High Heels, Media Literacy, and Reclaiming Our Freedom to Choose

Image courtesy of heatheronhertravels via Creative Commons.
For my blog post today, I’m sharing a recent essay I wrote for Care2.com, an online community for people passionate about creating a better world. Here’s an excerpt from "High Heels, Media Literacy, and Reclaiming Our Freedom to Choose":

"When I was in my twenties, I thought that some day, in the not-too-distant future, there would be no more high heels, except perhaps for costumes in shows about the past. I figured that emancipated women who had finally gained rights and freedoms (at great effort over many centuries) would be unwilling to wear shoes that compromised their safety, health and mobility. So the revival of high heels – including the extreme high heels of the past decade – has come as a bit of a shock; though it probably shouldn’t.

Having just watched the documentary, Miss Representation, about women’s depictions in the media, I know how manipulative and destructive the messages can be for both girls and women, as well as for men and boys. While women’s depictions in media have always included sexist images and messages, the sexualization of women and their bodies seems to have hit a high (or rather low) point. And we see the effects in our sexualized children, the provocative clothes worn by little girls, and, yes, the persistence of high heels, which cause harm to our bodies.

It is so challenging to resist the manipulations from advertising which insidiously compel us to fulfill our deepest desires – for love, happiness, security, power, etc. — with products. If high heels promise to ensure that we are desired and powerful agents in the world, and if everyone around us wears them, many of us find ourselves compelled to wear them, too."

Read the complete essay.

~ Zoe

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

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