Nikita Richardson
May 19, 2015 9:36 am

According to Cannes Film Festival officials, this year’s festival was supposed to be about bringing more gender balance to an event that usually highlights the achievements of men. And the festival was on track — with female director Emmanuelle Bercot’s La Tête Haute opening the prestigious fest, a UN conference on equality taking place on the red carpet, and legendary French New Wave director Agnes Varda receiving an honorary Palme d’Or — but all that progress is being overshadowed by what’s now being called the “shoetroversy.”

Reports from within and without Cannes are saying that women wearing flats — no matter how fancy they may be — are being turned away from walking the festival’s red carpet. Apparently, such sensible shoes (even if they’re rhinestone encrusted) violate the staid affair’s formal dress policy.

In an email interview with the BBC, a festival spokesperson said, “Rules have not changed throughout the years (tuxedo, formal dress for gala screenings) and there is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels as well as for men’s.” Sure, but then why are women sans heels being turned away? To make matters even more ironic, reports of flategate started at a screening for Cate Blanchett’s new film Carol, a film about two women in a lesbian relationship.

Actress Emily Blunt was asked about the flat/heel policy on the Cannes red carpet and she replied with poise and foot-wisdom to the umpteenth, “I think everyone should wear flats, to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels anymore. That’s just my point of view I prefer to wear Converse sneakers. That’s very disappointing.”

We’ve gotta admit we’re pretty disappointed by this news. Let women wear what they want, be that sky-high heels or ground-hugging flats. Honestly, is there a metaphor more perfect for sexism in the film industry than this Cannes heels mandate? We think not.

To be 100% fair, there are reports of one man who was turned away for sequined tuxedo shoes, but still, what is this extreme footwear policy? Let them wear flats.

This tweet puts it best:


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