MISOGYNY – Misogyny? High heels and choices

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Salon.com has an article up that explores reasons besides added height as possible explanations as to why women wear high heels. High heels have to rank with corsets and neckties as extremes of stupid, uncomfortable clothing.

It turns out though maybe however stupid high heels may be, they may be stupid ina very effectual way. It turns out:

“High heels may exaggerate the sex-specific aspects of the female walk,…”

High heels seem to make women more attractive. And why would that be?

“Why? The researchers report that, while wearing high-heeled shoes, the women “walked in a fashion more characteristic of female gait.” Specifically, “walkers in high heels took smaller, more frequent steps,”

Foot binding, in other words. Va-va-voom /s.

“…and this reduction in the length of their stride was accompanied by “increased rotation and tilt of the hips.”

Translation: It makes their cheeks flip around more. Why not just wear a pom-pom bunny tail?

The article sums up:

“Morris and his colleagues conclude that a woman walking in high heels is a “supernormal stimulus” — that is, an enhanced version of a stimulus found in nature. Previous research has suggested junk food can be seen the same way, in that it stimulates our natural craving for sugar, salt and fats by offering them in exaggerated concentrations.”

The sexual equivalent of high-fructose corn syrup. Wionderful.

Thanks, I’ll stick with normal stimulus – a three-day stubble.

“So to sum up: High heels have a lot in common with Ho Hos.”

Oh no they didn’t. Cheap, opportunistic use of a pun.

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Jim Doyle

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="3007 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=2475">41 comments</span>

  • Well the next question would be…………..like taller men, do they make more money and have more children because of those nasty, nice looking heels?
    🙂

  • The thing that high heels remind me of most is the ancient Roman toga, a spectacularly impractical garment that was worn by aristocrats and designed to say “I am far too important to need to be able to move freely, I have people to do that for me”.

  • Ginkgo,

    It ain’t the cheeks. Its the hips. Specifically, the hips swinging is a product of their width (with respect to knee separation), which is a requirement for/enabler of birthing a baby with a big-ass head (or is that big ass-head?). Thus, straight men unconsciously look for signs of swinging hips in the female gate, as it indicates fertility.

  • “And frankly, to heels I say, hell yeah (in certain circumstances).”

    Drag shows, and that’s about it. And they make women look like drag queens.

    Patrick, that’s an apt comparison and there are lots of other. Most court costumes emphasize the same thing. Mandarin fingernails had the same purpose.

  • @Patrick

    Im thinking the toga is pretty dam practical if you need some quick access or something. 😉

  • You think heels are impractical footwear? Look at the curled and slashed shoes worn by 14th century European nobles. They were so bad they needed cables attached at the knees for stabilization and made it almost impossible to walk normally. Social reformers spent more than a hundred years complaining about the things as the ultimate symbols of useless extravagance.

  • Gingko: Why not just wear a pom-pom bunny tail?

    You get the prize for that one, Gingko. (ROFL)

    Patrick: The thing that high heels remind me of most is the ancient Roman toga, a spectacularly impractical garment that was worn by aristocrats and designed to say “I am far too important to need to be able to move freely, I have people to do that for me”.

    YOU TOO PATRICK! Second prize to the bunny tail. LOLOLOL

    I simply can’t wear them, so I am loving the thread. Maybe for a few minutes, like, for some entertainment purposes (giggle) but I wouldn’t wear them OUT anywhere. That would be dangerous! LOL

    When you get older, you lose the collagen/fat on the bottoms of your feet, and those shoes hurt like hell. NOT TO WORRY, the older Beverly Hills gals are getting (are you ready for this?) surgical implants in their feet, so they can wear the shoes: http://www.beverlyhillsfootsurgery.com/fat-pad-augmentation/

    Actually, that DOES make me think of foot binding. Gross!

  • Equilibrium: And frankly, to heels I say, hell yeah (in certain circumstances).

    But you can wear those “circumstances shoes” in the safety and comfort of home, Equilibrium! 🙂 I think they should be relegated to lingerie level, you know? Fetish wear is fine, but not for real life.

    I was coming out of an office building about a month ago, when one of the girls wearing those really high stilts-type high heels, fell right on her face, BAM. They had to call the EMS. Her ankle was swelling up by the minute. Argh.

    Hoping the fad passes quickly, but realistically I don’t see it happening. 🙁

  • Right Daisy, certain circumstances being when you want to display to the world that you are vulnerable and in need of protection, and yet are extremely fertile, or when you are in the pre-game of sexyfuntimes. FWIW, I don’t think I could wear them because I don’t think they can hold me. I’ve tried walking in them before, and they didn’t seem that bad, but that was only a few feet.

  • Ginkgo,

    as a straight man, I’ve always thought I could pull off a better “woman” than a lot of women. I love that drag is a parody of femininity. I think it might share some of the mentality of MGTOW. You know, where drag says, “Ladies, we love you, but let us highlight the ways in which you/your proscribed roles are kinda dumb with satire/parody” vs. MGTOW “Your proscribed roles are dumb, and I want no part in it”.

  • “Fetish wear is fine, but not for real life. ”

    That almost exactly describes my attitude about redheads, (just kidding!) although here in western Washington red hair and that skin are almost adaptive.

  • I’ll take this kind of finding with a grain of salt. Heels were fashionable for high-class men at one point. Ancient Egyptian butchers would wear them to keep their feet from getting soaked in blood. The original high heels were said to have been worn by cavalry soldiers used to wear them to keep their feet in stirrups. I’m sure evolutionary explanations could be given for all of those as well.

  • Well… now that I’ve read it I think I’ll actually disregard it. Sorry to rain on the parade and everything but… there’s just too much wrong with their methods.

    Guys in my platoon would be able to tell each other apart by just by the gait. I’m talking if you saw 10 dark outlines walking far ahead of you in the dark, you’d be able to guess with near certainty if you knew one of them just by their walk. It’s not surprising at all that people associate a heeled gait with a female gait – that’s just plain old association. Everyone’s used to the way women look like walking around in heels and can recognize it. So this is just a plain old conflation of cause and effect.

    All they really found that we can believe in is that both men and women were said to be more attractive with a heeled gait. Women found the “heeled condition” more attractive.

    What really ticks me off about these studies is how continually gynocentric they are, to the detriment of science. Everyone wants to find out about what makes women tick, what makes women attractive. They ran one group where the specimens were all known to be women, then another group where they were tried to see if men and women could be confused for one another based on gait. But they did not run a control group, which would have been a group of all men. If, knowing they were looking at men but not knowing that some were wearing heels, men and women still found the heeled gait more attractive – well then it would have blown their hypothesis out of the water. Instead, we could have had a new hypothesis about men’s limited clothing options and lowered social status. No control group = failure of science.

  • @dungone

    How was your new year? Im thinking you need a group hug, afterall, it is just fucking high heels. But then again, I may be biased because I like this kind of science. 😉

  • I cannot stand to see someone wearing heels… I just do not like them, what they do, where they hurt, or what they represent. They are a huge turn-off to this lesbian. (One exception being this girl I knew whose orthopedist said her skeleton was kind of weirdly put together and she should wear one-inch wedges for stability… those looked good, but probably because they normalized the gait.)

  • Personally I think they look awful, but any woman I’ve asked about them wore them for the height advantage. Apart from being a few inches higher, being taller slims you a bit too. Not worth the price imho.

  • Wait… what era of Roman toga are you guys talking about? Some of the earlier iterations weren’t at all bad, but they got pretty ridiculous as time wore on.

    There are several types of Japanese shoe that are for all practical purposes stilts, and require practice and sometimes training to walk in at all, but those were developed to deal with terrain and are unique in this discussion in that they would have been worn by lower classes and itinerant monks, never by the nobility.

  • Hiding, I’ve seen old Buddhist paintings with those shoes… I had no idea what they were for.

    I learn cool stuff here. 🙂

  • High heels seem to be a very strong characteristic associated with women even though they’re just fashion. Great example at the beginning of the movie “The Abyss”, where one soldier after the other dismounts from a helicopter and the camera zooms in so you only see their shoes. When a civilian woman comes next, it’s like a gender shock.
    That reminds me of a similar scene in one of the old James Bond movies but with long hair instead of heels. I think it was “The spy who loved me”. Nobody recognizes her as a woman until she takes off her helmet. Then it’s like WTF written on all the faces.
    Interestingly, both examples that I came up with placed femininity in a military environment. Bet there are a few books one could write about that.

  • I have a young, gorgeous, very tall female friend – she’s 6’2″ barefoot – and she loves to wear high heels and in the summer, very little else other than her tattoos. I’ve employed her several times as a security guard at my business for special events, and she always does a fantastic job.

    Oh, and because of those heels, in the last 6 months she has broken a leg and a collarbone in separate falls.

    But damn, she looks great.

  • “There are several types of Japanese shoe that are for all practical purposes stilts, and require practice and sometimes training to walk in at all, but those were developed to deal with terrain and are unique in this discussion in that they would have been worn by lower classes and itinerant monks, never by the nobility.”

    You mean this?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geta_%28footwear%29

  • “Nobody recognizes her as a woman until she takes off her helmet.”

    Interestingly, the pilot episode of Get Smart, when it was still in black and white, made fun of that idea. Max meets agent 99 at the beginning of the show. They start working on a case and are flirting with each other, and toward the end, she takes off her hat and reveals her hair, and he is like “oh…you’re a girl!”

  • Schala:

    Yes, but not the normal geta that anybody might wear, the really tall ones, especially the one-toothed geta, are pretty much impossible to wear without practice. I’ve heard that some are for muddy dirt streets and some are for rocky terrain, but I’ve never seen anyone wear them in conditions like that (those styles are really more of an historical curiosity these days). The rounded ones that geisha wear, with the solid block instead of teeth, look somewhat easier to wear, although they appear to be balanced at the heel, which is odd (most other styles of geta I’ve seen don’t have anything but empty space back there). Unlike high-heels, geta don’t hurt you as long you keep your balance (as hard as that can be with some of them) because the platform the foot rests on is always essentially flat.

