Whoops


A student in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta had a good idea for her research project on workplace hazards: high heels. She’s required to wear them herself for her job as a server, and she’s fallen a few times while carrying trays.

It’s brilliant, isn’t it? The job of a server is to carry heavy plates or trays, so naturally the thing to do is handicap them by requiring them to wear shoes that are harder to walk in than shoes without high heels. Naturally. Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it in high heels and backward.

She talked to 35 servers; all had slipped or fallen on the job; 40% said they’d been injured as a result. 91% said they were required to wear high heels for work.

H/t Christopher Moyer.

 File:High Heels pink .jpg

 

Comments

  1. F says

    I just don’t grok high heels at all.

    What surprising results from the study! Totally counterintuitive how heels would make one more likely to slip on wet, greasy kitchen floors. (I used to skate on them. In combat boots.)

  2. A. Noyd says

    91% said they were required to wear high heels for work.

    Which should damn well be illegal.

    Also, I think it’s interesting how sagging is looked down on as ridiculously impractical and offensive to the point of entire cities banning it, but high heels are so normal that women can be required to wear them by their employer.

  3. says

    oh, hey, and apparently the same stupid has broken out EU-wide now; all the stories coming up on google are saying the EU is trying to ban high-heels for hairdressers; no clue what the actual deal is (I’m betting no one is trying to ban anything, same as with the UK story)

  4. says

    I’ve never understood why women wear high heels except when unreasonably forced to keep a job as in the example above. However, even my wife wears them at times. Yes, they are aesthetically pleasing (for reasons I don’t understand) but I consistently suggest she wear comfortable shoes since the heels always hurt her feet. It bothers me to see her in pain unnecessarily. I don’t get her motivation. We all want to look good…but at what price? Discomfort/pain is too high a price for me.

  5. Amy Clare says

    Oh man, this makes me mad… it’s not just a gender issue it’s also a disability issue as not every woman *can* wear heels.

    It reminds me of a time I was trying to get work as a chambermaid/waitress at hotels one summer. I’d sprained my ankle a few months previously, I could walk fine but only in comfortable shoes (e.g. loafers). I turned up to one interview in smart black flat shoes and the hotel owner kind of sniffed at me and said that he would expect me to wear something more dainty… I explained that I’d sprained my ankle and so I needed to wear these. I never got a call back.

    I’ve discovered since that I have a medical condition that makes my joints, including my ankle joints, looser and more susceptible to injury. So I don’t wear heels any more at all. Good job I’m not applying for jobs waiting on tables any more. :/

    @3 Jadehawk: It doesn’t surprise me one bit that Nadine Dorries is mentioned in that article you link to!

  6. says

    oh, hey, and apparently the same stupid has broken out EU-wide now; all the stories coming up on google are saying the EU is trying to ban high-heels for hairdressers; no clue what the actual deal is (I’m betting no one is trying to ban anything, same as with the UK story)

    My husband works in the chemical industry. Everybody working there is required to wear protective footwear because of injuries, duh. It is seen as totally OK, legal and good to ban all but one kind of footwear for the safety of the workers.
    Nurses have to wear safe shoes, no flip-flops or crocks, nothing where your foot can slip out of or liquids can dribble onto your toes.
    And then you have footwear that actively increases somebody’s chance to get injured. Which means that following the logic of the above examples, should get banned, too.

    When I worked as a waitress, my boss told me to wear black pants/skirts, white shirts or blouses and comfortable, smart shoes. So, yes, my favourite outfit of colourful sneakers, blue jeans and normal Ts was out of question, but my health was not endangered.

  7. julian says

    Heels, on average, make no sense in the work place especially if your work requires mobility. They limit proper posture when walking, jogging, lifting, hell, pretty much any activity and add an ungodly amount of strain to your ankles.

    Having tried them out for a week (a bet with my wife) I can see no redeeming qualities in heels except pure aesthetics.

    I really don’t understand why so many insist on them being “more professional looking” or why that could even be seen as a defense. There isn’t a single thing I do to appear more professional remotely as damaging or painful as high heels that women don’t also have to do.

    Of course if you want to wear them or enjoy wearing them, by all means, continue to do so. But I find it very strange that this reassurance is needed when most professional work environment and most dresses supposedly call for them.

