Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Victory for Science!

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have determined that one of the appeals of women wearing high-heeled shoes is that the shoes produce a walk which exaggerates the wearer's feminine attributes.

Of course, the first thing to wonder is just how someone gets a job like that. But putting that very important question aside, the article makes a couple of assumptions that I don't think are warranted. The writer suggests that, when asked why they wear high-heeled shoes, many women would respond that the shoes improve their appearance and make them feel more attractive, and he believes the root of that feeling is the increased height that the heels provide. I disagree. Although I am now a middle-aged guy who is far too grown-up for such things, I recall from younger days that, "Wow, those shoes make her look really tall" was not even in the top 10 things I or my fellow healthy young men might say when observing a woman wearing high heels.

The writer also seems to think that this research is somehow groundbreaking or new. But there is actually a great deal of published literature on the subject, including Young, A., Scott, B., and Young, M., "Girls Got Rhythm" (1979); Hooker, J.L., "Boom Boom" (1961); Tucker, T., "High-Heel Sneakers" (1963); Long, S. and Stevenson, W., "Devil With a Blue Dress On" (1964) (also Ryder, M. and Wheels, D., 1966); Troup, B. and Penniman, R., "The Girl Can't Help It" (1956) and many others.

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