Rush To The Doctor
She had her body poked with a million needles. This was a new type of pain that she had never encountered before.
The upper levels had already picked up the rumor. The staff gathered at the entrance; some were amused by her confusion and came to pat her neck, while others appeared to be actually concerned for her wellbeing. However, she didn’t realize the actual seriousness of the issue until she heard the term “ambulance.”
Not Her Dream Job
Maddie’s “dream job” was the most distant thing from bartending in a casino. She had to deal with several alcoholic and bothersome people daily, and the hours were long. What then drove her to remain?
Maddie’s motivation was straightforward: she stayed for a good income. She was getting closer to starting a little cafe and bakery with every dollar she made. At first, it had been controllable. Then a crucial encounter happened.
A Revised Dress Code
As the manager addressed the bartenders while proudly adjusting his brand-new suit, Maddy and her companion rolled their eyes. He was trying to pass like one of the powerful people that ran the casino, but everyone could see through his act.
He announced, “We’re revising the dress code. The information that was then revealed really caught everyone off guard.
The women had to wander the gaming floors in tiny black dresses and high heels while the guys were assigned the simple task of staying behind the counter. But that wasn’t all.
For the duration of their 12-hour shift, they had to wear tiny dresses. The objections erupted throughout the room at once. However, the manager’s response just gave made Maddy want to go onto the stage and attack him.
A Breaking Point
The management anticipated that they would all “Suck it up.” All there was to it was that. In addition, there was a not-so-subtle warning that they could leave if they didn’t like it. They were disposable girls.
Maddie’s blood began to boil with simmering fury. When she saw it, though, it got to a breaking point. How could they so easily enforce this?
Putting It On
When Maddie tried the outfit on, she had trouble breathing. It purposely squeezed the breath out of her lungs since it was so tight. Furthermore, she could already feel an ache in her calves within ten minutes since the heels were so high.
Her entire being yelled at her to tear everything off. She had the want to lash out at her chauvinist supervisors and then leave the office. But the other girls wouldn’t benefit from it. She kept herself in check while planning until she got an excellent idea.
The other females devised cunning rotation plans so they could take longer breaks. They had some time to relax and zip up their gowns. But Maddie obeyed her boss for now.
But the pain got so bad that she felt it spreading up her calves. But this was only the start of the pain.
She Wouldn’t Stop
She continued walking despite having ember-like knees and hips packed with needles until her feet were hot on fire. The girls wanted it to end.
But Maddie wasn’t planning to give up. She clenched her teeth, dug deep, and poured drinks. She would provide him with what he requested if that was what the evil manager wanted of her. All eyes were on her when 9 PM arrived. What did she have on?
At the end of her agonizing shift, Maddie staggered into the dressing room while every nerve in her body screamed in pain.
Ms. Markems from top management was standing in the center of the space and appeared to be quite perplexed. She had been summoned by a member of staff. The rest of the girls couldn’t believe what they saw when Maddie took off her dress.
Deep, red indentations stayed where the seams and other parts of the tight dress had pressed into Maddy’s skin. A few would definitely leave bruises.
The new gasp of easy air made Maddy’s head swim and swirl. But it was as the high heels came off, Ms. Markems’ eyes went wide, and she clutched her stomach.
Blood oozed from worn, open wounds on her heels and around her toes. The entire inside of her shoes was coated in slimy red. Suddenly, Maddy’s world turned blurry, and her body finally gave out.
By the time she woke up again, the agony was still there like the fires of some actual hell, but she could also hear furious yelling.
As Maddy’s distraught friend cradled her in her arms, Ms. Markems stood nose-to-nose with their immediate manager, who had insisted on the dress code changes.
As paramedics rushed in and got her on a gurney, she could hear the blissfully sweet words “PR disaster, lawsuit, misogynistic, ridiculous, and crazy.” The rest of her crusade unfolded in the hospital.
Between the entire female wait staff and their video phones, they had captured everything. Maddy watched the compilation with satisfaction and awe.
Even she was stunned that she had made it through the shift. Her raw rage and utter determination had triggered some vital changes. But there was one, in particular, that was very gratifying.
The skimpy dresses would stay, but they would be loose and flowing. The dreary high-heeled shoes were changed back to flats. Men and women bartenders would rotate between the floor and the bar as before the change.
The vile manager was also put under review before being transferred to an insignificant department. But would Maddie stay?
Upper management had cut her a generous check for her pain and suffering. It wasn’t enough to hand in her resignation the next day, but she was so much closer to her dream.
In a couple of years, she would smell Oolong and scones instead of cocktails and addiction. Then, she would never step foot in a casino again.
