The Kitten Heel Controversy
(Lainey: I was shouted at yesterday by tall people in response to this article about Nicole Kidman’s f-cking kitten heels -- I am not qualified to hate them because I am short. Duana is 5 ft 9. She’s previously written about height in a popular article from last year that you can access here. Here is her contribution to the Kitten Heel debate.)
I was wrong; I am shamed. I ignored the problem. I did not think this type of girl-on-girl violence was so real. But damn. You guys are determined to keep the short-tall chasm of resentment going, aren’t you?
So: Nicole Kidman wears kitten heels, Lainey berates, some get MAD about how she doesn’t understand because Lainey is a wee sprite (here, I’m with you. And you might want to ask Sasha what she knows about reaching the top shelf while you’re at it). But the fact remains: a kitten heel is gross. So, because I am the doctor of TallOlogy, I want to weigh in here.
Point the first: It’s not doing what you think it’s doing.
The whole thing with the high heel is it makes you look like you’re standing on tiptoe, which jacks up the calf, which skinnies the ankle, which lengthens the -– you know this. But the kitten is so low it actually does not perform this motion. Your calf is at rest. It looks as ‘regular’ as if it were in flats. Ergo, one of the reasons to hate the kitten heel is it fails at doing the job of the pump. It’s a failure of a shoe. Maybe that’s why Kidman was in pants.
Point the second: It’s awkward-looking.
All of y’all who are shaming yourselves with the tallness are also, I bet, self-conscious about the size of your feet. So guess what though? A kitten is not disguising the length of your size-10-but-really-secretly-11 boats flapping out in front of you because you’re not using the slope of the …heel part to disguise some surface area. That last sentence made no sense because physics is not part of my doctorate, but put a stiletto and a flat beside one another, and you’ll see what I mean. Also, they’re always pointy. Why is that? There’s no Mary-Jane kitten. No T-strap kitten. So many choices you don’t get to have in an already lackluster shoe.
Point the third – What’s the deal here?
The overwhelming sentiment that came in, behind “Lainey you don’t know what it is to be tall” was “Because I wear them because I don’t want to be taller than everyone else but I need a dressy shoe”.
WHY don’t you want to be taller than everyone else? You’re not hiding that you’re tall, people already know – why not live in it? You’re worried that that dickhead’s going to get emasculated? Guess what? He already is, if he’s that kind of guy. So why not own it? If it was really desperately important because you were working with people from another land whose custom was to out-small one another then okay, you can wear loafers or oxfords or flats or whatever.
But come on! Unlike a weight issue or a hair colour or something, you are never getting smaller – at least not for another 40 years. So can we not get down with the tallness and stop self-censoring? Why should tall women be denied a good heel? When I wear some of my favourites, I am up over the six foot mark for sure. Easy. And…sorry, but at that point, you kind of have to make your own fun. Dudes who are awkward with it? Screw ‘em. George Clooney regularly walks around with women notedly taller than him. You think they’re restricted to kittens? Nope.
Every model or tall actress - think Heidi Klum - you’ve ever heard of has had to wine and dine studio executives and network executives and directors, who, to make a sweeping generalization that is true, ARE NOT TALL. People will not be angry with you if you are. I feel like there’s a level of sexism here too because you’re sure as hell not getting anxious about not being as tall as Sarah in Marketing. Am I right? It’s about men. But you’re allowing yourself to be ashamed of something you can’t change! That you don’t need to be ashamed of!
We’ve talked about the other side of the coin here, and I know we have a way to go. In researching this article I discovered Beyonce keeps reporting her height as shorter and shorter – probably so her height doesn’t kick her out of the running for roles before she ever gets to audition.
Wear a kitten if you really love them, somehow. Wear a brogue or a sneaker or a flip flop. I’m not trying to make out like a pump is some sort of girdle you need to wear to disguise your feet or ‘make the most’ out of your height.
But the whole ‘I don’t like feeling taller than everyone’ thing is a little bit ninth grade. You Are. And if you spend all your time trying to pretend your way out of it, you’re letting down your long-legged sisters who have fought for the right to wear a damn ‘flatform’ if they want to.