It will surprise no-one (that knows me or reads this blog, anyway) that I spent tonight glued to my TV to watch the Channel 4 documentary ‘Christian Louboutin: The World’s Most Luxurious Shoes’. Lets face it, I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to watch an hours worth of shoes in general. An hours worth of shoes designed by Monsieur Louboutin himself, my all time favourite shoe designer? Probably only the best way to spend an hour I can think of. Except for maybe spending an hour actually shopping for the real thing. While wearing Louboutins. And drinking gin. Anyway, I tuned in with no real purpose other than to drool over some of his most gorgeous creations, and perhaps out of curiosity to know a bit more about the man himself and his inspiration, and from that perspective it didn’t disappoint, but there was one part in particular that pleased me greatly. At one point the narrator explained that Louboutin has been accused of forcing a male fantasy onto women, and asked him what he thought about this. He responded, “Do you really imagine women are stupid? That they would do something they don’t want to do? Do you really think I am responsible for women liking high heels? I think it’s rude and crazy to think that.” Hallelujah! Thank you, M. Louboutin, for corroborating a view I’ve held for quite some time.
Being a fan of heels I’m used to the odd cutting comment about my chosen vice. Like how ridiculous I am for owning so many pairs, like I’m some frivolous, vapid airhead who would rather buy shoes than pay the rent. Or how I’m probably constantly in pain or destined to end up a bed-ridden cripple in my old age just because I like to wear heels that occasionally measure more than a few inches (yes, I do remember the dress incident, and I know it probably doesn’t help to add weight to my argument here, but I promise that was not a regular occurrence, honest…)! When I took part in a charity sporting event not too long ago I was subject to a barrage of well meaning but equally irritating ribbing along the lines of ‘Football? YOU? But do you even own trainers??” as though you were likely to see me out for a Sunday jog in a pair of platform peep toes, or walking the dog in 6 inch skyscrapers. I largely don’t let this bother me – mainly because it normally is just playful ribbing, and when it isn’t it probably comes from someone whose opinion I care very little about – but one thing that is sure to get a rise out of me is the argument that high heeled shoes are somehow sexist, some evil instrument of torture forced upon us by the all powerful man. THAT MEANS YOU, M. LOUBOUTIN, INFLICTING YOUR CREEPY, MISOGYNISTIC PERVERSIONS ON US POOR, VUNERABLE, IMPRESSIONABLE WOMEN FOLK!
I cannot tell you how much this infuriates me. Louboutin is the first to admit that there is a fetishist, sexual element to the design of his shoes, and I’d be lying if I told you that part of the appeal for me wasn’t that they made me feel attractive, and therefore confident, but since when when was a woman feeling sexy all about pleasing a man? Are we not allowed to feel sexy purely because it makes us feel good? Or if we do dare to like the idea of looking hot, are we instantly putting ourselves at the will of the male population and their uncontrollable sexual urges? I guess maybe we shouldn’t wear heels just in case we need to run away if one of these cavemen accidentally loses control and tries to force himself on us? And the idea that we’re all some sort of brain-dead sheep who would put ourselves through terrible discomfort because we thought it made us more appealing to men? Come off it. Most of the men I know wouldn’t even notice what you had on your feet if they thought you had a pretty face or decent banter, and if they do notice it’s usually because they were feeling slightly self-concious about looking short when stood next to you. Yes – wearing shoes if you genuinely can’t walk in them, or if you know for a fact they are going to cut your feet to pieces, is pretty stupid, but newsflash – there are plenty of people who can handle a pair of heels without spending the next day with their feet on ice, thank you very much. I don’t spend my life hobbling around, nursing my poor deformed feet only to cram them into another pair of ridiculous shoes because I JUST WANT MEN TO LIKE ME, DAMMIT! Holy crap, are you kidding me? If they hurt that bad, I simply wouldn’t wear them. Know why? Because I have a brain in my head, and to suggest otherwise is frankly offensive.
Forcing someone to wear heels, by which I mean stipulating so in a contract, or you know, holding a gun to their head, would definitely be sexist. Telling someone they were unattractive because they weren’t wearing heels? Also sexist. Telling the world that women are so stupid they can’t decide for themselves whether or not to put a certain style of footwear on their feet? Equally, if not more, sexist in my opinion. I like shoes because I like them. I think they’re beautiful, whether or not they sport a six inch heel (hey, I have a large number of flats in my collection too, you know) – and have a wall of them to prove I like simply looking at them as much as I do walking in them. I wear them because they make me feel good, and I like the way they look, the same way I do a certain shade of nail polish or particular hairstyle – I am more than capable of judging whether or not they are comfortable enough to walk in, thanks. I do not wear them because I’m gagging for male attention, or because I think they will maybe help me bag a husband. Though if he weren’t already spoken for and was looking for a wife (um, sadly I don’t think he ever will be…) I’d definitely be interested in becoming Mme Louboutin. Wonder if he’d be interested in adopting me instead?