Friday, July 22, 2016

The High Points of the Republican Convention

People will no doubt be discussing the high points of the Convention and arguing about them for days — after all, one person's high point is surely another's low. Take Ted Cruz's non-endorsement of Donald Trump during his Convention speech. To a Trump supporter, Cruz's snub brought the political discord to an all-time low, yet to a die-hard Never-Trumper it may have been the Convention's finest moment.

Melania. Photo from the L.A. Times.
I'll let the pundits ponder all that. I'd rather focus on the Trump women and the impact of their convention speeches. I don't mean the bruhaha over Melania's plagiarism or the daughterly love displayed by Tiffany and Ivanka. While all that was mildly interesting, let's get real — the most fascinating aspect of their appearances, the absolute high points, were their ridiculously high stiletto heels.

I'm amazed that they managed to walk to the podium in those heels and stand tall during their speeches with nary a whimper of discomfort, let alone a grimace of pain. You may find my focus on women's shoes highly superficial, but I beg to differ. What could be a more important subject than women's continued subjugation to their footwear?

Tiffany. Photo from Hollywood Life.
Admittedly, I'm one of those unfortunate women whose feet have never felt good in high heels. Were I to walk a few steps in Melania's Christian Louboutin's, let alone a mile in her shoes, I would be crippled for life.

I didn't expect things to turn out that way. My mother loved wearing heels, the higher the better, so much so that her Achilles tendon shortened and made it uncomfortable for her to wear flats. As a girl, this seemed to me the height of sophistication and I always assumed I would follow in her footsteps.

Alas, I inherited the dysfunctional feet of my aunt and grandmother. By the time I was a teenager, I had to give up my dream of spike-heeled glamour in favor of sensible, low-heeled, round-toed shoes. Luckily, I came of age in the late sixties, when the women's lib movement made sensible footwear all the rage, so I was able to camouflage my disability within then-stylish comfortable designs.

During the mid-seventies, I became an early-adopter of orthotics. They saved my feet, although of course they could only be worn in the most utilitarian of shoes. By the time women's heels began to climb back into the stratosphere, I wasn't tempted. I'd come to appreciate comfort over beauty. Yet, I'd never quite gotten over my regret at not being able to wear stilettos. In the late-nineties, Sex and the City fueled my fantasies of the life I might have lived if only I'd been born with different feet.

Ivanka. Photo from the New York Post.
These days, images of fabulous footwear are everywhere — from the film stars on the Academy Awards runway to Robin Wright as the House of Cards' ice queen in heels. So, I wasn't really surprised when the Trump women strode onto the stage wearing dangerous-looking, sexy five-inch heels. Still, was this appropriate for a Republican gathering? Shouldn't they have worn something a little more staid?

Maybe, but truth be told, I was jealous. All three women had the air of females who had never had a foot pain in their lives. If they couldn't empathize with aching feet, I wondered, how could they possibly relate to the average voter? I was caught in a paradox — I simultaneously disapproved of the Trump trio and envied them. Never mind that along with eschewing high heels, I don't like wearing makeup, nail polish, or even Spanx. It's not as if there but for high heels go I.

Perhaps I should forget footwear and focus on the upcoming election. I'm looking forward to the Democratic Convention. But while I wait for it to begin, I can't help but wonder — how high will Chelsea's heels go?


  1. Like you I stand on flat heels, and am amazed at the message sent by these women. I also noticed the recurrent trend to picture heroines in TV shows wearing them in the craziest circumstances, i.e a crime scene. I am thinking of Rizzoli & Isles and another show (I forget what it is called) whose main character is also an ME. She never lets go of another glamorous accessory: a huge and very elegant hand-held purse. Quite interesting, as if women had to prove (again) that they can be both professional and sexy!

  2. Thanks, Barbara. I hadn't realized Melania's shoes were Christians. Finally some clarity on why evangelicals see reason to support Trump, I suppose.