Shoe Power


The other morning, as I was gettin ready for work, I grabbed my favorit pair of summer heels, and found the heel of one of them chewed down to almost nothing.  That’s right.  My puppy chewed the heel off my favorite pair of shoes. 

In my search for a replacement pair (I looked into shoe repair and it cost only $10 less then the new pair I ended up buying), I noticed that platform heels are everywhere this summer.  Everytime I came accross a pair I found myself wishing they offered the same pair of shoes minus the over-the-top platform.  My last pair were good for both work and a night on the town. While there are numerous platform heel options that imitate classic and conservative styles, it is hard to ignore the association with the clear plastic version sold exclusively at Lovers Lane.

Then, while I was clicking through Michael Kors shoes on a discount shoe website I frequent, I saw them.  Beautiful shoes that were everything I was looking for, and they had the platform bottom. It didn’t stand out to me as much as some of the other ones I saw, so I decided they were toned down enough to be work appropriate.

When they came in the mail, I ripped the box open, inhaled the the wonderful leather smell and put one on.  And.  They.  Felt.  High!  The platform was no joke. 

After that they had a special place in my closet for the next week as I gathered up the courage to wear them to work. I got them during a Memorial Day sale, but they still cost a pretty penny, and I still loved them for casual use and didn’t want to send them back, so I was wearing them to work (or feeling the rath of husband!).

For the big work debut, I paired them with a long pencil skirt and sweater cami combo.  I figured if the rest of my outfit was extremely conservative, I would avoid the stripper association.

I really didn’t want to look sexy, despite the arguably sexy shoes.  There are times when looking sexy is empowering.  and there are different types of sexy for different occasions. 

My husband recently showed me a youtube video of a group of very talennted 8 year olds dancing to Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies”.  It was a very disturbing video.  The little girls were dressed in tight, midrif baring leotards, and bumping and grinding to the hoots and hollars of their parents.  I couldn’t decide whether it was the clothes or the gyrating that was worse, but it was definitely inappropriate.  Sexy taken too far, too young.

Dressing sexy is often seen as both powerful AND weak.  Those who see it as powerful, refer to the power of sex, and the need for women to look like women (not men) in order to succeed on their own terms.  Adversely, those who see it as weak, often refer to the objectification that victimizes women who attempt to use their sexuality for personal gain.  This objectification, they argue, cancels out any female empowerment that being sexy could hold.  However, sex is a feminine power, and suppressing it would be to agree with the reasoning that dress codes exist in high school (so the girls don’t distract the poor hormone-laden boys).

Both sides of this debate hit home.  Arguably, women are often faced with the decision to change their behavior according to male weakness, or exploit it.  However, what it really comes down to is balance.

So as I set out for work the day of my shoe debut (shoes in bag due to my 4 block walk from the train to the office), my husband told me my outfit looked like an old lady outfit.  I told him the look was not complete without the shoes.  Shoes with stripper shoe features must be worn with discretion.  And as I changed into them, I was proceeding with caution (literally because I had never walked in shoes that high!). 

 Turns out I was able to walk in them and I felt my overall look to be professional. 

The next time I wore them was out to dinner with my husband and another couple.  I wore them with shorts so my legs would look super long (I’m 5’4).  I felt super sexy and confident (I only tripped once!), and enjoyed the view at about 5’8!

Sex is power.  And just like any other form of power, it must be used  responsibly so you don’t become a victim to it.


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