KATE REARDON: A heroine who took a tumble for all of us in high heels


A heroine who took a tumble for all of us in high heels

|

UPDATED:

07:26 GMT, 22 October 2012

Now this is a role model. Julia Gillard happens to be prime minister of Australia, but this isn’t an Australian story. Julia is everywoman in a way that can only give other politicians cause to gaze in awe and wonder.

Earlier this month, in a debate on sexism and misogyny, Julia gave a speech of such exquisite, terrifying channelled rage and ferocity that it spoke to the heart of every woman who has ever lost her temper while hoping to appear magnificent.

And then she fell over. Again. (She has a history of footwear malfunctions.)

It all bodes well for Ms Gillard after she finishes laying a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi's cremation site

It all bodes well for Ms Gillard after she finishes laying a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi's cremation site…

... but the next moment she hurtles to the ground, succumbing to gravity like anyone else

… but the next moment she hurtles to the ground, succumbing to gravity like anyone else

Fresh on the heels of her parliamentary triumph, Ms Gillard was making a state visit to India.

While laying a wreath at the Gandhi Memorial, looking exactly like a woman who has harnessed her awesome power, one of her heels became wedged in the soft grass.

She actually fell out of both shoes and hit the ground in a move not seen since Del Boy plunged through the open bar in Only Fools And Horses. You can watch it on YouTube. You can even watch it in slow-motion on YouTube.

More from Kate Reardon…

Top tips for girls
27/11/08

Top tips for girls
13/11/08

TOP TIPS FOR GIRLS: Kate Reardon compiles real advice from real women
22/10/08

Top tips for girls
01/10/08

Top tips for girls
17/09/08

Top Tips For Girls
03/09/08

Top Tips For Girls
28/08/08

Top Tips For Girls
20/08/08

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The men around her looked as bewildered as if she had just burst into tears, or flames. You can see them thinking: ‘We know we’re supposed to pick her up, but was that somehow my fault’

This wasn’t an elegant stumble, not a fragile little trip. Nope, it was the sort of fall that makes every woman sigh: ‘There but for the grace of God…’

Once she had been returned to an upright position, she walked on with excruciating composure and swagger, every ounce of her being patently screaming: ‘Please stop looking at me, I want to die.’ In that instant, she became a global symbol of the fragility of womankind. She didn’t just fall over for herself, she fell over for all women.

Every time I put on high heels I think: ‘Well, I’ll fall over today.’ Almost always I don’t. Almost. But all high-heel-wearing women live in constant peril.

I mean, can you think of anywhere about your person less practical to put a 5in nail than on the sole of your foot

In falling over in heels while trying to look attractive, you don’t just hurt your body, you bear the humiliation of injuring your very soul. Physical pain Whatever, bring it on. But the humiliation Oh, you have seen to the very weakest part of me.

The first thing any heel-wearing faller will do is look up with haunted eyes. Any sentient being will recognise that micro-expression. It appears seconds before the please-stop-staring-at-me-I’m-going-to-have-to-pretend-this-is-funny smile. Other women may steal your boyfriends, criticise your children, even not warn you that you have spinach in your teeth, but they will, if you fall over, rush to ask if you’re all right: it’s the one universal action that speaks to the sisterhood.

Whoops! Ms Gilliard is brought to heel as her shoes prove no match for the grass

Whoops! Ms Gilliard is brought to heel as her shoes prove no match for the grass

Julia Gillard achieved in literally one fell swoop what every politician on the planet is trying to do, that is, to say: 'I'm one of you.'

Julia Gillard achieved in literally one fell swoop what every politician on the planet is trying to do, that is, to say: 'I'm one of you.'

So Julia Gillard achieved in literally one fell swoop what every politician on the planet is trying to do, that is, to say: ‘I’m one of you.’

And yet, there’s no way she did it on purpose and I’m sure she’d give anything to take it back. (If she did it on purpose she’s an evil genius and we should submit right now to her superior powers without a fight.)

It’s the third time this year her shoes have let her down. In January, as her security team bundled her away from some alarming protesters, she lost a blue suede wedge in the melee. Two months ago, she stepped out of one of her heels as she walked onstage at a function at Sydney’s Custom House.

Oh, Julia. If she ever wears heels again, it will be a sign that this woman has the power to hope and a belief in a benign universe strong enough to spark a new religion. Public humiliation comes to us all, and never so surely as when we’re just a little bit pleased with ourselves and feel, just for once, that everything is going our way.

Shortly after being made editor of Tatler, I strode smugly through the lobby of Claridge’s with my skirt tucked firmly into the back of my pants.

It’s a testimony to the hotel’s wonderful staff that a waitress sidled up, murmured something soothing and untucked me before I even knew what was going on.

Punchy, pink and clashing – yet they still stole the show

While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (are we sure there hasn’t been a terrible mistake and Mitt Romney is actually an expensive exfoliant) were enthralling us with their second presidential debate, their wives Michelle and Ann stole the show in matching fuchsia dresses.

Pretty in pink: Michelle Obama and Ann Romney

Pretty in pink: Michelle Obama and Ann Romney

Pretty in pink: Michelle Obama and Ann Romney stole the show in matching fuchsia

What is fuchsia saying It’s saying ‘I’m a romantic, my feminine wiles are throbbingly intact (unlike those of wishy-washy pastel-pink wearers) and I’m the kind of punchy, glamorous woman only a real winner of a husband can attract.’

Just a shame they were both shouting it silently via the medium of clothes at the same time.

Young blood That sounds SO yummy

Along with the so-called vampire facelift (where your own blood is injected into your wrinkles) comes news that a transfusion using a younger person’s blood may rejuvenate older brains. Out of my way, where do I sign up

Now we can forget the Botox, the endless sodding Sudoku, the skinny jeans we drag on to our parsnip-shaped legs, and all those other wild things we do to stay youthful. I’ll just check into a soothing spa/hospital (I’m thinking a bit medical but with a nice range of bathroom products), get hooked up to a drip – while nibbling a chocolate Hobnob, perhaps – and absorb all the vigour of a teenager.

If it turns out to be true, at last we’ve found a way for young people to pay for their university fees – if old bags will pay through the nose for facelifts and laser wrinkle removal, just imagine how much we’ll pay for some yummy young blood.

It's said that double Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel is in love with Thomas Cromwell, the hero of her historical novels. I’ve always had a slightly shaming crush on the equally brutish Henry VIII. I feel like we’re double-dating.

So Martha Stewart paints the expensive red soles of her Christian Louboutin shoes black. With this final craft project too far, has she perfectly defined the concept of having WAY too much time on your hands

Kate Reardon is editor of Tatler magazine