"A symbol of women's oppression," that's what English scholar and classicist Professor Mary Beard said in response to Manolo Blahnik statement "In high heels, you just feel powerful." However, why should women be forced to balance in themselves in something deemed attractive but downright painful and bad for their health? Hence, women across the world are fighting against sexist dress codes that force them to wear heels, skirts and even dictate what kind of underwear they can wear.
Fired when caught wearing flat shoes at Harrods
22-year-old Georgia Brown, who once worked for luxury store Harrods said that she was told to wear black stilettos every day and that she couldn't sit down at all while at work and there was a uniform check every morning to ensure that women employees work stilettos. She would change into flats after the check and when she got caught, she was sacked. Though this was ten years ago, many professions allow women little to no freedom when it comes to their dress code, whether it's clothing or even makeup. 'Bunion-inducing stilettos, skirts so tight you are forced to walk with a coquettish wriggle, or gossamer-thin blouses in fiercely air-conditioned offices: women are often the victims of workplace dress codes, whether or not they wear uniforms,' how do these make women feel empowered in their jobs? Though airline company Virgin Atlantic now allows women cabin crew members to choose between wearing trousers or a skirt, or even forgo makeup, progress in the cabin crew industry is small.
#KuToo movement in Japan wants to ban mandatory high heels at work
"In a workplace where it’s the norm and all your colleagues are wearing heels – aside from the heavy-lifting example – it’s much harder for somebody without a medical certificate to say to an employer: ‘High heels are bad in general,’" says barrister Harini Iyengar, who specialises in employment and discrimination law. However, women are simply not willing to comply; the #KuToo movement in Japan is calling on the Japanese government to ban companies from forcing women to wear high-heels. The truth is that all over the world women are held to a very different standard of physical appearance than men in the professional domain, not to mention otherwise. Moreover, even women's hair comes under scrutiny, since anything other than pin-straight hair is deemed as unprofessional which openly discriminates against those with textured hair. Therefore, such dress codes burden women with unnecessary pressures to conform to rules that do not benefit them, some, in fact, can have a negative impact on their health, like high heels, for example. Why should they suffer for it?
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