Here at Stylist, we’ve long been believers that your feminist credentials aren’t defined by the clothes you wear. We also have little time for the idea that women wear certain clothes or accessories solely to appeal to men.
But whether it’s women being sent home from work for wearing flats or the most powerful woman in the UK being told (by other women, natch) that her love of designer heels stems from a desire to “meet men’s expectations”, women still frequently find their footwear choices under scrutiny.
Now Tamara Mellon, the co-founder and former chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo, has dismissed feminist criticisms of high-heeled shoes.
“Heels aren’t anti-feminist,” Mellon tells the Telegraph. “They have nothing to do with looking sexy for men – they’re not there for men’s benefit but our own. If you put on a great pair of heels it’s mood altering, and I always feel empowered in high heels.”
Mellon adds that heels are only inherently unfair if women can’t actually walk in them: if their dedication to glamorous footwear stops them getting shit done.
“One thing I’m tired of though, is being in pain,” she says. “And that is a feminist issue.”
She’s right, of course. If you frequently find yourself hobbling around on the arm of the nearest available human because your shoes are completely impossible to walk in – let alone run for a bus or away from a mugger – it’s probably time to rethink your footwear choices.
It was the comfort issue that led receptionist Nicola Thorp to start a petition after she was sent home from work for refusing to wear heels earlier this year. “I was expected to do a nine-hour shift on my feet escorting clients to meeting rooms,” she told BBC Radio London. “I said I just won’t be able to do that in heels.” And fair enough.
Ultimately, heels don’t make the feminist: being able to choose whether or not to wear them does.
Images: Rex Features