Kristen Stewart was attending the premiere of BlacKkKlansman yesterday and, having walked the majority of the carpet in her heels, she reached down and took them off before swiftly ascending the steps, while onlooking photographers scrambled to capture the moment. Stewart’s act of defiance seemed spontaneous, but she has never been afraid of bending the rules to make a statement – and it worked. She’s trending on Twitter and has been praised by media outlets and the public alike for her “relatable” move.
She’s not the first actress to ditch her shoes at black-tie events in the recent past – Julia Roberts, too, used the Cannes steps to reveal her bare feet in 2016, hitching up her floor-length gown after walking the red carpet. Many believed Roberts’ decision came after controversy at the previous year’s festival, when some female attendees were turned away for not wearing “correct footwear”.
Yawning and going barefoot may not be exactly groundbreaking, but at least Stewart has found her own way to subvert sexist conventions
While moves like this seem to reveal a strict dress code, whether a footwear policy for women actually exists seems up for debate. Yet, whatever the rules, Stewart has made it clear she doesn’t shy away from flouting them. “Honestly, when I wear heels, it’s empowering – I feel sexy,” the actress told Hollywood Reporter last year. “I’m feeling myself for about 10 minutes and then I’m in pain. I want to walk around and feel rooted.”
Stewart’s knowing smile demonstrated that while simply choosing to be comfortable, her move also meant she could give a middle finger to the ingrained sexism of the film industry. Yawning and going barefoot may not be exactly groundbreaking, but at least Stewart has found her own way to subvert sexist conventions.
Women at this year’s Cannes have taken a defiant stance – from protesting on the steps over the lack of recognition for female directors to this, something as innocuous as ditching heels. Of course, these women, as many have pointed out, are protesting from a very privileged place – the red carpet. Still, it seems, cracks are beginning to show.
Because Stewart, in kicking off her heels, and yawning, rather than smiling sweetly as she is told to, demonstrates that actresses and women are just human. And I am most definitely here for ridding the film industry of anything that causes pain or annoyance to these talented women. The women of Cannes are sending a very clear message: now, we are writing our own rules.