‘She cuts you once, she cuts you twice

But still you believe

The wound so fresh you can taste the blood

But you don't have strength to leave

You have been bought, you've been sold

You've been locked outside the door

But you stand there pleading

With your insides bleeding…'

(The stiletto lyric by Billy Joel)

If you live in stilettos, time will decide whether you experience a diva-like sartorial high or cry with lower back pain. The choice is entirely yours. Empowering or enslaving, we don't know, but we all love our stilettos. In fact, stilettos are considered to be the ultimate in the fashion industry.

The debate is raging whether to slip them on or not. “I own a six-inch-high golden stiletto,” says journalist Ananyha Roy. “My friends call it the killer heels and the sound that it makes is enough to turn heads. Stilettos are in fact my ultimate style quotient and, once I slip into them, in a jiffy I get transformed from working mother of a six-year-old to a goddess lifestyle journalist.”

Gargi Raychakravarty says, “I think anything that forces me to maintain an image is enslaving, and empowerment is about inner self, and the outer self can maximum support it. It is so scary to see pregnant women flaunting stilettos.”

In spite of all the health hazards, stilettos carry an unmatched glamour. Footwear designer Swati Modo says, “The word glamour is connected with stiletto. In fact the garment value increases with a stiletto.” Many employers in the retail industry insist on women employees wearing high-heeled shoes as part of their dress code.

Pallavi Desai, fashion stylist with a leading lifestyle magazine, says, “There are a lot of expectations on women. We have to look attractive and sexy. We have to wear heels even when we know that it can cause untold damage to our back and the calf muscle. Wearing high heels increases the pressure on the ball of the foot.”

To this, Swati Modo responds, “We all know that wearing extreme high heels is hazardous and that it should be replaced with sensible and comfortable shoes. A very slender heel is harmful for the calf muscles. So what we do when we are designing a six-inch heel is that we keep a platform in the front margin so that the person wearing it is comfortable. I make specially customized shoes with hidden platform inside the shoes.”

There are those who have worn heels for such a long time that they cannot do without them. They start leaping into taxis and running up and down the stairs in their stilettos. Ruchi Garg Kalra, CEO and founder of RGK D'zines, says, “I know exactly what a lower back pain is like. So I feel platform heels in spite of being chunky are so much better.”

A stiletto does give you the initial high, but but you may end up with pain, sprains, fractures or even deformities. Dr. Joy Chatterji says, “I greatly appreciate the elegance and unmatched grace brought in by stilettos. In fact, it is a beautiful, pleasing sight for one's eyes. However, in the long run I suppose well-fitting sneakers would be what your legs and feet would die for.”