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Flat Shaming

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?

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Do you know your shoe size?

If I ask you what is your shoe size, you might say something like “well, I can wear X or Y, depending”, but most people have a definitive number in mind they can rattle off without thinking.

Are you sure you know yours?

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Weird Feet

Nearly every woman whose feet I’ve measured has said the same thing to me: “oh, my feet are weird”.

Even after I told them they are trying on a development sample, that the shoe is probably wrong and they are there to help me figure out what needs to be fixed about it. Even when I told them that something will most likely hurt. Even when I asked them to be as picky as they can be with their fit feedback. More often than not, I got some version of “here’s what I feel, but you can probably disregard what I’m telling you because my feet – you know, they’re weird”.

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