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Can Kristen Stewart's red carpet heels moment be considered a sign of protest genuine enough for us to be excited about?

In 2016, Julia Roberts climbed the stairs barefoot and today it was Kristen Stewart. We wonder why protests continue year after year but results are nowhere to be seen
UPDATED FEB 19, 2020
Kristen Stewart (Source: Getty Images)
Kristen Stewart (Source: Getty Images)

If you've been checking your social media account post-Cannes Red Carpet moments, you pretty much know it by now how Kristen Stewart made headlines by walking down the exclusive carpet barefoot.

So what exactly happened was that the actress turned up to the event as the competition jury member to the premiere of Spike Lee’s 'BlacKkKlansman,' wearing a bejeweled long-sleeve mini dress and a pair of Louboutin spike heels. When it began to drizzle at the French Riveria, the rebel actress did not think twice before ditching her stilettos and walking the stairs barefoot. 

Kristen Stewart removes her heels on the Red Carpet(Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

We do not know if she did that on purpose to make a political statement and protest against the only-heels dress code of Cannes or if she did that only to avoid slipping on the red carpet.

For many, the act might have reminded them of 2016, when many A-list actresses slipped off their shoes to protest against the sexist dress code of the festival. In 2015, several women wearing flats were turned away from screenings because they didn't have heels on — including a producer with a foot injury who couldn't get into the Carol premiere.

Julia Roberts walks barefoot (Getty Images)

Following this, a vocal protest was witnessed in 2016 Cannes red carpet where leading ladies including Julia Roberts walked the red carpet barefoot in her off-the-shoulder Armani Prive dress. However, she did not credit the move to be anything political.  When asked why she did it, she said, “A lot was happening from my ankles up. Let’s not forget all that. A lot of time and effort went into ankles up." Even Susan Sarandon donned flats on the 2016 Cannes red carpet.

This year, the festival has already made political statements with 82 women climbing the stairs together symbolizing gender equality in the film industry, led by none other than the president of this year's Cannes Film Festival jury, Cate Blanchett. So Kristen Stewart, if attempting to revive the protest against the strict dress code of the event, isn't alone in the revival movement.

Cate Blanchett (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Kering)

These moves in the anticipated film festival of the year have garnered the attention of being iconic, historic and legendary, but many are questioning if the move is only a protest for the sake of protest with no actual follow-up.

Not much has changed in Cannes since the 2016 protest since the Cannes Film Festival director, Thierry Frémaux, cleared the air by responding to the backlash via Twitter in 2015, writing, “For the steps (red carpet), nothing has changed: Smoking (tuxedo), black tie. No mention of heels.” Instead, citing, the issue was with the hosts and hostesses at the door, over-policing outfits.

If this year's protests are genuine then hopefully we will see the change reflect in the next Cannes film festival, if not, there's only more room for a protest without an actual purpose feeding the paparazzi and we would hate to see that.