The Wearing Of High Heels Is An Act

1300 Words6 Pages
Clothing choice is an act that many in the United States perform without much thought. We walk to the closet and choose what is readily available or clean. The collection of clothes one has is dictated by several known variables such as current climate, work environment and extracurricular activities. However there are other, intangible variables that limit what is in a closet. Someone’s soco-economic status and gender identify would be examples of these types of variables. Gender identify is probably the most limiting as it narrows choices by not offering certain styles of clothes in different, varying cuts to accommodate all genders. Gender based clothing can be seen wherever one looks and is highlighted more with certain styles of clothing choice. Specifically the wearing of high heels is a gender based activity, as currently those that identify as female only wear them. According to Judith Butler’s Theory of Performativity “gender is an act which has been rehearsed” and is the result of a person repeatedly performing a gender role until it is habit and considered normal. In order maintain that status quo, there must exists a power structure that enforces society’s defined gender roles. The bulk of this topic deals with traditional gender roles in society so the words he/she, man/woman or male/female are used and they are defined in the traditional sense, as those who identify with the prevailing societies definition of gender and/or sex. Any other sexual orientations will be defined as they appear. Walk into a corporate-style business or a business professional event in the United States and one will see men in suits and women wearing high heels. The wearing of high heels began in Paris around the late 1500’s as a m... ... middle of paper ... ...loween, members of society may ostracize this person for expanding the boundaries of the defined male gender role. A man seen wearing high heels, even in a more masculine form would be given disapproving glances, shunned from cliques and spoken about derisively. The concept of their “masculinity” would be open for debate, as would their motivation for wearing such fashion; “Is he compensating for something?” or “Is he trying to prove some point?” Even though in this society, power is projected by a female who wears high heels, the opposite would be assumed by the male who wears high heels. Performing a gender is a role that is undertaken unbeknownst to someone, so ingrained and habitual this role has become, it is just done unconsciously like walking. Performing a gender is not difficult in a society with well-defined gender roles such as the United States. A

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