Still doing it backwards, and in high heels?

The club's Facebook page carries a slogan 'We can dance for ever'. Not in stilettos, we can't

Share

In 1982, in a comic strip about Fred Astaire, it was written that "he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards … and in high heels". "Backwards and in high heels" has since become something of a feminist mantra for women who achieve everything men do despite being hobbled by convention. It has been chosen as the title of several novels, a biography of Faith Whittlesey (the US politician who popularised the comment), and a book about "the impossible art of being female" by Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine (the columnist and wife of Michael Gove). Now, it also seems to be the policy of the Liv nightclub in Manchester.

Last week, a woman was turned away from the club when she arrived with a group of friends, because she was wearing flat shoes. This was because she was eight months pregnant, she pointed out – to no sympathy from the female bouncer. She and her nine friends were on a hen night, and were "dressed fabulously", behaving well and – at least the pregnant ones – sober. Not good enough, apparently.

Lawyers have since suggested that the ladies could take action under the Equality Act 2010, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone because she is pregnant. I'd say that pregnantism isn't the form of discrimination taking place here – unless all the male clubbers are required to wear high heels, too. And when we're trying to decide whether something is a feminist issue or not, it is often helpful to ask whether it would seem completely ridiculous if men were expected to do it …

A spokeswoman for Netmums added helpfully: "Many women don't find heels comfortable in pregnancy." Many women don't find heels comfortable ever, as it happens, especially on a night out at a club whose Facebook page carries the slogan: "We can dance forever". Not in stilettos, we can't.

High heels may be a feminist issue, but feminists disagree about them. (Feminists can disagree about lots of things, by the way, just like any other people with brains.) My colleague Joan Smith is a fan, and has written in this newspaper about owning a collection too large to count. Sandi Toksvig, on the other hand, has compared them to foot binding. In last year's Fifty Shades of Feminism, Toksvig wrote: "Women will never meet men on an equal footing … while they literally can't stand up for themselves. I'm not suggesting some kind of 'brogue-only' movement, but if we are strong let us not be afraid to look it."

Personally, I wear heels when I feel like it, for short periods, while sitting down. But I am writing this in a pair of elderly Birkenstocks, and I'm certain that flats are best for dancing, for drinking, and for running away as fast as you can from stuck-up nightclubs that want you to have a painfully boring evening.

twitter.com/@katyguest36912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Emily Thornberry  

Left-leaning patriots unite! Let's get straight about Ukip

Katy Guest
Gary Catona has worked with a number of high profile singers including Stevie Wonder, pictured  

High pitch: In search of the next Whitney

Simmy Richman
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin