Cannes Film Festival - Let Them Wear Flat Shoes

by - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

currently: listening to 'White Lines' by Six60.


At the Cannes, people should be talking about actors, and directors, and the films that will set the tone of the year. But nope, people are talking about high heeled shoes.

If you haven't been following the news, the Cannes Film Festival has come under fire for banning a group of women from the event - because their lack of high heels meant they weren't 'dressed well enough.'

"Organizers are facing an angry backlash after a group of women were reportedly denied entry to Saturday night's world premiere of Carol—starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara—for not wearing heels. The guests—believed to be in their 50s, some with medical conditions—were wearing "rhinestone flats", Screen magazine reports, which they were told weren't appropriate."
- Harper's Bazaar

Since then, a bunch of people have come forward to say how they were refused entry, including the wife of a director and an one-legged producer. And actress Emily Blunt, who has worn heels on red carpets hundreds of times, weighed in the debate to say at a press conference:

“Everyone should wear flats, to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels. That’s very disappointing, just when you kind of think there are these new waves of equality.”

There is some truth to what Emily Blunt is saying. In the year 2015, why are people, who are guests to an invitation-only event, being treated unequally because of some footwear? Especially when that's unfair to expect a woman with one leg, or older women with bad ankles to balance in a pair of heels.

But it's more than just creating a blanket rule that "everyone should wear flats." It's the fact that the rules for semi-formal dressing is defined so strictly that 'men wear suits, women must wear dresses and heels.'

Google 'Ladies formal shoes' and you'll get a range of answers. You'll get black heels, or brogues, or flats, or wedges, or shoes that honestly defy all gravity. Fashion is forever changing and there are hundreds of thousands of options available according to Google - and yet our mindsets, or at least the mindsets of those working at Cannes, have been caught in the idea that for a female, a dress and the size of a heel are the measures of acceptability.

If you're going to enforce such a ridiculous rule too, why stop at high heels? Let's have men all clean-shaven, only wearing a certain type of black shoes, have the women show no cleavage, have full length dresses, no sparkles, no outrageous colours at all cause that's just unbecoming, and oh wait - I seemed to have walked back into the 1800's.

So if Emma Stone can wear a pantsuit to the Golden Globes this year and look good doing so, why can't an actress wear a nice pair of flat shoes to Cannes? If it makes her feel confident and powerful, in the same way a stick of red lipstick or a good looking dress can - then more power to them. Will it belittle the prestige of the Cannes Film Festival if a woman appears in rhinestoned flats?

Well, I can't get myself an invite, and that seems prestigious to me.

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