The Women of Cannes demanded equality, but were they forced to do it in high heels?

May 15, 2018

The short answer seems to be, yes. And Kristen Stewart isn't afraid to show us she's had enough. It started back in 2015 when women (of a certain age and some with medical ailments) were turned away from the screening of Carol for wearing comfortable shoes. Whether the flat was cute or not it didn't matter because the dress code for women at Cannes has always been high heels. Women were actually told they could go and buy appropriate footwear and come back, if they wanted to. 

So you have to figure, when these 82 women marched up the Palais steps to demand parity and declare the industry must stop treating women in all aspects of filmmaking as if they are a minority population-- they must have all been in high heels, whether they wanted to be or not. As part of her striking speech, Cate Blanchett said this:

"On these steps today stand 82 women representing the number of female directors who have climbed these stairs since the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946. In the same period 1688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs. In the 71 years of this world-renowned festival there have been 12 female heads of its juries. The prestigious Palme d’Or has been bestowed upon 71 male directors—too numerous to mention by name—but only two women."

It was a terrific speech, but how ironic if all these ladies here are standing up for women while they're feet are killing them because they weren't allowed to wear the comfortable shoes they preferred. Maybe this is why Kristen Stewart made a point of removing hers when she walked the red carpet yesterday.

If you're willing to treat women as equals then it goes without saying you've no place telling them what shoes to wear. It's worth noting that back in 2015, the festival said no such thing happened because no such dress code exists. But the stories women have to tell reveal talk is one thing and actions are another. Even some female bloggers who are just there to do reporting have been admonished for wearing flats on the red carpet. So no, no one believed their lame denial.

I'm with Kristen. Down with sexism in all its forms. What's the point of marching if you can't choose the shoes yourself.