Now that we have some well-needed distance from this “tempest in a teapot” and though we may never really learn exactly what happened at the Cannes Film Festival in May, we Baby Boomer women can take away a few lessons–whether we are invited to attend next year or not.
According to festival spokeswoman Christine Aime regarding Cannes’ dress code,”There is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels as well as for men’s [but] which requires that men wear tuxedos with bow ties and black shoes, and women are supposed to wear dresses with heels. Thus, in order to make sure that this rule is respected, the festival’s hosts and hostesses were reminded of it.”
Though unfortunately “Shoegate” represents the rigidity, sexism, and shallowness of an industry, some of us occasionally are invited and do attend events—galas, business activities, etc.–with dress codes. Out of respect for the organizers, we should consider conforming despite discomfort or financial impact. We Boomers were raised to respect those kinds of rules. If we choose not to abide by them, unless there are medical reasons or we have discussed our exception ahead of time with event staff OR it’s important to protest them, then plan not to attend. Non-conforming is fine and sometimes admirable, but accept the consequences of being turned away. “Because I am who I am” or “I feel like it” is not acceptable and only makes that person look bad.
On the other hand, we Boomers have reached that age where we can and must be ourselves and decide what that means. If we choose to wear hurtfully high heels then plan to be in pain later. If we choose to wear low heels or even, heaven forbid, flats for comfort then accept that we may not conform to someone else’s image of well-dressed. Further, we Boomers should have the perspective of allowing others to be themselves as well, however they dress.
There is no one size fits all. We must be comfortable in our own shoes—and of course I’m talking symbolically not real shoes—and allow others to be in theirs.