TV’s obsession with high heels

By city_jumping

If you’ll indulge me in a mini (and semi/mostly-trivial) rant… This is something that’s been bothering me for a while.

I have nothing against high heels per se – apart from an ongoing struggle to find vaguely comfortable ones.  But I think it’s fair to say that there’s a time and a place for them.

But not on TV, it seems.  (I’m not even going to go into the ridiculous outfits in superhero/action movies: if they’re asking me to suspend disbelief in relation to vast swathes of science, I can extend it to believing that fighting villains in sky-high stiletto boots doesn’t hinder people in any way.  I do take issue, however, when it comes to supposedly “normal” people in other shows.)

Time and time again, big-budget TV shows – ones that seem to take such care over tiny set and prop details to make episodes as realistic as possible – seem bizarrely blasé about having realistic wardrobes for women.

Instead of having situation-appropriate clothing, a decision regularly seems to be made for a female character to wear stilettos in situations where no one in their right mind would do so.  Either someone just couldn’t be bothered to think through this detail, or it was an “artistic” preference for the character to look sexy rather than authentic.

Let’s take a few of my top offenders (again, these series aren’t exactly the most recent, but just in case – SPOILER alert):


To be clear, I’m not taking issue with all with heels in the office scenes.  Seems within the realm of “appropriate”.  We’ll have to talk about the women’s insanely “tailored” (read: practically skin-tight) outfits another time (I mean, I think there’s a reason they generally seem to perch on the edge of desks rather than sit down.)

But why on earth would you be pottering around in stilettos in your new flat on moving day?

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 08.54.37

Surely no one, no one, has ever done this?  (Or if you have, please do get in touch.  I’d love to know where you got such comfortable heels from.)

For those who won’t immediately know/remember this scene: Mike and Rachel have just moved in together, and while Mike’s been at work, Rachel has been moving in all the new furniture, putting up paintings and is, apparently, still in the midst of unpacking boxes when he arrives home.  All in stilettos

I mean, really?


One of my all-time favourite shows.  It does so well in presenting diverse, complex characters.  Which makes it all the more frustrating when it gets lazy over this kind of thing.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 08.17.59.png

Why?  Why is she doing major DIY in heels?  She’s just dismantled the door to turn it into a desk and is about to construct a home office, for crying out loud… I don’t think the show’s presentation of “strong” women was supposed involve assuming they had some sort of bionic feet too.

Or is it some metaphor for smashing the glass ceiling with stiletto heels?


I love the show in many ways – but it is, sadly, a recurrent offender.

Lucy Liu’s Watson is pretty formidable.  But for such a pragmatic and logical person, you’d think you’d avoid impractical (albeit cute) ankle boots when your day job regularly involves chasing down hardened criminals, running away from gunfire/explosions and occasionally beating people up.


Searing pain in the balls of your feet just doesn’t seem conducive to getting the job done.  You don’t see Sherlock wearing unduly restrictive gear.

There are so many more, but I think you get the picture.  (Though please do share any you think of – I love a good vent!  As you can tell…)

Dear production teams (or whoever is responsible for this kind of thing) – you’ve managed to create realistic-enough impressions of whole cities, glamorous law firms, a drug-addled Sherlock… is it too much to ask that women are presented more realistically too, instead of as 24/7 Insta-ready glamazons?

4 thoughts on “TV’s obsession with high heels

Add yours

  1. My worst was from a film – the highly pregnant Reese Witherspoon trotting in stilettos (as well as playing soccer) in Rendition. According to the film editor, it was not the director’s choice…


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