High Heels and Height

By: Grace Smith

As a child I was always on the shorter end of average, which suited me just fine. I didn’t stand out as being abnormally large or small, I was just me and my average body. It wasn’t until grade eight that I outgrew my friends, and while I am still only on the taller end of average I can feel the many different pressures and restrictions society and the media places on tall women, or any women who aren’t perfectly petite

I remember how excited I was to go to my grade eight grad, and how much time I spent pouring over different dresses, colours, and styles for me to wear, but that excitement soon turned to anxiety when I realized I would be significantly taller than my date if I wore heels. I decided to wear flats while all my other friends wore heels so that I would not tower over my date. A large part of me wished I had worn them on that night as it seemed like a symbol for our maturation, our exit from elementary school and our entrance into the “grown up” world of high school. In the end I have always regretted that I decided how I would present myself that night to conform to the expectations of others.

Any girl or woman of average height or taller can recognize the anxiety and nerves that accompany being the tallest in the room. Any woman would recognize the shame and nervousness when confronted with the fact that the boy they like or are dating is shorter than them. As women we are shamed for something we have no control over. We are taught to curl our shoulders and make ourselves smaller to accommodate others expectations. And for what? Why is it important that we are smaller than our male counterparts? If you think about it there is no reason that we be shorter except for personal preference, and when an arbitrary ideal is so ingrained in our society we must question why it is so important to us.

This expectation is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with being taller than your male date or your male friends. We should embrace our height  and our bodies for all our natural, tall, long legged glory. We should feel free to wear whatever footwear we want no matter our height. Our decisions concerning our appearance should not be dictated by what the media and society tells us is acceptable, but by what gives us the most confidence and expresses ourselves the best. With that in mind I know I will confidently walk into my next high school dance in my favourite heels, no matter how many people I tower over.



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