Boy gets the Boot for wearing High Heels

Does forcing a student to conform to social norms prevent bullying or perpetuate it? A recent episode in Florida once again brought this debate to light: a male student who wore high heels to school was asked by an assistant principal to remove them — even though he wasn’t violating dress code.

Riverview High School Principal Heilmann told 10 News that he made the request out of concern for the student’s safety. "Part of bullying is to try to prevent it, whether people make fun of what you are wearing, or your hair. If I can prevent that, I will. said Heilmann. Some students felt the assistant principal didn’t have the student’s best interests in mind. Read on…


46 thoughts on “Boy gets the Boot for wearing High Heels”

  1. Josh, I have a complaint. It is not because of the content of your website, but it is because you are not consistent. Some days you post at 8am and 10 am, which is fine (central time) but some days like today you post at 1pm! Be consistent with your times for pete sake! Also, why does it say 8 am on your first post, and 20:00 on your second post everytime, even though they are postes 3 hours apart Or less. Thanks, and that is all.

    1. Get a life so you aren’t living for milkboy posts. Or see a shrink for your obsession.

  2. I actually kind of understand this. I mean its kind of a lose-lose situation. I dont think this principal was intending on forcing him to remove the heels because of the violation, but was actually looking out for the safety of the student. Personally, I think it would be dumb to put yourself in such a situation.

    1. The article doesn’t discuss this particular incident in much detail, but the kid was drawing unnecessary attention to himself, likely intentionally. By wearing high heels he is essentially asking to be bullied.

      1. Like girls with short skirts are asking to getting raped, right? We should just all wear grey uniforms and try to fit in as well as possible -_-

        1. You’ve just equated rape to bullying…wow.

          If you really want to make an analogy, the short skirt equivelant would be boys staring at her butt/legs and maybe making comments…in which case, again I would say she is asking for it.

          Should he be able to wear whatever he wants and have it be socially acceptable? Of course, but the reality is he can’t. The administrator is living in the real world. That kid will get bullied because of an attention grabbing stunt like wearing high heels.

          You can’t criticize the administrator because high heels for young boys are not socially acceptable. You have to evaluate what he did within the realm of reality. The fact is, the administrator did not decide what is socially acceptable, only what he thought was best for this kid.

          That being said…we have no idea what his (the administrator or the boy) intentions were, and we can only presume. I’d think it is intensively negative to assume that because he is in a position of authority, and because he made a decision you disagree with, that he is automatically some sort of homophobe.

          1. If you keep someone from doing something it will never be “socially acceptable”. Not to mention that everyone should be allowed to not give a fuck about if something is socially acceptable or not.

            And I didn’t equate rape to bullying. I was just pointing out that blaming the victim is a stupid thing to do. In both cases.

            1. No one is trying to blame the victim. The problem is, if the administrator didn’t stop the kid, and the kid got the crap beat out of him, or was verbally bullied (as he most certainly would be) then you would be here posting an article about how messed up this school is, and what was the administration/parents/teachers doing to stop this blah blah blah. Either you need to accept that the reality is that high school kids can’t handle it yet, or you need to not expect the administration to try to do anything to stop bullying. You can’t have it both ways.

            2. But I think there is a difference between being gay and wearing heels. Some people feel that being gay is wrong, and let the world know that in bad ways. But wearing heels as a guy is not exactly a commonplace, at all. As a school administrator, he has the responsibility to protect his students. He felt that he was doing so I gathered. Maybe not. Maybe he is homophobic. Who knows. But if he was, I am sure he would have just let the kid get his ass beat.

            3. You also have the power to choose to act straight. It’s about the freedom to express your personality and being able to be openly gay and being able to dress as you wish are both part of that freedom.

  3. Good thing he made him take off the heels. I would make fun of any male in stilettos.

    Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  4. `they used to have high heels for guys it was called the glam look. they even had them in schoolshoes. when i was a little sissyboy i fell over while wearing a pair. ouch!

    seriously if he isn’t harming anyone why not

    1. Because it will harm some one…

      There are two issues here.

