Freedom Trash Can: High heels

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Studies have suggested wearing high heels can lead to damage to the muscles and skeleton. The discomfort they can cause has even led to a secondary market selling cushioned insoles and other pain-easing products.

Maybe it would be easier not to wear them in the first place?

A few years ago, actress Emma Thompson made headlines by taking off her sky-high, Laboutin heels at the Golden Globes award ceremony. Complaining they were too painful, she ended up presenting an award barefoot.

But what if taking them off isn't an option? In 2016, a London receptionist was sent home from work for refusing to wear high heels. In response, she called for the UK to make it illegal to require employees to wear heels to work.

The government refused to change the law to include specific rules around heels, but said it would work harder to improve guidance on dress codes in the workplace.

Select an object from the list and find out how it might be considered an object of oppression.

  • Make-up

    "Men aren't judged for leaving the house without a full face of make-up." - Anonymous

    Read more about Make-up
  • Uncomfortable fashion

    "I cannot fathom why people wear heels. They're painful, impractical and can cause permanent damage to your body." - Anonymous

    Read more about Uncomfortable fashion
  • Home cooking

    "I'm fed up of the idea of women belonging in the kitchen being normalised." - Emma

    Read more about Home cooking
  • Domestic chores

    "Equality begins in the family, so get off your backside and get cleaning, guys." - Anonymous

    Read more about Domestic chores
  • The bra

    "I shouldn't be forced to look 'pretty'. I am beautiful and intelligent without it." - Lisa

    Read more about The bra
  • Celebrity culture

    "All the models have the same body shape, and they look miserable. It's boring!" - Wendy

    Read more about Celebrity culture
  • Marriage

    "I believe engagement rings are anti-feminist - signifying that the woman with the ring belongs to another person." - Matilde

    Read more about Marriage
  • Social media

    "It's very toxic for young people's mental health, especially girls. They are constantly faced with unrealistic and dangerous ideals." - Roshan

    Read more about Social media
  • Gendered toys

    "All the gendered children's toys tell girls and boys they should only like certain things." - Anna

    Read more about Gendered toys
  • Bonus object

    What are objects of oppression? Discover the thinking behind the Freedom Trash Can and suggest your own object.

    Read more about Bonus object

Although now associated with female glamour - and in some cases, pain - high heels actually started life as footwear for men. They were worn by horseback soldiers in Persia - now modern-day Iran - to help secure their stance in the stirrups.

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