High heels in a funeral parlor
At her job in a funeral parlor, Yumi Ishikawa would work up to eight hours per day. Her work consisted of standing for long periods of time in between running around to ensure the ceremonies were going as planned. Her company dress code required female employees to wear 5 to 7 cm heels. Though she rebelled against the guidelines and wore 2 cm heels, she constantly suffered from sore legs, blisters, and bleeding feet.
One day, while aligning shoes at the entrance of a tatami room, she noticed that while her female colleagues had to wear uncomfortable heels, her male counterparts’ shoes were flat, light, and comfy.
“Picking up a pair, I had a moment where I thought ‘wow, they’re so light! I’m desperate to wear the same!’ says Ishikawa, glancing down at her own sneaker-clad feet.
Opening up on Twitter about her feelings, she was surprised when she received thousands of comments and a wave of sympathy from other women. It was at that point she realized this was bigger than just her.
“For a long time, I thought that feeling pain from wearing heels was somehow my fault. I blamed myself for not searching enough for the right pair and not investing in a good pair of shoes. I told myself my feet didn’t have the right shape,” she says.
How a tweet turned into an international debate over gender inequalities in Japan
Struck to hear that high heels seemed to be enforced by a lot of Japanese companies, Ishikawa felt this was no longer a personal issue but a societal one. Researching further, she realized that …continue reading