On John Kerry's first day as Secretary of State, he joked about whether a man was equipped to run the State Department, referencing his female predecessors, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. "As the saying goes, I have big heels to fill," he quipped, according to the New York Times.
Kerry may have meant his comment with the best of intentions, but this seems like the appropriate time to demand a moratorium on all future use of the words "heels" and/or "stilettos" to describe or allude to women, unless the circumstance involves purchasing shoes.
For years, we've cringed through marketers' attempts to woo female consumers by tacking "stilletto" onto product and service names, and prestigious media outlets working the S word into headlines on stories about women. A steakhouse geared toward female diners? It's "steak for the stiletto crowd"! Want some dating tips? You're probably "single in stilettos"! And of course, if you're a successful woman who also smokes some pot, you're definitely a "Stiletto Stoner." Enough already.
In Hillary Clinton's four years as Secretary of State, she set a record for the most countries visited on diplomatic missions, was in the Situation Room when Osama bin Laden was killed, handled an attack on Americans in Benghazi and launched the Women In Public Service Project, among other things.
I really would like to believe we're past the whole "OMG LADIES ARE IN POSITIONS OF POWER" thing. So when looking back on the legacies of powerful women, let's characterize them by their accomplishments, not their gender and not the shoes they wore.
In Central Palm Beach County, the <a href="http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-03-07/news/fl-rpf-woman-0307-20120307_1_seniors-from-high-schools-scholarships-outstanding-women" target="_hplink">Woman of the Year Stiletto Award</a> recognizes "outstanding leaders in Central Palm Beach County's business community." What happens if you show up to accept your award in ballet flats?
During hard economic times, what's the one thing the ladies need? A woman-centric steakhouse. The November 2011 <em>Wall Street Journal</em> article that profiled the chain STK made sure that it was clear that this restaurant is for the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203802204577066653071207414.html" target="_hplink">"Stiletto Crowd."</a> Because everyone knows that steak sauce can't truly be enjoyed without a side of Manolo Blahniks.
In 2009, the NY Daily News ran an article entitled <a href="http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-03-01/entertainment/17918075_1_bond-girl-poker-swift-blow" target="_hplink">"Stiletto Spy School Is A Day Of Female Bonding." </a> Apparently someone forgot to inform the news organization that you can't wear heels when you're learning hand-to-hand combat in a studio.
What do you call a smart, successful career-woman who sometimes smokes pot? Yes, that's right ... a <a href="http://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity-lifestyle/articles/female-stoners" target="_hplink">"stiletto stoner." </a>
This website about sports targets women. So naturally it's named <a href="https://twitter.com/LEBassett/status/298504520483352576" target="_hplink">"Stiletto Sports."</a>
Because if you're a single woman, you're obviously <a href="http://www.singleinstilettos.com/" target="_hplink">"single in stilettos."</a>
Follow Emma Gray on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emmaladyrose