An Important Point
Maddie had sacrificed her own well-being for her female coworkers, and she made an important point to her boss.
High heels are not only painful to work in, but it was sexist to expect the ladies to be uncomfortable while they carried out their shifts, but the men weren’t forced to wear anything uncomfortable. Her boss clearly had double standards.
When asked how Maddie’s loved ones felt about the incident, Maddie said: “With the initial changes, my mother was a bit hesitant, saying to wait and see what the dress is like.”
“…how there wasn’t any real need to change it at all, but the heels were a silly idea and a major health and safety hazard.”
She Was Horrified
“She told me to take flat shoes with me and not to push myself, but when I got home at about 8 AM, she was horrified,” Maddie explained.
“[she said] it was ridiculous that they expect us to wear them all shift. And they clearly back-tracked when they saw my feet because they knew it meant potential problems.”
Proud Of Her Daughter
“She was supportive but was really concerned about my injuries,” Maddie continued.
“[she said] I should have listened to my coworkers but was proud that I stood up for myself and others. My mother didn’t want me to get hurt. My mother was the one who ended up putting the bandages on [my feet] properly for a while, as she was a nurse.”
“It was about 4-5 years since it happened, but I remember I couldn’t even wear comfortable flat shoes without bandages for around three weeks to over a month,” Maddie revealed.
“That was just with the injury to heal enough to not open from the friction. On my days off, I was either sitting because it was sore to walk or pretty much skating around in my socks when it was almost healed.”
Despite the injuries on her feet, Maddie said that if she were faced with the same situation, she’d do it all over again.
“Yes, I would if there is no other option or it was given on short notice. Not because of vanity reasons, but companies that expect women to wear high heels for extended periods of time is against basic health and safety for individuals and the company.”
“It can permanently damage a woman’s feet and cause unnecessary strain, which could lead to further problems. When these dress codes are enforced, they do not seem to consider the individual’s comfort in a busy working environment,” Maddie said.
“I have hypermobility syndrome in my right knee, which I grew up with, which causes my joints to dislocate (especially under pressure). Wearing heels does not help.”
“If I knew what I know now back then, I would have definitely joined a workforce union to help with such matters,” Maddie revealed.
“Also, check your company policy is in line with laws and regulations regarding work where you stay. Always make sure you know your rights. If they violate it, report it to your union representative.”
Women Shouldn’t Be Forced To Wear Heels
“I think women should not be forced to wear high heels. Heels should be optional, as long as the shoes don’t cause harm to the individuals,” Maddie expressed.
“Companies could easily say that they want their employees to have professional/smart attire without the inclusion of high heels. There are smart flat shoes available to women as well as heels, so it should be up to the individual.”
Waging War On The Dresscode
In 2017, more than 150,000 people signed a petition supporting London receptionist Nicola Thorp, who was sent home from work without pay after refusing to wear high heels.
Furthermore, an inquiry into work dress codes has exposed “widespread discrimination” against women. Helen Jones, who chairs the Petitions Committee, said there was a “long way” to go to solve the problems, but “everyone in the workplace deserves better than this.”
Nicola Thorp, a resident of Hackney, was only twenty-seven years old when her superior kicked her out of the office for not adhering to the dress code. Nicola had only wanted to make ends meet.
After all, living in London was costly, and Nicola, like many Londoners, was doing her best to get by. She didn’t know what terrible future awaited her.
Nicola had found a job at a finance company, where she could finally find a way to pay her bills. But she wasn’t there for a day before trouble came knocking.
It was early morning when it happened. Nicola had just arrived at the office when management informed her she had to wear shoes with heels between two and four inches. She wasn’t having it.
Heels At Work
Nicola’s issue wasn’t as simple as not wanting to wear heels to work. Granted, she highlighted that working in heels for seven or more hours was a hellish experience.
Nicola asked for a chance to wear presentable flat shoes. She would have struggled to work her shift in heels. She hoped management would hear her out, only to be met by the worst answer she could ever wish for.
Buy Heeled Shoes
The company asked Nicola to go buy heeled shoes. Nicola said to BBC London, “I told them, ‘if you can give me a reason why wearing flats would impair me to do my job today, then fair enough, but they couldn’t.”
Nicola’s job included a nine-hour shift escorting clients to and from the office. There was no way she could do it in high heels. There was only one thing she could do.
Nicola shared her story, and to her surprise, many women across the world came to her side, sharing their harsh experiences with the office dress code. Nicola admits she was scared of opening up but is glad she did so.
She started a petition for the law to be changed regarding women being forced to wear high heels at work. Her petition is still going strong, and she hopes that one day, women will be able to work in comfortable conditions. After all, it is only fitting.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.