“It’s ludicrous I tell you! Ludicrous!” Those were the words I said to myself aloud when I read online that Cannes Film Festival organizers turned away several women in their 50s for not wearing high heels to a movie screening.
The incident happened this past Sunday as guests arrived to attend a screening for the movie Carol. Several women who showed up sans heels, some with medical conditions, were turned away from the door because their rhinestone flats didn’t meet the festival’s red carpet dress code. This picture posted on Twitter by film critic Kate Muir confirms the festival makes it “obligatory for all women to wear high heels on the red carpet.” Cue WTF reactions all over the world.
Cannes is the crème de la crème of film festivals; approximately 35,000 film professionals (i.e.: actors, directors, cinematographers, etc.) and more than 4,000 international journalists gather in the resort city of France to see the latest and greatest works of cinema. And as a result of having such elevated status in the film world, it also has a notoriously strict dress code policy. However, barring women from the red carpet just because their shoes didn’t elevate them to toe crushing heights is absurd.
Reading this story, which has since gone viral, made me want to throw my stilettos at the wall in frustration. I love high heels but I also love flats; wearing one and not the other shouldn’t dictate treatment of person whatsoever, with or without a red carpet under their feet. The firestorm of Shoegate even had celebrities such as Emily Blunt weighing in. At a recent press conference she said “Everyone should wear flats, to be honest” and it’s “disappointing.”
As of today, Cannes organizers have done some back-pedalling to clarify the festival’s dress code. Saying “there is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels… (and) the festival’s hosts and hostesses were reminded of it.”
Still, this incident does indirectly showcases for women to be deemed as desirable, bankable or taken seriously high heels must be part of their attire. Ugh! My running shoes and flip-flops are looking pretty good right now. I think I’ll be wearing flats for the rest of the summer to spite this whole incident.