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"High heels at work are necessary" says Japan's labor minister

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paradigm88
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:54 am

Re: "High heels at work are necessary" says Japan's labor minister

Post by paradigm88 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:28 pm

Something like that might be able to fly in Japan. I can't imagine it EVER being accepted here.

I'm all for professional dress at work. I work in a blue-collar, casual office; still, I wear Dockers and a polo or buttoned shirt or sweater because it projects a certain image that torn jeans and t-shirts don't. We've had two younger office employees in my time; both felt on their own that being dressed better made them feel more professional about what they did, or sent a better message to the customers they met face-to-face.

Back in high school I was part of a business-student vocational-education program. We had mock interviews, business plan competitions, that sort of thing to prepare kids for the professional world. Now I judge the annual competitions. There was a pretty rigid dress code for competitors. Basic, but rigid: men must have a tie, boat shoes aren't proper business shoes, women could do a dress or a blouse and slacks, shoes should be closed-toe. Part of it was to keep kids who could afford a name brand suit from outshining a kid who got his blazer at Walmart. (Hosiery used to be in the women's requirements; it's not anymore, except to say that patterned hose are discouraged.)

Heels aren't a requirement. Plenty of women wore flats and looked quite professional. (Plenty of women wore heels, and I saw them carrying their shoes out of their events while walking barefoot. Of course, a few carried their flats and walked barefoot/nylon-footed too. I still say sneakers and flip-flops have ruined young women on wearing shoes.)

I will point out that fashion has moved the bar on the high heel in several years, though. Back when I was a teen, my mother wore heels to work and girls would often wear heels to school for fancy events. A 1.5-2" heel was pretty average. A three-inch heel was a bit edgy. Anything higher was what my folks called "CFM" ("Come f--- me") shoes.

Now, anything shorter than 2" is a wedge or not even worth mentioning (well, aside from kitten heels maybe). Heels at 3" or 4" are pretty average. A friend of mine used to say she rarely wore anything shorter than 4", and while she had some exceptions, plenty of her shoes were basic pumps, far from the days when a 4" heel was automatically slut material.

But this isn't merely for office ladies. If you dig deeper, they're looking at women wearing heels for jobs that are more physical or active in nature (waitstaff, people climbing ladders). It might be traditional, but it's also not particularly safe. Not only are we culturally beyond that, I would think that OSHA and workplace risk groups would throw a fit.

I don't think heels are a necessity. A bonus, but not a necessity. And certainly not in realms like the service industry or retail, where they could legitimately pose as much of a hazard.

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ShoeplayJ
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Re: "High heels at work are necessary" says Japan's labor minister

Post by ShoeplayJ » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:02 pm

paradigm88 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:28 pm
Something like that might be able to fly in Japan. I can't imagine it EVER being accepted here.

I'm all for professional dress at work. I work in a blue-collar, casual office; still, I wear Dockers and a polo or buttoned shirt or sweater because it projects a certain image that torn jeans and t-shirts don't. We've had two younger office employees in my time; both felt on their own that being dressed better made them feel more professional about what they did, or sent a better message to the customers they met face-to-face.

Back in high school I was part of a business-student vocational-education program. We had mock interviews, business plan competitions, that sort of thing to prepare kids for the professional world. Now I judge the annual competitions. There was a pretty rigid dress code for competitors. Basic, but rigid: men must have a tie, boat shoes aren't proper business shoes, women could do a dress or a blouse and slacks, shoes should be closed-toe. Part of it was to keep kids who could afford a name brand suit from outshining a kid who got his blazer at Walmart. (Hosiery used to be in the women's requirements; it's not anymore, except to say that patterned hose are discouraged.)

Heels aren't a requirement. Plenty of women wore flats and looked quite professional. (Plenty of women wore heels, and I saw them carrying their shoes out of their events while walking barefoot. Of course, a few carried their flats and walked barefoot/nylon-footed too. I still say sneakers and flip-flops have ruined young women on wearing shoes.)

I will point out that fashion has moved the bar on the high heel in several years, though. Back when I was a teen, my mother wore heels to work and girls would often wear heels to school for fancy events. A 1.5-2" heel was pretty average. A three-inch heel was a bit edgy. Anything higher was what my folks called "CFM" ("Come f--- me") shoes.

Now, anything shorter than 2" is a wedge or not even worth mentioning (well, aside from kitten heels maybe). Heels at 3" or 4" are pretty average. A friend of mine used to say she rarely wore anything shorter than 4", and while she had some exceptions, plenty of her shoes were basic pumps, far from the days when a 4" heel was automatically slut material.

But this isn't merely for office ladies. If you dig deeper, they're looking at women wearing heels for jobs that are more physical or active in nature (waitstaff, people climbing ladders). It might be traditional, but it's also not particularly safe. Not only are we culturally beyond that, I would think that OSHA and workplace risk groups would throw a fit.

I don't think heels are a necessity. A bonus, but not a necessity. And certainly not in realms like the service industry or retail, where they could legitimately pose as much of a hazard.

Oh man, the western workforce would collapse under its own weight, if anything like this was even hinted at.

Funny thing, I remember learning a long time ago that heels were actually frowned upon in Japan, because the salarimen didn't want the women being taller. I'm guessing that was a myth.

Anyway, 'much as I enjoy seeing ladies in high heels, I agree that it's absolutely foolish and dangerous to require them as mandatory work wear in anything other than a physically leisure environment. Things like offices (especially law offices), schools, and occasionally driving positions (I grew up seeing bus drivers in kitten heels sometimes), I could understand it being encouraged, but not enforced. OTOH I'd absolutely freak, if I saw something like a construction worker in heels. I'd probably put in an immediate OSHA report myself.

On the flipside, I can definitely understand encouraging a more all around dress-y business attire (but heels needn't be a requirement for that). I believe that is becoming a lost art, and in a world that's dominated by shorts and flip-flops for every. Gawddamn. Occasion, it's a breath of fresh air to see. I remember that I'd absolutely cringe whenever I worked in an office setting and heard any fellow youth making a stink about the dress code, which we all had adhere to. As much as I loved throwing my work clothes to the side at the end of the day, I loved how it felt on the job, being "dressed for success". It looked good, it felt good, and I equally took others more seriously, whom they were dressed similarly.

I absolutely agree with your statement about sneakers and flip-flops ruining young women on wearing shoes. I could write the book on it.

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