Cannes surprises no one with flat footwear ban

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Ah yes, it’s that time again! Get ready for a bevy of who-wore-what media coverage, far too much attention on Leonardo DiCaprio’s yacht-hopping antics, and a bunch of news relating to films you’ll ultimately miss in theatres and then talk about watching on Netflix at some point – it’s Cannes Film Festival time!

But in its 68th year it seems we are getting an extra little treat. According to numerous accounts from attendees, this year the unofficial order of the week is a ban on women wearing flat shoes.

A series of women including film producer Valerie Richter and the wife of Asif Kapadia, the filmmaker behind the new Amy Winehouse documentary Amy, were reprimanded by officials for wearing flat shoes at some of this year’s events. Richter has a partially amputated left foot so it’s no wonder why she left the strappy Manolos at home – but that’s besides the point. This isn’t about who’s capable of wearing heels, or even about who likes or doesn’t like wearing heels.

By all accounts all flat-wearing miscreants were ultimately admitted entry, despite the obnoxious finger-wagging. And although officials have denied allegations of an organised ban on heels under a certain height, this is pretty rich coming from a festival that’s touting gender equality as part of this year’s theme despite selecting only two female directors for the entire competition.

I’ve heard men mumble about how it’s ‘just a dress code’, with tales of being denied entry to some club at 2am for wearing sneakers. But that’s not a fair comparison – forcing women to adhere to a painful, borderline-treacherous dress code in order to be allowed in at a professional event (or anywhere) is repressive objectification (not to mention ridiculous. I’ve even seen strippers in flats!).

Cannes can’t have it both ways, with their women bulldozed into dressing up like a Barbie doll – who has been wearing high heels non-stop for 56 years, until February of this year when she was finally redesigned to allow for the fit of flat shoes – all the while wrapping up a nice PR story about reducing the gender equality gap in the film industry.

Let’s give our feet a rest. Can’t we all just get back to Leo’s shenanigans and stop regulating the beauty standards of women in Hollywood and everywhere else? I hear he totally just outbid Paris Hilton on a Chanel purse.

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