Check out this image from today’s Washington Post. (Thanks to Feministing for the cropped image.) The larger version of this illustration and accompanying story are about the health consequences of wearing high heels.
I admit to owning my share of mules and I already know they do damage. (Duh!) What irritates me about this image is that the high-heeled woman on the right is so tarted up compared to her sensible sister on the left. Are those “mom pants” I see? And such a sensible woman with her hands thoughtfully crossed in front of her. No slutty heels and revealing clothes for her! Ah, the implications.
No wonder so many of us wear heels when we want to feel pretty! Yes. I wear flats, too. In fact, I struggle to find flats that are both comfortable (can you say arch support?) and are also not completely ugly. Does that make me vain? Yep. But it also makes me human. (And no, I don’t think wearing heels is an implicitly feminist or anti-feminist statement.)
But this is exactly why there are so many forced gender-normative conventions on the Strip. The Las Vegas Strip is like America’s bastion of retro-1950s gender norms, including Marylins who act like they put out. Look at cocktail waitress uniforms. Not only are those uniforms revealing, but those women are forced to wear high heels for their entire shifts. Remember when the waitresses at the Rio picketed a few years ago for a chance to wear lower heels? I wonder how many of those women were the first to be kicked to the curb in 2003 when that same hotel-casino launched its “bevertainer” program (in which some older waitresses and bartenders were not even allowed to apply to keep their jobs).
And don’t even get me started on the makeup standards, such as those imposed on Darlene Jesperson at the Reno Harrah’s. She was fired from her job for refusing to conform to a dress code instituted after she was hired that required makeup (and I’m talking full face, not just a little lipstick). She said wearing the makeup made her feel painted. She was a great bartender who had worked there for years before the changed rules forced her out. (Luckily, organizations like the ACLU of Nevada and Lambda Legal are standing up for what’s right.)