Tasha Tells All . . . On Whether High Heels are Empowering!

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Every Monday, adult superstar/OC girl Tasha Reign gives us her thoughts on life, sex, politics and everything in between. Today, Tasha weighs in on the significance of high-heeled shoes. Enjoy!

By Tasha Reign

Growing up, I remember idolizing the Spice Girls and watching movies like Clueless, viewing them as fashion icons and role models that inspired my sartorial choices. I always dressed up for school, and my mom was cool enough to let her daughter express herself--a rarity in the South County bubble, which favors conformity even in wardrobe choices. When I ran for class president in fifth grade, I wore high platforms; a plaid miniskirt; a blue, sparkly leather jacket; pigtails; and knee-highs. That year, my teacher asked me to stop wearing such brightly colored ensembles and to stop making fashion statements--the first of many times people would question what I wore and make assumptions about who I was because of my fashion choices.
I cried and told my principal; a parent-teacher conference was summarily held. My teacher argued I was distracted from the things in life that mattered; I replied that I wanted to be a fashion designer, so dressing up absolutely did matter, AND I was getting good grades--so what was the problem?

I admit to sometimes pushing the boundaries of what was deemed appropriate even then--I wanted to be the center of attention. But dressing up was my embryonic way to celebrate my freedom of speech, especially in an environment as stultified as K-12 schools. My clothing gave me confidence and pride and allowed for my creativity to flow. One Christmas, I even begged my mom for a mannequin so I could dress her up; I also requested books on fashion and sewing classes so I could study and one day be a designer. Clearly, this was something I was proud of, interested in and absolutely intrigued by.

Never once was I thinking about male domination, appealing to men or "succumbing" to men by wearing what they wanted to me to wear. Yet my love of fashion became a veritable scarlet letter. In high school, I dated guys who came from Christian households where certain styles of bikinis I wore to the beach were frowned upon; other times, the push-up bras I used labeled me as a "slut" to their parents. Such scandals over what I wore--how telling of the power of clothes! Even then, I found it powerful to be able to look sexy or stylish, dressed up or dressed down, scantily clad or demure--everyone obsesses over what women wear, in one way or another. But no matter what you wear, ladies, remember this: We dress not to be controlled by men, but to control our lives. The way we present ourselves, whether in hijab or skirt, baggy sweater or form-fitting tank top, is our chance to show the world our confidence and self-awareness.

I have one more semester before earning my bachelor's degree in women's studies at UCLA, and what I love about my major is that it comprises mostly strong, opinionated women who love fighting for our rights, including the right to discuss exactly what our rights are. I've learned different schools of thought about what feminism is, studied the rainbow of philosophies within the "feminist" label--extremist, conservative, sexually liberated, Third Wave, post-, and so many more. What I hear in nearly all those schools, however, is the argument that fashion is the ultimate domination of men.

Recently, someone made the case that high heels, while uncomfortable at times and difficult to walk in, enable a sense of entitlement, power and change of leverage that allows for one to feel and act a specific way. High heels are a great example of a literal walking contradiction--who are the heels benefiting? I choose to wear Ugg boots more often than not because I like the way they look with shorts, and they are so comfortable and warm. Heels, on the other hand, are my work shoes, just one of my tools to make a living. I make movies with the intention to sexually arouse, and heels have that power, that magic that makes some women feel their best.

Is it demeaning that women feel empowered through being sexual vixens for themselves or men? Is it liberating that women feel free through flaunting their high heels and being sexy? I'm still unsure about that, actually. Often, I find high fashion even unflattering and not sexual at all, and it's high fashion that has dictated the high heel is the ultimate shoe for the woman who wants to be sexually alluring. But how much do you judge someone based on their exterior appearance, and how much do you care about what your aesthetics look like to other people around you? Is fashion man's psychological-turned-physical power over women? If so, does that mean women have succumbed to male power and misogyny every time they strap on a pair of shoes?

All interesting things to take into consideration while getting dolled up in the morning to conquer the world.

Follow Tasha Reign on Twitter: @tashareign

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11 comments
samsebelius1
samsebelius1

Hi Tasha, men's dominion in everything -- fashion included -- is an ever-shrinking concept because it never made sense to begin with. I like your take on heels as work clothes. Good blog. 

Marv_Montag
Marv_Montag

"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." -- Being yourself is always the right thing to do.  To heck with those who don't "get it" or who wish for you to "conform".


In terms of the heels, they--much like many other things in life--are what one chooses to make of them and how one chooses to view their meaning.  To some, they represent male domination...to others they're empowering.  Choose the latter, and that's what they'll be.

ChrisWhistle
ChrisWhistle

First of all looks and fashion are a cultural and temporal thing, maybe in 50 years we look back at high heels and snicker.

Second the link between fashion and degree of 'empowerment' is all about how one wants be perceived. If you want to be taken seriously at the office you will wear a suit but likewise if you want to make the guys/girls go crazy you can wear more provocative clothing. However they are a supporting tool for what you want to accomplish,  you can't slap on some high heels and expect to be sexy. Your personality is where sexy ultimately lies, the high heels can merely enhance that. 

Third, the reason why we judge people on their looks/clothing and therefore take great care in our presentation; Lies presumably in the fact that mankind has been using snap-judgements to survive since pre-historic times. While this was a very good tool in the jungle, nowadays the value of snap-judgements is greatly reduced.

elvagotrago
elvagotrago

High heels are very empowering.  As are double penetration, water sports, gun play, and cutting.  You go girl, we hear you roar!

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

Real name, Rachel Swimmer. 3 to 1 she's Jewish, at least ethnically. Not quite your typical South County girl. 

Minerva Magdalena
Minerva Magdalena

Do women dress to Demand Control or to Demand the Respect of men? Educated women address the real issue behind the "dress code."

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

Women do not exist for men. What a load of horseshit.

bdsrx8
bdsrx8

That's a lot to think about. Back in the 90s, I was supporting my fiancé's ( at the time ) pursuit of a feature dancing career. We always had trouble finding "stripper heels" in stores. Imagine our surprise when we recently went shopping and prom fashions now include shoes she would have died for back then. Fashion...go figure! Great column!

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Mitchell_Young Of course, the creep in you immediately tries to figure out her ethnicity—as if any of that matters.

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