      Should he, from a social equality stand point be able to wear whatever he wants? Of course, but the reality is that our society has not reached that point yet

      The second issue, and the one the administrator seems to have been trying to address is that the reality is a boy wearing high heels will get him bullied.

      1. Audaciter:

        The second issue, and the one the administrator seems to have been trying to address is that the reality is a boy wearing high heels will get him bullied.

        maybe this is true in your reality but it isn’t in mine. FACT, the boy in this story was not bullied, he has only been supported since this happened. if wearing heels gets you bullied he should stop wearing heels? if being gay gets him bullied he should stop being gay? no way! he should wear what he wants and if someone bullies him they should be dealt with.

        a bully does not need a reason to bully.. if he does not have a boy in heels to pick on he will find someone else… thats what bullies do.

        1. You are not understanding my point. Of course he should be able to wear what he wants, and be who he is.

          I am discussing the topic of this article not some grand, vague ideal of what is social acceptability.

          One of two things could have happened

          1) The administrator does what he did, and the kid pouts about wardrobe choice being not allowed but he goes about his day. [It is important here to remember that, as far as we can tell, the administrator was respectful, and made the request with good intentions not those of some sort of rampant homophobe].

          2) The administration does nothing, and when/if the kid gets bullied people come out of the wood work denouncing the administration for doing nothing.

          My only point is that you either have the administration responsible for it, or you don’t…You have to pick one.

  5. Would western boots with buldog heels be acceptable? What if a girl would wear such boots as they sometimes do?

  6. I personally think it is silly for a boy to wear high heals or a dress. There is something twisted about allow some one to pretend they are something they are not, even if he is gay. Gay is OK, effiminate os OK, androgyny, make up is ok, long hair OK, A little splash of color OK. Emo is OK, Punk is OK, tight pants OK, if there’s a costume party OK. If the boy/girl is transgender then it would make sense to dress as the gender you feel you are. Otherwise dressing up as a clown everyday in school would make as much sense. IMHO. And yes I’m GAY.

    1. The motives behind this (on both sides really) are important too.

      We don’t know this kid is gay, or at least this article doesn’t mention it. We have just assumed it because of the high heels. Does he honestly feel more comfortable in high heels? Or is he trying to just be a smart ass?

      To me, it sounds like a blatant grab at attention, and I don’t have much sympathy for those kinds of people.

      Edit: I didn’t mean to “Reply to” Wonderboy. I don’t agree with him, and was in no way referring to his post.

    2. I really don’t know how to respond to this but I will say, your post was fun. Sincerely.


    3. Allow someone to pretend to be what their not? So why should you be allowed to do anything period? And so what if someone doesn’t fit within your definition of what is gender A compared to gender B. High heels can be something that is exclusive to your definition of the female gender, but honestly, fuck you and fuck your definitions. You don’t allow anyone to do anything. You have no right to allow or disallow anyone to do a goddamn thing, you prick. I think it’s twisted that you think you and society at large think you have the power allow or disallow anything in regards to the individual.

  7. Being gay is different from being a crossdresser. I really dislike it when people mix them together and, as a result, believe all gays are crossdressers.

  8. Call me old-fashioned but…

    A boy wearing high-heels in a culture where it does not normally happen is a blatant attempt to provoke and attract attention.

    That’s one of the better things about living in a society where not everything is accepted – it makes it all the easier to make a powerful statement when you want/need to.

    But that kind of provocation and ostentation has no place in a school.

    There is an argument that says in an ideal society the individual should wear whatever the heck he likes even if that means blatant disregard for what is going on around him.

    I say, if you want to live in harmony with people, why deliberately choose to confront others with something likely to generate a negative reaction?

    Society is as much about the individual effacing his own desires to engender the smooth functioning of society at large as it is about the individual benefitting from a safe place to go about his life.

    Or, to put it a different way, say I’m a member of a local tennis club. Just like at Wimbledon, clothing on court is expected to be white. It’s maybe not a written rule but everyone who goes to the club stands by the rule and it engenders a nice mutual understanding and respect when you turn up and see people doing the same.

