The other day, I was chatting online with a health care professional about her social media experience. This was in response to one of her many interesting posts. Before I dive into the chat, let’s just cover a few basics.
This lady I was chatting with is a health professional who shares motivational posts, fitness posts, Christian inspirational posts, and photos of her in high heels.
At first blush, there is nothing wrong with this introductory paragraph you just read. However, place that on social media, and someone is bound to notice something is wrong with that post.
Take a second… reread if you must… see if you can spot the “error”.
Exactly. There is not really one unless you believe there is one. For those, like myself, who didn’t spot the issue right away, she spelled it out for us. Some people seem to have an issue with combination of “Christian” and “high heels” being in the same descriptive paragraph.
To use a bit of humor, the question then becomes… when is someone too holy for heeling? (the original title for this post was.. “Are you too holy for heeling?”)
Are high heels disrupting your brand?
In the course of our chat, we discussed the validity of the claims certain fans of hers were making. Is there a point in which one’s spiritual affiliation prevents them from enjoying certain luxuries in life?
From my personal experience, I’ve assumed some of the criticism I endured about my interest in fashion was due to some well meaning person trying to prevent me from experiencing some kind of gender identity… because I think heels look amazing on fashionable women.
Let me elaborate a second. No one ever had an issue with my interest in cars. Albeit, my dad thought I spent too many weekends washing and polishing my car as a teen. It was my first car and I had time on my hand. Every weekend, the car got washed.
No one had an issue that I kept my hair well trimmed and sharp every week. Albeit, my mom thought I cut my hair too frequently. I did my own hair and it took me one hour to get it just right. I had time. I was a teen.
The line seemed to magically appear whenever I noticed what a woman wore. As if I was crossing some forbidden line. Not the casual compliment of “you look great”.
No. It was the ones that went something like… “I think this blue dress really works well with your eyes” or “very creative use of your headband to match your purse and sneakers”.
The specificity was appreciated by the young lady but the adults seemed uncomfortable with my ability to notice those finer details. Didn’t help that I got into photography and gotten better at noticing details.
I will admit, I can spot some details that will miss many… and I’m cool with that. Makes me a better writer for it.
The one item I could notice about a woman that would land me in more hot water by the “holy-police” than anything else… was heels. Not even pointing out famous male fashion designers could get me out of ‘trouble’ with the “holy-police”.
So much so, I stopped working on a book to emulate a famous author who cataloged high fashioned heels in a well published book that was well acclaimed. If had fancied creating one based on affordable fancy fashion instead of celebrity, rich and famous, stratospheric fashion.
Needless to say, I moved on with my photographic focus and did pretty decently in the wedding photography arena.
So… why was it a “problem” for a woman to show off her appreciation of the gifts her husband purchased for her? Why was high heels creating a problem for her social media followers? What’s the link with being spiritually minded and high heels?
There is a whole lot to unpack there. Not enough time in one blog post. However, let’s just pick one and run with it.
An Argument for/against Idolatry
The singular argument used in many super conservative circles about the topic of high heels (or any other high end fashion interest) is that it’s a form of idolatry.
Before I expand on this, let me just address one other point that seems to get lost in these arguments.
Anyone and everyone is at risk of some form of idolatry. Anyone can have their little preferred obsession that will throw things out of balance in their lives.
It could be that teen who feels compelled to wash his car every single weekend, err… yeah, or that person who has to check their phone’s notification at all cost.
Furthermore, just because something is in the realm of idolatry for one does not automatically make it idolatry for the other.
Case in point. Some people wear make-up because their job requires it. Think news anchors. Male and female alike wear make-up. No one is alarmed by that. It’s clearly not idolatry in that setting.
Take someone who will put themselves in debt to have a certain brand of make-up and feel they can’t interact with the world without their make-up and will compromise many other values and relationships to have the make-up on. An argument can be made that there is a problem there.
Instead of labeling it as a problem, establish rapport with the person and make yourself available to help them get past their problem. If they’re willing to get help, let alone recognize the need for help.
Getting back to the discussion from online. The choice to wear high heels is a personal fashion choice that encompasses a lot of other choices. Judging that one can’t participate in such a choice primarily on the notion that they’re of a certain spiritual belief is problematic.
Who made the decision that a person of faith can’t wear high heels… or compliment a woman who wears them? I’d like to interview them and gain enlightenment.
But… before we digress too much…
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Thanks to social media, many will express their opinion as factual authority with little concern to the impact of their words.
Some people, out of understandable concern, will go out of their way to curate and edit their social profiles in order not to draw negative attention.
I was one of those. I didn’t want any of the “holy-police” to uncover my fashion interest. But the reality is quite simple. The search engines of this world already know that the same guy who places a positive affirmation post is also sharing some of his high heel photo art on fashion websites. Worse, he attempted to create his own and was getting pretty popular at one point.
What’s changing is the belief system that I use. I used to play very scared and avoided a lot of social interaction because of the irrational fear of being discovered as “less than holy enough”. Total nonsense really.
If one is to be authentic, one can’t complete segment and compartmentalize who they are. However, one can seek enlightenment an instructions for the Good Book. In the course of improving one’s relationship with their maker, one realize that there is a much deeper point.
We were not given a spirit of fear. We have been given a sound mind. We need to acquire the spirit of discernment. And apply ourselves to wisdom.
In simple terms… our self-esteem should not be left to the vote of public opinion. As social creatures, we derive a lot of our cues from those around us. However, we should never leave these cues unchecked with sound facts.
Example: I was picked on in school. All kids at some point get picked on. I was told all manners of things. However, when I fact checked these opinions, they didn’t add up. So, I ditched them. Kept moving. Gained internal strength. And the funny thing happened. I got picked on a whole lot less. Some who used to tease me now wanted to be around me. Confidence is such a beautiful thing.
However, like all human achievements, the tide of change will modify the concept of self-esteem. The years of being super sure of myself passed and other years of less certainty came. The ebb and flow of life will test your resolve if you’re not careful. This is where a good solid spiritual game comes in handy.