And now the brothers want to ban high heels

Given the fact that most stories which have appeared in the Daily Mail over the past week or so have been, let’s say, economical with the actualité, I hesitate to take this story at face value. Union bosses seek to ban high heels at next month’s TUC? “The predominantly male Trade Union Congress has proposed a motion decrying the stiletto heel as demeaning to women.”

‘Congress believes high heels may look glamorous on the Hollywood catwalks* but are completely inappropriate for the day-today working environment.’ (*This is silly, there are no catwalks in Hollywood. They mean the red carpet.)

I don’t know how Congress works but I suspect there could be many, many motions submitted at this stage, very few of which make it onto the final agenda. This could be a motion put forward by one branch meeting, attended by two men and a dog who work at a flat shoe factory somewhere in Northampton.

In the days of a resolution-based Labour Conference any local party could put forward a motion on anything, provided it made it through the CAC. (That’s the Conference Arrangements Committee, conference virgins). I once had to move something at Central Region conference which referred to ‘money grabbing cowboys and property sharks’ and called for massive redistribution of wealth and punitive rates of taxation. It was passed unanimously. I may well have been the only person in the hall who didn’t actually agree with it.

Anyway, I digress… back to the issue. Another possible interpretation is that the motion is about stopping women who don’t want to being forced to wear high heels at work, which would make more sense. Some women can do heels, some can’t. Dolly Parton apparently has to wear special shoes in the shower because she can no longer stand flat on her feet. (Though I may have read that in the Mail too.)

The Daily Mail has managed to track down Nadine Dorries who “said the extra height can help women in the workplace. She added: ‘I’m 5ft 3in and need every inch of my Christian Louboutin heels to look my male colleagues in the eye. If high heels were banned in Westminster, no one would be able to find me.'” She does have very impressive Louboutins, five inch stiletto heels. I suspect she’s wearing them just so she can tower over John Bercow and Alan Duncan, dangerous liberals that they are. Nadine then goes on to say: ‘The TUC need to get real, stop using overtly sexist tactics by discussing women’s stilettos to divert attention away from Labour chaos.’ So it’s a plot, is it?

Postcript: I’ve now just started reading the comments and we have Anji from Portsmouth injecting a note of common sense:

The TUC are NOT trying to ‘ban high heels’ or any other such rubbish. The reporting on this has been shoddy at best. They do NOT want to stop women wearing high heels if/when they want to. They DO want to stop employers making high heels *mandatory*! Therefore a woman who wants to wear high heels to work can do so. However, a woman who does not want to wear high heels, can go to work in flat shoes without worrying about her employer telling her off for ‘breaching dress code’ or ‘looking unprofessional’. I suggest the people who are getting all up in arms about this, take a close look at the actual motion proposed by the TUC rather than relying on shoddy reporters’ misinterpretations of it.

So there you go. It’s another silly season story. And I’m perfectly happy to support the right of women NOT to wear high heels, so long as I’m allowed to keep mine.

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