  8. bubba707 says

    Julian, high heels are more professional looking……for a hooker. Outside of a pro working the streets or beauty pageants there is simply no legitimate reason to require high heels for women and the only reason a man might need a higher heel is for keeping his feet from slipping through stirrups.

  9. says

    Of course if you want to wear them or enjoy wearing them, by all means, continue to do so.

    That’s one thought too many. I would never say that. I would say I can’t stop you, and that’s about it.

    I wouldn’t say by all means go ahead about foot-binding, so I also wouldn’t say it about high heels.

  10. Beauzeaux says

    “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it in high heels and backward.”

    A cute saying but not true. Her heels were MUCH lower than the heels shown. She was also not nearly as expert a dancer. If you watch their movies, you can see that most of the difficult work was done by Astaire.

    I love Ginger Rogers. She was by far the best partner Astaire ever had (even though Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell and Cyd Charisse were better dancers).

    For a treat, watch the movie “You Were Never Lovelier” for a most amazing tap dance by Rita Hayworth.

  11. ttch says

    “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it in high heels and backward.”

    I’ve read that her shoes were also wet, because that way they would show up better on film.

    (Too Lazy To Google)

  12. Godless Heathen says

    A. Noyd @2,

    That’s because there’s often racism behind the sagging bans.

  13. Marvin says

    Professionally high heels make no sense, I would have thought they were more likely to be banned than required, safety shoes are required where I work but even if not the steel grate floors would prevent the use of heels. As a younger man when I was courting I would generally select against women in heels (most women in heels would have selected against me more strongly I’m sure). Heels seemed to destroy the possibility of any spontaneity. Men are also conditioned by romantic films I wanted to meet a young lady and walk up to the Albert memorial arm in arm or to run holding hands through the rain splashing through puddles to the next pub or cafe or to hop on a pair of bikes and ride through the fells. Young ladies in Docs seemed more likely to take me up on these offers.

  14. Beauzeaux says

    “I’ve read that her shoes were also wet, because that way they would show up better on film.”

    Her shoes were occasionally wet because they had been dyed to match her dress and hadn’t had a chance to dry….yes, in black and white films. It made for some uncomfortable dancing.

    (All Astaire/Rogers dance numbers were done in one continuous take. No editing. Make a mistake? Start over. Not up to Astaire’s demanding standards? Start over. Rogers had to put up with a lot.)

  15. Forbidden Snowflake says

    I’ve recently been creeped out by the whole idea of high-heeled shoes. They’re basically fetish gear normalized as everyday footwear.

  16. julian says

    They’re basically fetish gear normalized as everyday footwear.

    Exactly.

    It’s the same thing with formfitting dresses that accentuate the hips, legs and bust. By what right do businesses get to decide that’s what makes a woman look more professional or that that’s the proper attire for a work environment. A crisp suit, sharp shoes and a decent haircut. Only requirements I can think of that make sense.

  17. Godless Heathen says

    It’s the same thing with formfitting dresses that accentuate the hips, legs and bust. By what right do businesses get to decide that’s what makes a woman look more professional or that that’s the proper attire for a work environment.

    It’s actually not appropriate for most work environments. I think that many, many employers would frown on that in a way they wouldn’t with high heels. Particularly the more conservative (in dress, not politically) employers.

    There was recently a discussion about women’s work clothing on a different blog I read and someone brought up the point that television and the fashion industry in general really mislead women about appropriate work attire. I bet that many of the people who wear those things to work are looking at television shows as their inspiration.

  18. says

    I’ve often wondered about that. TV shows us women putting a large quantity of chest and upper breast on display on all occasions, and I’m always wondering if that’s really Suitable For Work.

  19. says

    I had heard about a very large percentage of workplace injuries among both men and women in Tim Horton’s — a Canadian fast food outlet. When I came across this article I decided to alert whatever government agency in Ontario attempts to prevent workplace accidents. I phoned up the local health unit who referred me to the Ministry of Labour, who referred me to the WSIG, who referred me to an Occupational Health and Safety agency, who referred me back to the Labour Ministry. Total frustration

    Seems to me that Provincial and State governments are so large that there needs to be a call centre where citizens can obtain the web site URL and phone number of the appropriate government agency for any problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>