Japan’s women urged to wear high heels to lift confidence
JAPAN, a nation not noted for its gender equality, has seen its women issued with a “call to heels” to help “empower” them.
The Japan High Heel Association (JHA) is urging women to swap sensible flat shoes for stilettos in order to boost their confidence in society and improve their posture.
The all-female organisation charges more than £2,936 (400,000 yen) for a six-month series of “walking etiquette classes” – its popularity is reflected in the fact that 4,000 Japanese women have already completed the course.
JHA is one of a string of schools cropping up across Japan offering classes in high-heel wearing in order to give women “confidence”.
Critics have condemned the classes, in a society that remains deeply patriarchal, as sexist and laughable.
Dismissing the idea as “nonsense”, Mitsuko Shimomura, a social commentator, said: “There’s no relationship between wearing high heels and women’s power.”
However, “Madame” Yumiko, the managing director of Tokyo-based JHA, is urging women to simply “throw on a pair of heels” in order to unlock their minds.
“Many women are too shy to express themselves, she said. “In Japanese culture, women are not expected to stand out or put themselves first.”
Wearing high heels will not only liberate them mentally but help correct bad posture which stems from a legacy of wearing kimonos, claimed Madame Yumiko, 48, a former ballerina.
“Japanese women walk like ducks,” she said. “They waddle along, pigeontoed, with their bottoms sticking out as if they’re bursting to use the toilet. It looks ghastly.”