It has taken me eighteen years to feel okay with wearing heels.
My height has always been my biggest insecurity. I’ve spent years of my life wishing I was about three or four inches shorter. If I was shorter, my dating pool would be much larger, my jeans would fit a lot better, and most hugs would be a lot less awkward.
A woman’s height alone underscores all of the double standards and sexism present in our society. Despite a large man’s height being synonymous with strength, power, and authority, it’s an entirely different story for women. When we’re not awkward or out of place, we’re intimidating. But don’t think for a second that this is a good thing – it’s not. In a world where women are expected to be agreeable and soft, being “intimidating” is an insult. Furthermore, our bodies shouldn’t have to be seen as such a statement as we’re simply just existing.
And as a female scraping five foot ten, I’ve been called “intimidating” a lot in my life. It’s never intended as a compliment. Instead, it’s always to explain why I should tone myself down or take up a little less space. Men don’t like women that are intimidating. We aren’t approachable. We are unsettling.
Oddly enough, there’s this narrative that tall women are seen as sexy, even preferred. However, this hardly translates into the real world. And when it does, it’s still never a compliment. Our long legs are just another bullet point on the list of things that men feel they should sexualize. Height becomes correlated with dominance and in turn, is fetishized. And once again, we are disempowered, reduced to an object for the pleasure of men.
But more often than not, tall women are overlooked entirely. There’s something extremely emasculating about being with a woman who is of your height or taller – shorter girls make men feel larger, tougher, stronger, the list goes on. And while a preference is fine, it still circles back to the fact that we seem exist in this society only to cater to men.
Wearing heels as a tall woman is usually met with shock – “You’re so tall already, why do you need to wear those?”, “Jeesh, those make you a giant!”, “You’ll be taller than your boyfriend in those!”, etc, etc, etc. It’s taken me eighteen years to accept that this is my body. This is how I come. How entirely sad that I’ve spent so much time wishing there was less of me. I’m allowed to take up space in this world. I’m allowed to be tall, and taller than you, and taller than him.
I am tall. And I’m still going to wear the damn heels, thank you very much.