Taking to the heels
Ranjita Biswas | 18 May 2016
Taking to the heels
Who would have thought that the heels, that is, the wedges ladies’ shoes flaunt, would be so much in news now?

Nicola Thorpe of London petitioned against the company that hired her but was ‘sent home’ because she refused to wear high heels at work. She was told that as a receptionist she was expected to follow the so-called dress code.  


Perhaps, or perhaps not, in solidarity with Thorpe’s stand, Julia Roberts, America’s sweet heart, dared to go barefoot on the red carpet at the high profile Cannes film Festival this year where her new film Money Monster was premiered even though  she wore a high-fashion  black gown.


Meanwhile, Thorpe’s petition drew more than 50,000 signatories in support, the majority of them undoubtedly by long-suffering women at work place. Facing the public backlash, Portico, an outsourcing British company, which had hired Thorpe, has withdrawn the dress-code “with immediate effect” saying women employees are now allowed to wear “flat shoes.”  


So is a silent revolution happening when women in their own way are ringing in the changes with their action? For years, high heels in western fashion, and replicated in other countries, have ruined the health of legs, knees (which have to bear the onslaught of the unnatural tip-toed stance) and varicose veins in old age.  But nobody protested.  Now women who do not want to wear those stilettos at work would sigh in relief. Of course, it will take time to change the shoe-code but Thorpe will always be a referral point. As she said, “…dress codes should reflect society and nowadays women can be smart and formal and wear flat shoes.”


Change takes time, but the beginning has to be made by someone who dares. Can you imagine today going through the torture as Scarlett O’Hara did in Gone with the Wind as Mammy pulled and tightened her corset to almost breathlessness so that her waist would look only 16 inches and, not to forget, she could only nibble in her state at the party as a lady should?

Hurrah for the no-heels look, if one prefers!