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By MENG WENJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-29 08:02
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Many young Chinese women are giving up high heels and switching to flats. TUCHONG

High heel farewell

Once a symbol of femininity, high heels are being abandoned by many young Chinese women, who now opt for comfortable flats, including this year's popular Crocs and Birkenstock.

"I don't like the sound of high heels clicking. It feels old-fashioned," said Lin Na (pseudonym), an avid shoe collector, in an interview with The Bund, a fashion magazine in Shanghai.

Despite their discomfort, high heels were once a must-have item for many women, with unwritten regulations suggesting their wear at formal events.

However, the battle over high heels began years ago. In the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, a group of women were refused entry to a movie premiere because they didn't wear high heels. The following year, US actress Julia Roberts protested against the unwritten requirement by removing her shoes on the red carpet.

In 2016, British woman Nicola Thorp was dismissed on her first day as a receptionist at PwC, one of the Big Four accounting firms, for refusing to wear "two to four-inch heels" (about 5-10 centimeters). Her online petition, signed by over 152,000 people, led to a parliamentary inquiry into workplace dress codes.

Today, whether it's female celebrities or ordinary women, high heels are receding from their perceived pedestal as a fashion norm in daily life. This signifies not only a shift in fashion trends but also a choice for women with a stronger sense of self-awareness.

Rosamund Pike is known in China for her authentic Chinese name Pei Chunhua. VCG

Mandarin moments

Rosamund Pike, the award-winning British actress, was recently spotted savoring rice noodles in a small restaurant in Kunming, the capital city of Southwest China's Yunnan province.

Ever since her outstanding performance in the 2014 movie Gone Girl, Pike has gained more recognition among the Chinese audience. However, her current visit to China is not for promotional purposes, but as a chaperone for her son's participation in the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students.

Pike's family is all avid Chinese enthusiasts, and her two children have been studying Chinese since a very young age.

Pike herself even has a Chinese name — Pei Chunhua, which holds significant meaning for her. According to her, the surname "pei "shares the same initial letter as her English surname Pike. The second character "chun" conveys simplicity and honesty in Chinese, while "hua" symbolizes grandeur and nobility, similar to her English name Rosamund, which means "rose of the world".

She once shared a funny Chinese idiom on The Graham Norton Show, an idiom she had just learned from her kids, "taking your trousers off to fart", which means "butter on bacon" in English.

"That's a useful phrase," Pike joked. "If you're going to know one thing in Chinese, that's not bad."

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