Women in Japan are being discriminated against for not wearing heels to work. But now they won't stand for it anymore.
High heels used to be worn by men, then they were like, "Oh, no. These hurt. Let's let women wear them. They give labor. They're used to feeling unspeakable pain."
Sure, heels elongate your legs, making them look better, but is the pain even worth it? We don't think so, and it turns out, a group of Japanese woman that is 20,000 strong don't think so either.
Alice McCall - Runway - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2018 Getty Images
Recently, a group of Japanese women petitioned their government to ban the requirement for women to heels to work or in job interviews.
The movement, which is known as "KuTu" or #KuToo, was launched by Japanese writer and actress Yumi Ishikawa. The name is a play on words. Kutsu means shoes, and kutsuu means pain, making the moniker very appropriate.
Ishikawa has her own experience with shoe pain, saying she had to change careers after a hotel made her stand in heels for eight hours during her training. Ouch.
The movement has been gaining a lot of momentum, with nearly 20,000 people signing the petition to relax the standards on footwear for women at work. The campaign went viral after Ishikawa tweeted about having to wear heels at her part time job at a funeral parlor. "It's hard to move, you can't run and your feet hurt. All because of manners," said Ishikawa.
But it's not just high heels that are the issue. It's what the heels represent, which is deeply rooted misogyny in Japan.
In the World Economic Forum's ranking of gender-equality, Japan sits at 110 out of 149 countries, so it really isn't about the shoes. "Expecting or imposing a feminine standard at the workplace is the issue here," Shino Naito, vice senior researcher at the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training in Tokyo, said. Some people have even said the practice of making women wear heels to work is only a step above the practice of foot binding. Anyone who's ever had to spend more than an hour in heels would have to concur.
The women might have a longer road to walk, and they'll unfortunately have to do it in shoes that hurt their feet. Takumi Nemoto, the minister of health and labor in Japan said that wearing heels to work, "is socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate." It makes sense if you don't think about it.
If you don't have to spend eight hours a day with your foot wedged into a heel, you probably shouldn't be the one to say it's "necessary."
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