    If a visitor from another club comes and only has black kit, the only decent thing to do is welcome him warmly and let him play.

    But if, one day, one of the established members turns up to play in fluorescent pink and green – and does so in the knowledge that this is likely to wind up a lot of people – and without any particular reason other than he just wants to express himself…

    …well, if that happens, I’d just think: What a twat.

    1. I’m with you zero percent. You can be all about communal conformity all you want, but I think underneath it all, you’re the real twat. When I’m dictator, I’ll tell you what you can and cannot wear, if you refuse, I’ll have you turned into a social pariah, rejected by everyone, facing destitute poverty and starvation. Asshole.

      1. But it’s not as black and white as your painting. The choice is not between total sartorial freedom on the one hand and a single dictated uniform on the other.

        Surely you realize this?

        >I’ll have you turned into a social pariah, rejected by everyone, facing destitute poverty and starvation.

        Is that what has happened to this boy? Obviously not. In that sense your argument is really over…

        …however, if I was unfortunate to have been born into a society like that, I’d just get on with it and wear what I was told. I’m the same person whatever clothes I wear.

        Furthermore, as it happens, I did grow up in a school with an explicit and limited uniform (like a great many people in the world) so I know whereof I speak. I’m glad I wasn’t taught to define my real self with things as superficial as clothes.

        1. How you dress can be an expression of who you are on the inside and if someone wants to have that expression, that should be a choice. My sense of argument isn’t over at all, you’re being a fucking fascist, that was my point. And if I had the power to dictate what you wore, such as the admins of your school did, if you chose not to obey, you could be excommunicated from the community as it were, and with no outside involvement, you’d end up homeless, being stigmatized. If clothes are so superficial as you say, then let people wear what they want and don’t make a huge issue out of it. But obviously it is important to your system of control. Because thats all you care about, control. You were conditioned to be like that and obviously it worked and you don’t even question how fucked up and wrong and utterly fascist your upbringing was. That’s what’s sad. You’d defend the fascist fucks of your upbringing against freedom of expression through clothing or whatever means a person chooses. Honestly, fuck you, you fascist authoritarian loving son of a bitch. And it really is as black and white as this: A man chooses, a slave obeys. There’s nothing else to be said about it, you can defend an authoritarian and fascist view all you want, but a man chooses, a slave obeys. As far as life is concerned, that’s all there is to it. Your choice to obey has its consequences, such as a warped vision of yourself and life in general and the freedom or lack thereof for others, and the choice not to obey has its conseqeunces also, such as social stigma and a failure to adapt to society, which means not finding a successful job and a liveable income. It sickens me that you go out of your way to be contrary with me just to defend establishments and established norms and traditions and rules.

          1. What you are into (be it clothing, certain types of movies, political movements, religious movements, etc.) reflects who you are. If you dress ;conservatively’, that is in so called business attire, all the time, it may very well tell me something about you and reflect who you are. There’s a reason for example that Baptist christians wear business attire all the time, it reflects who they are and is part of their identity. You call it superficial, but the reason dress codes, for any religious sect or school or business, are put in place is because that respective movement or establishment doesnt consider clothing to be superficial, but so important to their identity that they create rules regulating it. If it was superficial they wouldn’t care so much about it so as to enforce it through control. The reason that your school had an explicit and implicit uniform code is not because they agreed with you that clothing as an expression of identity is superficial, but the exact opposite, they totally disagreed with you and are totally contrary to what you are saying. It was so important and non-superifical as an issue that they regulated it to ensure conformity. The deletion of that expression from the equation creates nothing but a world of robots and clones. But then, that’s fascism’s goal isn’t it? To create a world in your own image, where everyone is a clone of you, because you are right, you have the right to rule, etc. Dominionism is all it is, the belief that a certain group have a god-given right to rule in the absense of whatever deity (YHWH, Jesus, Allah, etc.). This issue, of whether this boy can wear what he wants or not, spills into so many other issues and it has to be tackled and dealt with. The failure to recognize that someone is free at birth is the failure of human civilization. I’m going to partly cop out in this dialoguing and quote a message I wrote and left on a thread some years back because what I wrote then is relevent to present discussion. You’ll excuse me for the personal insults I lauded at you, but you had them coming and I have absolutely zero patience for fascists and authoritarians. Anyway, here’s what I was responding to”The Supreme Court has upheld the FCC’s policy on obscenities.

