Guernica Magazine

The Power of High Heels

Not necessarily for the male gaze, heels can exemplify an assertive personality, a refusal to be ignored. The post The Power of High Heels appeared first on Guernica.
Illustration: Ansellia Kulikku.

I went on a walk with my grandmother to exchange a pair of shoes that didn’t fit when I was spending a few days at her house for the holidays. I held her hand, partly to envelop myself in her energy—that of a woman who is always on the go, ready, even enthusiastic about taking on quotidian challenges. When I’m not with her, I long for her care. To have her around feels like being wrapped in blankets. But we also held hands to help her stabilize on a pair of heels she insists on wearing despite the trickiness of the Portuguese cobblestones that populate the streets of Rio.

Even when people tell her she should step down from those heels, to let go of this unnecessary sign of feminine passivity, she reminds us that there’s nothing she can’t do, nowhere she can’t go, wearing them. She click clacks the cobblestones defiantly, purposeful.

who is a decade younger than her. In Mia Hansen-Løve’s 2016 picture like my grandmother, often wears heels of the office variety: retaining the poise of a stiletto,is about Nathalie Chazeaux, a high school philosophy teacher and academic, whose life gets swept up in misfortune. Her husband of twenty years leaves her for another woman, her depressed mother dies, and she’s fired from her part-time publishing job. She struggles to keep her life together without losing grasp of the person she is or the footing of the space she has carved out for herself as mother, wife, daughter, and intellectual.

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