Before I share my poem let us hear from a man on how it felt to dress as a woman in the job he held down at the time. But, I also want to say, how ridiculous I find it that corporates have unrealistic expectations of men regarding their attire and work comfort in their everyday lives and not just in an experiment such as Michael Beacon took part in.
Not all women feel bad about high-heels. The thing is, it needs to be a choice, and for many it will be a choice of comfort. I am writing from the New Zealand scene because on the same evening as the news item on the debate in England’s Parliament there were news items about N.Z. MPs waging war on the long standing lower percentages of women’s pay.
My posting today is also a blatant and happy promotion of NZs first anthology of Political Poems which is named Manifesto Aotearoa and will be published in April, 2017 and in which I have a poem. Similar subject: Very different perspective.
“The heels, however, were a nightmare. I wobbled through central London, toes pinching, calves straining. I felt like a rhino on a tightrope.” so said Michael Beacon of The Telegraph
S T U M B L I N G B L O C K S
With 152,420 signatures, genders unspecified, there
is a new a story; a story about feet & feminism.
Feet: You have 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments
and 19 muscles. One quarter of all the bones of your
body are down in your feet.
Pain: Among suggestions for foot pain I read this:
‘take over-the-counter pain killers.’
Conspiracy theorists might say there has been
an agreement between employers, who require women
to work a full day wearing shoes with a height 2-4 inches,
and the drug companies peddling pain killers. Such theory
total balderdash. And now that we’ve had our laugh, let
us get down to business: the foot fatigue, after nine hours
coping with such torture; metatarsal fractures; employment
compensations have no direct link to indefinitely worded
employment laws on work-place attire and appearance.
Well that’s what some would say. Then if not the pain
of spiked shoes, the pain of a manager’s, possibly
fellow workers, also under inequitable pressures
adding belittlements. For it is still assumed the corporate
image is at stake on the height of your heels; the colour
of your locks. The not so casual sexism, enforced
and re-enforced endlessly by companies with risible
attitudes to these (at all times) impractical extremely
high heels and blonde stereotypes. Lower rates of pay
for women, long open to question. The progress,
on all fronts, remains extraordinarily slow and finds
me shrieking the shame, and disgust of it, on all.
It might be Britain where, in their Parliament today,
this has just been debated, but workers, have you checked
your own position in law, here in the land of the very first
female franchise, one hundred and twenty four years ago?
Laws, so loosely worded, workers so easily manipulated.
Walking, it is said, is the very best exercise for feet.
A vote for metatarsal health, for women’s health,
women’s choice!! Workers’ choice. Come on
this is the 21st century. The wording in law
easily wangled in favour of the corporates.
But I am not your doctor, or even your friendly aunt.
You make your own choices on footwear. Though now
that you have statistics on feet, love them truly love them.
They have to last a lifetime. Just make sure it’s your choice
and you know the stumbling blocks.
Benita H. Kape © 7.3.2017