            With the 50th Anniversary of the Olympia Naked Lunch coming this summer, it is important to note that Naked Lunch remains unreadable on the major networks and radio even if it is no longer unpublishable or unfilmable. The battles over words like fuck are still raging today.” And here is a snippet of my response: “There’s a very scary trend toward Authoritarianism and Fascism in the United States.

            The FCC does not decide for me what is offensive or not. The word fuck and any other word has no moral bearing whatsoever and no word is immoral, to say that the word fuck is immoral is ludicrous, fuck being a ‘bad’ word is a man-made thing. The FCC does not dictate my morality and does not get to say what is moral and what is not. They have delusions of grandeur, like all forms of control…….
            ……….Someone has to fight fascism or it will consume the world. Look at Russia’s current so called government, it has become increasingly fascist over the past few years. The mayor of Moscow reacted to gay rights activists gathering to fight for gay rights that do not exist in Russia and he called gay rights protest and gay rights parades ‘Satanic’. Um excuse me, but he does not get to decide for others what is satanic and what is not.

            I was doing some reading on Philip K. Dick and Gnosticism and also on what has been called Christian Anarchism and Anarcho-Gnosticism. Tim Boucher put up an excellent article called the Birth of Phildikian Gnosticism, which explains a gnostic viewpoint aswell as my worldview very succently

            “As Jeremy expertly pointed out recently:
            Instead of World-Hating Dualists, a better phrase for describing Gnostics would be Freedom-Loving Individualists we certainly don’t hate the world or Nature, we hate any Control System that tries to take away our ability to interact with the world independently.
            Not dualists but individualists who, like Dick’s fictional protagonists, are stuck in a world we didn’t create, just trying to get by…”

            Put simply, the U.S. Government and indeed, any government, does not tell me who I am.

      2. I agree with TCave i believe you epitomize the self- actualization of Maslow’s hierarchy.

        Thank you

  9. Well what a lot of hubbub about basically nothing.

    After reading the entire article, it appeared to me that Bob Heilmann the assistant principal did what he thought was the best thing to do. Also, reading all of the reactions and discussion that took place to this incident, I think mostly everyone was just concerned with the best interests of the students they are in charge of. At the same time I can understand the students’ reactions to it by protesting, saying his rights were violated, etc. Whether it’s your right to do something or not, making decisions to stand out from your peers can come with consequences. When I was in school back in the dark ages we weren’t alllowed to wear jeans. Cords or coloured dressy jeans were allowed. We students protested for the whole time I was there, and they never budged one inch. Rules were written in stone with the attitude ‘we are the ones in charge, and we know better than you’. There’s been a lot of progress take place since those days, and personally I find it refreshing to see most people in charge earnestly trying to do the very best they can. It’s obviously a very complicated issue.

    Lastly, I never wore high heels but I wore platform shoes when I was young and indeed I did find it a dangerous choice. I ended up stumbling on a stair and breaking my foot. Was glad when they went out of style :)

    1. “Lastly, I never wore high heels but I wore platform shoes when I was young and indeed I did find it a dangerous choice. I ended up stumbling on a stair and breaking my foot. Was glad when they went out of style :)”

      You were just unlucky… I wore platform ‘disco’ type shoes without incident. I thought they were cool as hell and as a boy, delighted in all the cool colors and ‘camp’ ways you were ‘allowed’ (by your peers), to express yourself in dress back then.

