression of power and prestige, with privileged men clamoring for high heels, and women of that class following suit.
In the 18th century, however, things changed. The differences between men’s and women’s clothing began to reflect a broader cultural shift. No matter which class they belong to, men are seen as the only rational-thinking sex and therefore should have the right to vote in politics. In this new equality, men no longer need high heels. They started wearing the emerging three-piece suits in sombre shades that being unique was discouraged. At the turn of the century, Alexander Pope laid out the rules for men’s clubs, which warned that if a member “has a heel more than an inch and a half…the person shall be immediately expelled…from us , go taller yourself!”
In contrast, women are seen as inherently irrational and unfit for education and citizenship. Fashion was redefined as frivolity and femininity, and high heels became a powerful addition to the “silly white sweet” image. In the 1781 short story “The Delineator,” the “lively” character Harriot “wobbled in French heels, with a head as unstable as her feet,” representing the The ideal model of 18th-century women. Then high heels had other reasons to be uneasy; they were associated with feminine vanity and dishonesty. There is also growing concern that women will use sexy clothing such as high heels to confuse men and usurp power, Marie Antoinette being a case in point. And this notion laid the groundwork for the high heels of Louboutin Uk sale to become an accessory that represented female power.