Pandagon has an article about high-heels, and I’ve got to say I very much agree that this is a severely under-discussed issue. Especially the point about how shaving and make-up are freely and commonly decried, despite the fact that neither poses even remotely the same health-hazard high-heeled shoes do.
Especially nasty in this context is that apparently a lot of workplaces have high-heels as part of the dress-code, either directly or indirectly (i.e. the dress-code says “professional and elegant”, but the only soe that would pass that muster would be a heeled one). I guess I’ve been lucky that so far, that shit hasn’t been a problem. I do know what a massive pain in the ass that would be, though, because for 6 months I wore heels voluntarily to work, because the dress-code said “elegant”, and the only thing even close to that that I already had was a pair of winter boots with 2-inch heels, and I refused to buy new shoes for a minimum-wage job that I knew I was only going to have for a few months. For that reason, I was pretty frustrated when I read (via that thread on pandagon) an attempt by some unions in the U.K. to pass a motion that would make it possible for women in jobs where heels would be a health-hazard (i.e. those that involve lots of standing and/or walking around) to opt out of heels. It sparked a shitload of controversy and headlines along the lines of “unions want to ban high-heels”; which, as far as I can tell, wasn’t the case at all. Fucking frustrating that it fell flat, and now health-damaging dress-codes continue on. And feminists don’t even talk about this issue, so it’s not likely that another such attempt will be made anytime soon, nevermind succeed.
If I ever end up having to take an office job, I will move back to the PNW, since people there even to to the opera in jeans, fleece, and sandals. I don’t remember what the dress-codes in Germany are… my mom works in IT so they don’t have a dress-code at all, and I don’t know what my aunts wear to work. I shall have to ask my cousin when I get back, to ask if the women in the banking industry wear heels… maybe he’s been staring at their legs often and long enough to remember.