Help for heels

We wear some crazy things in the name of fashion. If you spend a moment of honest self-reflection and look deep into your soul, you will admit that you do it too. Perhaps it is a pair of parachute pants that you have tucked in a dark recess of your wardrobe or maybe it is a jacket with ridiculous shoulder pads or it could be a “onesy”; we have all fallen prey at some point to a fashion trend that seemed like a wonderful idea at the time but which in the cool light of time passing reveals itself to be an apparel atrocity. Probably the most enduring fashion nonsense however is high heels…not for their look but for what they do to your body. A new study though, has shed some light on why the penchant for high heels continues to flourish.

The study actually involved four separate experiments. In the first experiment a woman wearing either high heels or flat shoes on different occasions asked men to complete a survey on gender equality. The men were much more likely to agree to participate when she was wearing high heels.

In the second experiment both men and women were approached by women wearing either high heels or flat shoes to complete a survey on local food consumption habits. Women were not influenced by heel height but again, men were more likely to agree to the survey when the women wore high heels.

In a third experiment men and women were observed for their reaction when a woman, wearing either flat or high heels, deliberately dropped a glove in the street. No surprises, men were much more likely to help when the woman wore high heels but women were not influenced by heel height.

In a final experiment the researchers observed behaviour in a bar and found that men were quicker to approach a woman when she wore high heels than when she wore flat shoes.

The researchers think this might be happening because men associate women who wear high heels with sexual intent largely because that is the way women in high heels are portrayed in the media, especially in advertising. It might also be that a woman’s gait, the way she walks, changes when she wears high heels making her more attractive to men.

Whatever the reason behind it, this research isn’t an encouragement to women to wear damaging high heels more often, but it is a direction for men to get their perceptual act together. It may also reveal the origin of the slightly archaic phrase, “he’s a heel” but at least it does show that on some occasions a man can be heel-pful.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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