Friday, June 20, 2014

Russian Lawmaker Puts Foot Down on High Heels, Ballet Shoes and Loafers

by Nomad

Just when you thought the American Congress couldn't get any more silly or intrusive into the lives of women, the Russians step in with the draft laws against footwear.

A Paris-based international news agency, AFP, is reporting this story.
Russian women may soon undergo a dramatic makeover if a Kremlin-friendly legislator has his way and pushes through a ban on a fashion item they perhaps cherish the most: high heels.
Oleg Mikheyev, a legislator with pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party, says vertiginous heels as well as trainers, ballet flats and men’s loafers are bad for people’s health and it’s time to do something about it.
The article goes on:
Mikheyev has sent a proposal to the Customs Union which also includes ex-Soviet Belarus and Kazakhstan, suggesting that the Moscow-led group introduce official standards stipulating the height of heels. “Footwear should have heels that are two to four centimetres high, five centimetres high at the most,” said the proposal. “The harmful effects of wearing extremely high heels and flat shoes have now been recognised by experts of the entire world,” said the five-page proposal. “It’s necessary to change this trend.” Mikheyev said he was simply looking to raise awareness rather than ban heels outright.
In fact, Mikheyev is no stranger to [insert adjective of choice] legislation.  

Last November he introduced a bill before the Duma that would make insulting Russian patriotism a crime, with punishments ranging from 100,000 ruble fine (about $3000) up to five years behind bars. (Incidentally, there are already laws on the books in Russia criminalizes the desecration of a state flag or emblem with up to one year in prison.) 

Other notable legislation includes a ban on limiting "negative TV content." That draft law, Mikheyev claims, was designed to keep excessive gore from viewers. 
Journalists should inform people rather than show explicit bloody details in news, the MP explained. Fair enough. Let's not call it censorship, then. 
Nevertheless there is the question of enforcement. Those in charge of the offending TV channels and journalists who violate the law would, according to the proposed law, face up to six years behind bars.

Speaking of frowning on loafers, with so many problems in the world, you'd think Russian (and American) lawmakers could better use of their time. With all due respect to Mikheyev and his fellow politicians, the A Just Party's foot fetish doesn't seem to be all that pressing.  
Couldn't he raise awareness on, say, global warming or, better yet,  the levels of corruption, which, according to one report, are higher than in countries such as Togo or Uganda?
(Of course, given some of the allegations against him, Mikheyev could perhaps be an unlikely choice as crusader against corruption.)

The Moscow Times gives us these wry comments on the shoe legislation:
Anyone who has ever put on a pair of high heels and tried to walk a Moscow street a day after the city has laid down new paving for the third time in 18 months will no doubt have sympathy for this attempt to protect residents' extremities.
Forty percent of the nation has flat feet, the deputy said. Next time the Russian team plays in the World Cup, remember that at least four of those 11 players, or up to nine feet, are courageously running despite this condition.
Admittedly, many politicians in the US would prefer to go even further than Mikheyev. While the Russian would like women barefoot, the conservatives seem to want to see all women not only barefoot but, pregnant and in the kitchen. 

And as far from the voting booth as possible.