The Wall Street Journal recently published a story entitled “Workouts in High Heels Really Pump It Up.” I stumbled upon this article by accident while checking my LinkedIn account this afternoon.
I’ve deeply regretted making this one day a month I check that account ever since. As usual, thanks for nothing, LinkedIn.
Crippling regret aside, reading over this really got me thinking about what a massive population of a-holes there are in this world. Which is something I ponder far too often these days.
Right away I’ll concede that I’m not the target audience of the WSJ. I have no idea who their target audience is, I just know that it’s not me.
It seems like something my grandfather would have subscribed to, but never actually read. Of course you probably never met my grandfather, so the insight offered by that statement is extremely limited. Sorry.
Prior to being subjected to this journalistic plague on humanity, I would have assumed their demographic was rich, white men who work in finance.
Having “Wall Street” in the title is a pretty solid context clue that something sucks.
Yet the writer, Erica E. Phillips, is presumably a woman. And one would imagine this extremely important story was intended for a predominately female audience.
That being said, the only thing that’s clear is that I still have no idea why, or for whom, the WSJ exists. Of course I’d be lying if I said that I really cared.
Apathy is a plague on my generation. Oh well…
What I do care about is this wretched article.
Now, I’m not one to flash my feminist membership card (it’s metaphorical, don’t freakout angry white men) and cry sexism over every little thing, but it’s impossible to ignore something when it’s this tone deaf.
The writer espouses the notion of “Stiletto Strength” by painting flattering portraits of physically fit women who are empowered by their shoes. Empowered…by exercising…in high heels. Let that wash over you for a moment.
By the way, “Stiletto Strength” is an actual class offered by Crunch Fitness.
It’s for a-holes.
The first woman quoted is, according to her own assessment, an introvert who blossomed into a butterfly during her “Heel Hop” workout. All thanks to her magical high heeled shoes. Who knew self-esteem issues and social awkwardness were so easily remedied?
Another woman, a singer-songwriter, explains that she owns countless pairs of beautiful shoes—just one problem! She has serious difficulties walking in them. So, naturally, she decided to take a hip hop class in them. Smart. Very smart.
It doesn’t even matter what kind of exercise these teetering wannabe Carrie Bradshaw beauties are engaging in because, according to an instructor, the “heels are really a sport.”
Great. We’ve reached a point in this country now, that the mere act of standing in your shoes counts as sport.
Nobody tell Michelle Obama. It would only upset her.
Be sure to put that one on your college applications, ladies. Gents too, if applicable. Talk about an extracurricular activity that would stand out and make you stand out from the crowd!
Of course you’ll be standing out as an idiot, but all that matters is people are watching—right?
The women interviewed, instructors and dimwitted participants alike, blather on throughout the article using lady-themed buzzwords like “empowerment,” “fitness,” and “confidence.”
They almost convince you that this whole spectacle is really about them.
Just women getting together with other women to exercise in high heels and change the world, one broken bone at a time. Totally normal.
Speaking of broken bones!
The obvious physical risks that accompany this idiocy are neatly glossed over in a dismissive paragraph about midway through the piece. It’s mentioned early enough to prove Ms. Phillips is taking the issue seriously and far enough from the end of the column that it’s easily forgotten by the time the reader finishes.
Phew! Learning is the worst.
She starts the obligatory safety paragraph off by stating that “many experts” and, of course, “common sense” warn against wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time. Explaining that even walking in heels can lead to serious muscle fatigue, strain, or worse!
Though if you want more information, you’ll just have to use your imagination. Aside from citing the increased chance of falling on your face and cracking your skull open, the risks outlined are vague and the details are nonexistent.
I actually wear high heels—not to exercise, because I’m not an a-hole—so the last thing I want to do is present a comprehensive view of the long-term damage associated with them. It’s a bummer.
Plus, the risks can be greatly reduced simply by using the brain currently exercising its squatter’s rights in your head.
You remember your head? It’s not just a hatstand.
And I’m certainly not suggesting we all get together an burn our stilettos in solidarity. (Worst girls night out ever!)
It’s just that we already assume some level of physical risk by exercising—even in the proper shoes. We also already assume some level of physical risk by wearing high heels—even just walking intermittently.
Compounding these needlessly raises the risk level exponentially.
If anyone hits me back with that #YOLO shit, I swear on a snipe’s name that I will hunt your ass down and beat the hell out of you. You’ve been warned.
Side note: Apparently now conservatives are now listing “getting raped” as a risk factor for wearing high heels. So there’s that too. (Fudging a-holes…)
But all that nonsense—the feminist message, the safety distractions—is just a red herring. A diversion of female empowerment and bra-burning feminism redefined for the modern woman created just to throw you off the scent.
The real story is buried toward the end, third full paragraph from the bottom:
In a recent study, Paul Morris, a psychology professor at the University of Portsmouth in England, found that wearing high heels led to “higher attractiveness ratings” by both male and female observers, but the higher of those ratings were cast by women. “Women rejoice in their femininity without men being present,” Dr. Morris said.
I’m a woman. I know a fair amount of women. I’m 100 percent certain that none of the women in my life have “girlz only” high heeled gatherings to rejoice in their femininity.
Unless they’re doing it behind my back…which would make me cry.
Sometimes we get together, get straight up drunk on white wine, put on Magic Mike and make fun of the actress who plays Channing Tatum’s love interest. It’s not that we’re jealous…it’s just that she sucks at acting.
Okay! You got me. Maybe we’re a little jealous.
Either way, shoes are completely optional.
I’m not suggesting that women don’t find high heels to be an attractive look on other women, but this “Dr. Morris” character is pushing his own agenda.
Maybe it’s just me, but when he says “women rejoice in their femininity without men being present,” I’m almost certain he’s referring to lingerie tickle fights at grown up lady slumber parties.
Which adult women have all the time…in porn.
The overarching point of this whole tedious exercise in vapidity is simply that men find women in high heels attractive. Boom. (That was a truth bomb detonating)
What a revolutionary…revelation.
Women often want to please men, so they wear high heels around the clock and sometimes judge people who don’t feel compelled to subject their feet to the same torture.
The underlying point is that there are some women who are so desperate to please men, and by extension themselves, that they’ll do almost anything. If that involves hitting the gym in stilettos, then so be it.
And that’s relatively depressing.
Which is why everyone is lying.
Because the reality here stinks. It’s much more palatable when you package it as a vehicle for self-improvement and wrap it up with a big red female-empowerment bow.
Sure it still leaves a nasty aftertaste, but it’s much easier to swallow. It’s like the salt and lime required to prevent people from vomiting while slamming shots of cheap tequila.
Unfortunately it doesn’t matter how much you dress this up, the fundamental truth remains.
The fundamental truth being: If you’re exercising in high heels, the only person you’re not thinking about is yourself.
And they don’t sell a bow big enough to mask that truth.