Fashion 

Walk in Six-Inch Liberation: Henry Bae Makes High Heels For Men

Can #meninheels ever be normalized to the degree of #womeninpants?

By
7,308 Hypes

Walk in Six-Inch Liberation: Henry Bae Makes High Heels For Men

Can #meninheels ever be normalized to the degree of #womeninpants?

When I came out at 19-years-old, my family had no idea I was gay. They were stunned: all of them.

It’s not like my parents were blind to my (many) femininities. In fact, I’d say they were actively concerned. Bouncy sixth grade boys using recess time to practice Spice Girls choreo wasn’t exactly the norm in my town. But my immigrant family understood — albeit naively — the distinction between sexuality and gender. As a child, the issue wasn’t that I was a budding homosexual — the issue was that I was stupendously girly.

Boys will be boys — this rule I knew to be absolute and true. Sure, there was nothing innately harmful about braiding hair or drawing dresses, but male femininity was only met with consequence. To follow my feminine instincts was to expose my social defects; and I just sadly couldn’t help it. It went far beyond recess dance routines: everything from my handwriting to the way I threw a dodgeball or laughed at a joke seemed to blow my masculine cover. The criticism was humiliating and consistent: “Henry acts like a girl!” It’s in this moment that I recognized femininity as my social nemesis: an evil, pink force determined to drag me down with the sissies and pussy bitches.

In the coming years, my puzzling femininity was given a new label for my peers to better process: Ah, Henry Bae is “gay!” Gay Bae takes it up the ass! It all makes sense now! But my social misconducts weren’t immediately absolved when Brokeback Mountain won an Oscar. Same-sex marriage was gaining federal recognition in the U.S. Supreme Court, and I was still getting honked-at for crossing the street in a skirt. Sexuality and gender are two independent parts of identity, and progress for one hadn’t necessarily meant progress for the other. Crudely put: you could finally be gay, but you still couldn’t be such a fag about it.

Frustrated with the confines of gendered behavior and male masculinity, I currently find myself at the helm of my first company, designing and manufacturing high-heels for men. The most common assumption is that the brand is catered to drag queens. It makes sense, I suppose, to imagine the only customer able to don a six-inch heel without compromising his gender identity would be one in blatant costume. In its ideal form, Syro — short for anasyromenos, a gesture motif in Hellenistic sculpture where a female goddess raises her skirts to reveal a powerful, evil-averting penis — is a service for boys and men to escape the authority of heteronormative masculinity (at least where footwear is concerned). It’s a way to walk in liberation and assert pride in femininity in the most damning of ways. In practice, a grown man walking down the street in a pair of heels without the safety of a club to blend into is, unfortunately, a walk on the dangerous side.

For the systematically oppressed, rebellion doesn’t come without a price. But by empowering our identity, we reject our stigma and take our freedom for ourselves.

Read Full Article
Photographer
Soojin Park
Editor
Lily Chen
Share this article

What to Read Next

3 Men in Heels Prove Why We Should Degender Fashion
Fashion 

3 Men in Heels Prove Why We Should Degender Fashion

Introducing Stixx, Wisdom Kaye and Henry Bae.
18,024 Hypes

Dua Lipa Dances Closely With Henry Cavill for Her Acting Debut in 'Argylle'
Film & TV

Dua Lipa Dances Closely With Henry Cavill for Her Acting Debut in 'Argylle'

Let’s all live vicariously through her.
1,869 Hypes

The Beckham Men Stun in Dior for Their Recent Wedding Attire
Fashion

The Beckham Men Stun in Dior for Their Recent Wedding Attire

In honor of Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz’s wedding.
10,246 Hypes


High Heels Are Back — Here Are 10 Statement Pairs for Your Post-Lockdown Celebrations
Footwear 

High Heels Are Back — Here Are 10 Statement Pairs for Your Post-Lockdown Celebrations

Can’t-miss styles from Bottega Veneta, Nodaleto and more.
5,646 Hypes

The Official US Retailer List to Cop adidas x Pharrell Williams' Hu NMD
Footwear

The Official US Retailer List to Cop adidas x Pharrell Williams' Hu NMD

Dropping at a location near you.
919 Hypes


New Balance Revamps the 991 for Normcore Fanatics
Footwear

New Balance Revamps the 991 for Normcore Fanatics

This one’s for you, athleisure lovers.
2,735 Hypes

Nike Officially Introduces Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit
Footwear

Nike Officially Introduces Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit

Technology advances the iconic silhouette three decades later.
551 Hypes

Kirsten Dunst Makes Her Directorial Debut with 'The Bell Jar' Film Adaption
Culture

Kirsten Dunst Makes Her Directorial Debut with 'The Bell Jar' Film Adaption

Based on Sylvia Plath’s 1963 novel and starring Dakota Fanning.
513 Hypes

PUMA Teams up with Careaux for New Sneaker Collection
Footwear

PUMA Teams up with Careaux for New Sneaker Collection

The Dutch street style icon works her magic on the brand’s signature sneakers.
1,640 Hypes

The 'Before I Wake' Trailer Will Definitely Give You Nightmares
Culture

The 'Before I Wake' Trailer Will Definitely Give You Nightmares

Brace yourselves, horror fans.
241 Hypes

Athleisure Lingerie Is Now a Thing and We Love It
Fashion

Athleisure Lingerie Is Now a Thing and We Love It

New brand Lively is a female-founded revolution creating the “leisurée” category.
897 Hypes

Kesha Announces Upcoming Tour with New Band "Kesha and the Creepies"
Music

Kesha Announces Upcoming Tour with New Band "Kesha and the Creepies"

The singer will be experimenting with rock’n’roll.
311 Hypes

Whoa, First Lady Michelle Obama Joins James Corden for "Carpool Karaoke"
Culture

Whoa, First Lady Michelle Obama Joins James Corden for "Carpool Karaoke"

And a VERY special guest even makes an appearance, right when you least expect it.
224 Hypes

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Keep updated on the latest news.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.