Five Reasons A Ms. Blogger Won’t Wear Stiletto Heels

The stiletto phenomenon has now been around long enough to have a list of reasons why I would never wear them. How about you?

1. I will start with an admission: My feet are too wide for me to wear any of the currently stylish four- to six-inch stiletto heels even if I wanted to. My feet are small squares, equal in length and width.

(I learned a lot about stiletto heels from the book Bad Shoes and the Women who Love Them by Leora Tanenbaum. It is smart and well-researched.)

2. I see a horrifying similarity between the ancient Chinese practice of foot binding and the current self-imposed torture of the stiletto. In ancient China, women were taught that a foot of 3 to 3-and-a-half inches was desirable. (That’s about the length of a lipstick.)

Okay, Jimmy Choo doesn’t require that you have tiny little feet, but my comparison is still solid: Binding the foot ultimately caused the bones in the arch of the foot to be broken and the toes to bend under the foot. Ouch. This caused endless amounts of pain for the bindee. No such agony exists for today’s women. Or does it?

the Wicked Witch of the West's other shoes

3. Bad Shoes cites the foot problems caused by continuous wearing of these shoes: hammer toes, bunions, bunionettes (a bump next to the pinky toe not to be confused with its larger sister, the bunion, which nestles against the big toe), broken bones and on and on. The author quotes orthopedic surgeons describing with glee the ease of removing a part of a woman’s toe to undo this damage.

If you want your feet narrower so you can fit into one of these instruments of agony, you can choose from an array of surgical methods. Or you can join the Do-It-Yourself Movement and hack off a toe or two at home. Just keep a lot of Neosporin and smelling salts near by.

You can support the manufacturer, but they won't support you

4. I don’t think these are sexy. Today’s Vera Wangs and Calvin Kleins are supposed to be about sexuality. Just stick your foot into one of them and stand up. You will find your butt and chest in a new configuration. Enticing or strange? I’ve asked some men how they feel about women on a date wobbling to a table in a restaurant, plopping down, doing some mysterious things with her feet under the table, and breathing a huge sigh of relief as they get their shoes off. From talking to male friends what I got was a sense of bewilderment, not desire. I’m beginning to love my little square feet!

Warning: could mutate your feet

5. It’s a no brainer. At least I thought so. But the women I spoke to about stiletto heels were unmoved by the science of the shoe and the almost inevitable pain and body damage they cause. Any criticism, even the description of amputated toes and spinal-trouble-to-come-later, got me in trouble. Clearly the answer does not lie in ranting and raving. Which is too bad, because it’s something I really enjoy doing.

I hope that a leader will rise up and take down the stilettos. More likely, styles will change, and Corso Como, Dolce Vita and Sam Weitzman will need to make a new “it” shoe, something that women will put out fresh money for. I think stiletto shoes are about as sexy as fur-ball throw-up. My opinion will not change the shape of shoes, or the women who buy them. I’m just saying.

FROM TOP DOWN: Snake cage heels from Street Moda. Black gladiator-style heels from Jildor. Black mock-croc pointy toe heel from Rosa Shoes. Silver sandal from Amazon. Leopard-print pumps from Kaboodle.


I believe that I was born a feminist. This has guided my life choices and led me to be an artist/cultural worker (look up Cultural Revolution for the definition of "cultural worker") for decades. I have been an actor, dancer, and cabaret writer. For the last 15 years, I have been a playwright, and I have been writing video documentaries for the Feminist Majority for (OMG) twelve years or so. My partner, Lorraine Sheinberg and I develop documentaries on subjects ranging from women's reproductive rights to the struggle to stop international and domestic violence against women. My plays have been produced in Cuba, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. I have always written strong roles for women, and their relationships to the world and to whatever subject the play was focused on. The balance of the documentaries, which often tell brutal truths, with my plays, which are usually comedic, allows me to keep writing and advocating for women to be seen as whole human beings. On a lighter note, I was the only person to ever teach tap dancing at the Institute for the Study of Bertolt Brecht (true story)! My efforts to bring accessible art to a broad based audience are at the core of all of my work. And yes, there will be more about my tap dancing to Marxist texts in my upcoming blogs. Also, watch for the newly created web series: "VAGINA/DIALOGUES" based on my ms blogs!