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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Increasingly contested as compulsory items of workers’ dress codes, high heels continue to code power and success. But as an aesthetic ideal high heeled shoes raise questions about commodification as well as social and economic control. As items of glamour they signal and sometimes replace affluence and independence. As objects of fetish high heeled shoes stand in as a reassuring spectacle. As markers of success they contribute to a model of female achievement that requires a transformation. But as prostheses the artifice and transformability of high heels allows for playfulness and re-appropriation, and for disruption wherever they insert incongruity into the otherwise fluid processes of (organized) life.

Keywords: high heels, stilettos, glamour, success, fetish, prosthesis

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