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My Most Recent Barbie Movie Epiphany 

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

The movie “Barbie” is full of moments that women are able to resonate and relate to. From Barbie being sexualized when she enters the real world to the mother-daughter relationships and, of course, America Ferrera’s powerful monologue. However, there is one moment that did not stand out to me until I watched the movie again for class. This is when Barbie is on her way to visit Weird Barbie. She has just begun to malfunction – falling out of her house, her milk being spoiled and, most importantly, her feet becoming flat. Previously, Barbie stood on only her toes and the balls of her feet, similar to a Barbie doll. Barbie then says, “I would never wear heels if my feet were shaped this way.” This quote really got me thinking – why DO people wear heels?

After some thought on this topic, I remembered that men used to very commonly wear heels. According to an article from Teen Vogue, heels were originally created in 15th century Persia exclusively for men. Worn most often by male soldiers, aristocrats, and royalty, heels were worn by men all over the world in an attempt to appear taller and more powerful. 

Women began wearing high-heel-like shoes in the late 15th century which stayed in fashion until the early 17thcentury. According to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, these shoes called chopines were more similar to stilts as they protected women’s feet from the dirty streets they walked on. However, they quickly became more of a sign of wealth and nobility as shoes got to extreme heights, reaching almost two feet tall. Women wearing the shoes would need to be accompanied by someone whom they could use for balance as they walked. Shockingly, these shoes were completely covered by their dresses. When the shoes were higher, it required more fabric to cover them, which indicated a woman’s status. Therefore, women wearing heels stems from men wanting to show off their wives. 

According to experts, high heels can change body posture and create a distinct walking style which can affect the way individuals carry themselves, leading to a more upright posture and enhancing perceived attractiveness and admiration from others. Heels are also said to lead to more feelings of confidence and being viewed as feminine, glamourous, or professional. However, society’s perspective of trends seems to have changed in recent years, people are now more willing to step outside of societal norms and are often praised for being different. This shift helps us to embrace individuality and reject footwear that may limit mobility and comfort. 

At the end of Barbie, we see Stereotypical Barbie, now known as Barbara, has replaced her pink heels with pink Birkenstocks, a callback to earlier in the movie but also a symbol for Barbie’s new humanness. This aspect shows that Barbie wasn’t wearing heels to impress the Kens, seem more confident, or be more professional; she doesn’t need a shoe to do those things. She was simply wearing them because they were comfortable for her feet. 

Delaney Chase is the co-campus correspondent for the St. Bonaventure University Her Campus chapter. She works with the other campus correspondent and various board members to communicate with the rest of the Her Campus community as well as edit articles and lead weekly meetings. Delaney is a junior and is currently studying journalism and political science. She also is a writer for TAP into Greater Olean, an online news platform in the St. Bonaventure area, as well as a captain of the St. Bonaventure Women's Club Basketball team and Vice President of SBU for Equality. She enjoys hearing and sharing experiences with those of similar interests and enjoys being involved in different activities across the SBU campus. She finds this a great way to gain connections with those at her university and in nearby areas. She is enjoys the ability to gain experience and further her knowledge of the communications field. Outside of her time in school, Delaney loves listening to Taylor Swift and will take absolutely any opportunity to bring her up in conversation. She can often be found at the campus Starbucks with her friends ordering a pumpkin spice latte or brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso. She enjoys reading classic novels but also loves watching the trashiest reality TV shows.