George The Label: Stories of Empowerment & Equality
Posted on May 17 2019
Stilettos as a symbol of female empowerment, not sexualisation.
A note from the creative director at George The Label.
High heels are so much more than an accessory to an outfit. They are an "accessory" but what they accent is more than what a person is wearing. They accessorise personality and perception. When a woman puts on a pair of high heels, she is perceived to be more confident and powerful and probably feels more confident and empowered.
Women need to take back the stiletto. So often society is in uproar over a girl who is "too young" to wear stilettos because there is a common misconception that she is being sexualised for a male audience. Thinking back to when I was a young girl, I was fascinated with high heels and would often try on my mum's shoes. I didn't even think about how they would look to anyone else, let alone a man. I felt beautiful, feminine and confident. It was empowering, and thus my fascination with the high heel truly blossomed.
From their conception, heels have been meant to elevate physically, bestowing a superior posture but also perceived power or prestige from the added stature. This was the intended purpose but the highly politically correct society we live in today has misconstrued this and now more so than not, high heels are interpreted as a symbol of sexual maturity, rather than female strength and empowerment.
In one of their first modern appearances, Catherine de Medici wore heels at her presentation to the French court in 1533, wanting the event to be memorable, and by doing so she captured the true essence of heels, appearances. This goes back to the idea that wearing heels creates a vision of confidence for the eye of the perceive and in the mind of the wearer.
Height has always been equated with power. As a taller woman, I always wear heels because I want to be one of the tallest people in the room. I want to see what’s around me and be seen. I don't mean that I want attention or comments about my appearance, but I want people to think I am a strong, confident leader.
We need to reclaim the stiletto and reinstate its rightful position as a symbol of female power. We need to wear our high heels with pride and call out negative comments about our physical appearance.
In direct contradiction to the idea that women wear high heels to be more desirable to men, often men and women alike don't want women to wear high heels in fear that they will appear taller than their male partner. Considering the above-mentioned idea that heels are a tool to demonstrate power and leadership, perhaps some men are threatened by the idea that their woman could be more powerful than them, and therefore don't want them to wear the pants, or the heels in the relationship.
On the flip side, a lot of women themselves don't want to appear taller than their partner because they want outsiders to perceive that their man has all those typically attractive masculine qualities, such as strength and leadership. It's unfortunate that heels become collateral damage in this equation. Women and men a like should be able to feel equally as powerful as one another. In my opinion, a couple who is perceived as equal is far more attractive than one where the man appears to be dominant.
By Vesna Koteska.
Creative Director of George The Label