On May 19th, it was reported that multiple women, including some with medical conditions, were turned away from a screening at the Cannes Film Festival for not wearing heels. ScreenDaily reported that the festival “did confirm that it is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels to red-carpet screenings.”
The ensuing furor forced the festival to retract that statement the next day, stating that “there is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels as well as for men’s…the department [ScreenDaily] was directed to on Monday for explanation of red carpet regulations might not have been aware of the ‘right information’ when they told us that heels were ‘obligatory’ for women.”
What really struck me about the Cannes incident is the disconnect between the women’s experience of the event – several reported being reprimanded by event staff for their shoes – and the official stance of “no such thing as a heel requirement”. It reminded me of the numerous conversations I’ve had with well-meaning people, mostly men, who honestly could not understand why so many women wreck their feet with heels. Why do women make this clearly irrational choice?