    1. Yeah well, you’re simply dumb. Shut the fuck up or I’ll start telling you what you can and can not wear.

  10. I’m always amazed I guess, at those on basically a ‘queer’ site/blog who would condemn behavior that is ‘different’. Especially dress behavior that does not hurt anyone. The boy was trying to express himself, not invite a brutal beating or bullying. Even if his intention was to bring out the worst in his fellow students, he should be applauded, not condemned for his courage and uniqueness.

    Making comments like, “He asked for it.”, is very much like girls expressing themselves with ‘provocative’ clothing i.e., they “deserve” whatever happens to them because of what they wear. Most schools have a dress code and the administration is within their rights to enforce it. However, students can work to change a dress code if need be-they change in each generation anyway.

    I highly doubt the administrator in this scenario was trying to ‘protect’ the boy….censor & silence, yes. To prevent bullying in schools, you have a zero policy towards such and you go after the bullies…not change the behavior of the victims

      1. to Joshua Laudermilk- I haven’t got the time to read and digest all your posts but so far you are so defensive and being an a**hole to everyone (that have different opinion than you). It is like you think you know everything and everyone that disagree with you are dumbass, or “fucking” fascist. Have you not consider maybe some of the posters here may not go through life as much as you did and are honest about their view in their current time frame of their life, or upbringing. To go as far as condemn a person whole upbringing as if your kind of view of the world is superior to everyone else (which was a point you make).

        As far as I can see from this incident, that there was a problem, bullying. And the principal take an action of what he think maybe best for the time being at the present culture of the present time or the present area. Is he one hundred percent right? Probably not. Now, he will face the media and critics. But to me, at least he takes an action. And if that didn’t work out too well, at least now we know.

        To my limited knowledge, society norms are there for a reason to protect and preserve the identity of a group of individuals. Globally, our human culture are involving, our conservative idealism are clashing with our new idealism. To me that is natural. In fact I don’t see anything wrong with the boy who wants to wear high heel to seek out attention. But he should be inform that he may got his ass kick and should go learn some martial art to defend himself (well, bullies exist). As for the principal trying to do his job, that is okay too. As for people who think those boys who wear high heels should have no place in the school that is okay also. Communication between people who have different ideas to reach a consensus or at least understand where the opposition comes from. That is the key. Not calling people fucking fascist or violent (bully). I am currently living in the USA, though I am not a native. I feel that too much freedom making everyday Americans too self serving, can be ill manner, and absolute no empathy toward others’ viewpoints.

    1. easier say than done, the bully culture especially this one may have ingrain to the kids (maybe ) from the parents. Even toys commercials on tv show a clear divide line of what a boy or girl should be into. Anything that is out of the norm will be a reason for a bully to pick on the victim. Detention? They wear it like a badge of honor. Getting kick out of school? If their family behind them, they are even prouder. Especially nowadays with all the talk things going on at school about bullying program, the conservatives already go on about the gay agenda. The norms and people’s views cannot just change overnight. And sometimes, one find it easier just to conform just a little to go through life a bit easier (is it a cop out? maybe but could be a wise decision).

      1. Not really….your position/ideas aren’t immutable. There was a time in the US where students brought all kinds of weapons to school in pockets and backpacks. I even saw guns in backpacks. Then the unspeakable happened; students killing other students in schools across the US with guns. There was of course, and outcry heard from shore to shore. Magically, there was a ZERO policy instituted with respect to weapons in high schools across the US.

        My point is; students that are bullied, often take their own lives or their schools yrs are a wretched hell. All the schools have to do is a ZERO policy towards bullying, just like they did with weapons. You say it isn’t easy, I say it’s unconscionable that it hasn’t been done already. Yeah wow, think of all the unhappy parents there will be because schools now across the US will become safe havens for learning, instead of skewed social battlefields. Imagine a significant reduction in teen suicide and students who actually finish HS, because they want to.

        And for all the parents who think yet another right has been taken away, their complaints will soon be a memory. Keep this pack mentality going, the ‘boys will be boys’ attitude and we’ll never advance as a society more than we are right now. I think we can do much better and much more…….

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