Why Wear High Heels?

Why Women Wear High Heels?

Because you don’t have to be rich
to wear high heels
you can be very poor
you can also be fat
or skinny or just a medium size

Poetry by Daisy Cubias who is apparently a Latina in Wisconsin.

Some think of heels as a modern version of Cinderella’s glass slippers. They give the wearer instant height and maybe even confidence. Others simply think high heels add elegance to any outfit.

from Asia One

High heels belong to the traditional feminine realm but do not subordinate. They instead radiate dominance… a woman’s dominance. Patricia Field, a Sex and the City stylist used stilettos to “symbolize the characters’ sexual power, as well as their independence.” (InStyle Magazine, 346)

Much of this power comes not only from the physical aspects such as height, posture and body inflections, but also from raw sex appeal….“It’s hard not to be sexy in a pair of high heels.” (Gamman, 98)

The high heel is the “zenith of the very feminine look,” (Kaite, 96) and its contribution to the construction of feminine identity is blatant.

…. “They taper the toes. They arch the instep. They lift the calves. They tilt the fanny and bow the back and oil the hips and sashay the gait…. They make the foot look shorter and more precious and yet add the formidableness of extra height.” (Friday, 463) They create the illusion of longer and more defined legs, more pronounced and curved breasts, and a rounder butt. High heels emphasize all the aspects that are considered to belong to the realm of women’s physically sexual attributes.

The alluring eroticism of women in high heels is recognized and even feared. In the United States’ earlier history, “The Massachusetts colony passed a law: ‘All women, whether virgins, maidens or widows, who…seduce or betray into matrimony any of His Majesty’s male subjects by virtue of…high heel shoes, shall incur the penalty of the law now enforced against witchcraft.'” (Benstock & Ferriss, 10)

“The high heel is a weapon…and also a phallic symbol. And at the same time that it cripples a woman, it makes her seem powerful. In heels, the woman can be evilly subdued – she can’t run very fast, she’s off balance, her feet probably hurt – but she’s also taller, wearing a spiked thing that could be driven into a man’s body: It’s called a stiletto after all.”

With such meaning infused in every step a woman can take, it is no wonder that the shoe has become an object of fixation, obsession and love….[T]here is a “…satisfaction we take in having purchased a pair of shoes that ‘is us,’ that represents us…

The fashionable dress of the Western world is one means whereby an always fragmentary self is glued together into a semblance of unified identity. Shoes serve as markers of gender, class, race, ethnicity, and even sexuality.” (Ferriss & Benstock, 4)

“The initial association between rank, wealth, and certain styles and fabrics is made: silk and the high heel are for the leisured classes, the bourgeois classes.” (Kaite, 93) From Catherine de Medicis and the ladies of the French court to Manolo Blahnik’s “limousine shoes,” high heels proclaim wealth and status.

On the other hand, ” ‘Sensible shoes’- from moccasins to work boots- identify the wearer as a member of the laboring classes, feet planted firmly on the ground.” (Benstock & Ferriss) In sensible shoes one can plow a field, pave a road or simply walk as a means of transportation. In heels one is clearly going “somewhere” in both the literal and metaphorical sense.

“Women may ‘wear’ slippers, ‘put on’ sneakers and ‘slip into’ loafers, but they ‘dress’ in high heels.” (O’Keefe, 72)

The high heel tapers the toes and arches the foot giving the appearance not only of eroticized curled toes but also the illusion of being small and delicate. … In wearing high heels women can choose to empower themselves – yourselves – ourselves – myself and own the power surrounding these dangerous, sexual, authoritative, proactive gendered objects- high heels.

from a paper at Bryn Mawr University

And they plain just make you look sexy.

The general rule is that sexy shoes reveal as much of the foot as they hide from view. The perfect shoe frames the foot, like a frame on a painting, and so is effectively displaying it for all to see as well as protecting the foot from the perils of walking or dancing.

from Pink Fridge

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