Last week, an unnamed male student at Riverview High School in Riverview, Florida was removed from class for wearing a pair of high heels, after a teacher informed the principal that the conspicuous shoes were serving as an unwanted distraction and leading to not-so-nice comments from fellow students.
The principal, Bob Heilman, made an executive decision and persuaded the young man to take off the shoes, despite their not being a violation of the dress code. Heilman claimed to be looking out for the boy's welfare, by nipping any further bullying in the bud. He said, "As the principal of a high school, I have to take the paternal side, I have to make sure that he's going to be okay."
Several students protested in a show of solidarity for the teen's fashion choice, though one boy was talked out of wearing a dress because Heilman, again, feared for his safety. A friend of the feminine-footwear fan, senior Hayley Stepp, told a reporter that the shoes made the student feel confident, and that he only began to feel shame after he was pulled from school.
The whole episode goes to show how deeply ingrained gender roles still are in our country. This might not have been such a big deal in Thailand, for example. Perhaps if he had worn a pair of Jimmy Choos, instead of nondescript granny heels, he could have dazzled faculty and students alike to the point of admiration, rather than degradation.