It is obligatory for all women to wear high heels

Back in May 2015 I wrote this post about the Cannes film festival’s banning women from film screenings if they were not wearing high heels.

Annals of Gender Policing. Anna Merlan at Jezebel reports:

The Cannes Film Festival is reportedly not allowing women into screenings if they’re wearing flat shoes.

Into screenings. It would be bad enough if it were the Top Gala Codfish Ball, but it’s screenings. People go to screenings as part of their work, as well as for entertainment and enlightenment. The Cannes Film Festival is a professional event as well as social and festive and so on.

And then there’s the issue of what high heels are, which is a form of temporary and comparatively mild foot-binding. The bones aren’t actually broken as they are in footbinding (although high heels can easily cause broken bones in the feet and anywhere else, because they’re highly unstable – that’s the whole point of them), but they are pinched and bent.

A few days ago I saw a pair of woman-man couples cross the street on their way to a wedding in a local park. The street there is pocked and lumpy, as city streets so often are. Both women looked all but disabled by the task – their posture was hunched and distorted as they picked each step carefully in their towering heels. The men of course were just walking in a normal confident manner. It creeps me out that this is just normal. I think most people consider foot-binding (if they’re aware of it) grotesque and deeply misogynist, yet high heels are a close relative of foot-binding but they’re seen as normal…and in Cannes, actively mandated.

Flatgate erupted on Twitter this week after several women were apparently turned away from a red carpet screening of Cate Blanchett’s new movie Carol because they were in the demon flats. According to Screen Daily, the screening was on a Sunday night and the women weren’t exactly wearing Keds:

Multiple guests, some older with medical conditions, were denied access to the anticipated world-premiere screening for wearing rhinestone flats.

The festival declined to comment on the matter, but did confirm that it is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels to red-carpet screenings.

Obligatory. That’s fucked up.

Today the BBC reports:

The issue of high heels at Cannes has been a spiky one in recent years.

Now it seems Kristen Stewart, a member of this year’s jury at the film festival, has flouted the ban on flat shoes – by instead going barefoot on the red carpet.

The Twilight actress wore black Louboutin heels as she arrived at the BlacKkKlansman premiere.

But before entering the screening of the Spike Lee film, she slipped off her shoes to walk up the stairs.

She was apparently not sanctioned for taking off her heels.

Last year, Stewart – who’s been known to wear trainers with dresses on the red carpet – spoke about the event’s fashion rules.

“There’s definitely a distinct dress code, right?” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “People get very upset if you don’t wear heels or whatever.

“I feel like you can’t ask people that any more – it’s a given. If you’re not asking guys to wear heels and a dress, you cannot ask me either.”

Forcing women to wear heels is forcing them to be slowed down, off balance, easy to push over, weakened, hobbled. It’s forcing them to be at a huge physical disadvantage compared to men. Given what we’ve been learning about the ways of the film industry, maybe that’s not such a good idea, huh?

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