  • I only wore high heels ones, as one of my field attempts in becoming a real woman(ore what I was told is real woman). After several near death experiences,and my feet looking like something ran over them.I decided to never do it again.

  • “Yes, but not the normal geta that anybody might wear, the really tall ones, especially the one-toothed geta, are pretty much impossible to wear without practice. ”

    I’ve seen the one-toothed ones in anime and manga.

    In Princess Mononoke, I think the old bald monk even fights wearing them (in the only scene he fights in, against the samurais, helping the hero).

    The one-toothed ones are in Ranma ½ on many occasions, but the noticeable ones are when the main character has to wear lead-chains yukata and lead getas (to go in quick sand).

  • Schala:

    Precisely. You mainly see them in period pieces these days (Ranma 1/2 is set contemporaneous to its writing, but it features many outdated instruments and styles of dress to evoke the imagery of classical martial arts). You’re unlikely to see geta like that in common use now, mostly because the terrain which once necessitated them is no longer part of many people’s lives. The itinerant monk in Mononoke Hime is indeed a good example of the sort of person who would have worn that type of shoe (in contrast with the boots and tied straw sandals of the warrior class in that film).

  • @TitForTat

    Frankly, to me, they feel like a display stand. I will take comfortable over striking any day… frankly, If I’m doing wardrobe, I want the woman of my dreams to have bloodshot eyes, ruffled hair, a rumpled blouse, and scotch breath… but really, only if she was drinking last night and didn’t iron her shirt or comb her hair. If she puts effort into that look, it’s also a turnoff… frankly, I dislike mandatory presentation generally, and the more restrictive the worse.

  • Perhaps it’s time to deal with the pesky idea of “objectification” in general. This concept of “objectification” just doesn’t fit neatly into the current puzzle of gender-politics.

    One thing that confounded me during a discussion was the idea of going after the “Johns” and not the prostitutes that were selling sex. It’s the “no buyers, no sellers/ no sellers no buyers” argument that I’m sure we’ve all had at some point. After deviating away from it we ended up at a new discussion which my partner calls “fishing”. ‘Fishing’ is what some ‘attractive’ women on facebook do; they post self taken photographs using a cell phone wearing tight clothing or revealing clothes that accentuate their bodies specifically the T&A, flatness of the stomach and tone of the muscles. It’s vanity in all its uncontained glory. This picture is usually taken in a BATHROOM where a 5ft mirror is located.

    I asked her why women tend to be more vocal when it comes to criticisms of men who admire these ‘raunchy’ photos and why the breath-taking silence towards the women who take them. She sort of explained that “it’s the path of least resistance”. It’s “easy to criticize men for it because women will be supported by both men and women when it comes to scrutiny, however men will be less likely to have support”. Women are supposed to show solidarity and keep the ruse of ‘freedom of choice’ in order to not rock that boat, however it is open season on the choices of men because it is again, the path of least resistance”.

    How are males supposed to navigate safely through such a maze? Which brings us back to this current topic. How can we safely have an opinion on high heels when you get people saying how uncomfortable they are. Us liking them can be then turned into an argument for us to ‘hurt’ women or make them live up to “impossible” standards (whatever the flying fuck that means).

  • @Ogun, they’re not going after any old “buyers,” they’re just going after the bargain hunters. The intention is actually to raise a price which is already too high.

  • Hiding,
    “There are several types of Japanese shoe that are for all practical purposes stilts, and require practice and sometimes training to walk in at all, but those were developed to deal with terrain and are unique in this discussion in that they would have been worn by lower classes and itinerant monks, never by the nobility.”

    That makes sense. The main purpose of shoes like that is to keep you out of the mud. They used to have that kind of thing in Europe too. Rich people would not need them; they would have had people to carry them over all that.

    Valerie nails it in one sentence!
    “Frankly, to me, they feel like a display stand.”

  • “I’ll take this kind of finding with a grain of salt.”

    “Heels were fashionable for high-class men at one point.”

    Yes and for a related reason. High heels are like Mandarin finger nails – they are dysfunctional, and that can signal either an alluring form of toxic femininity (Yes, it’s degrading, but at least the money is good, and better if you can get legal guarantees enacted, such as alimony laws.) or of high status. That’s why aristos wore them, and more extreme footwear of the kind Hiding refers to.

    “Guys in my platoon would be able to tell each other apart by just by the gait.”

    Yes, humans can do that kind of thing too.

    “Women found the “heeled condition” more attractive.
    What really ticks me off about these studies is how continually gynocentric they are, to the detriment of science.”

    Yes that is gynocentric, but if you are trying to find out why women do something, why would you ask men about it? Women wearing high heels says nothing directly about how attractive they actually are, just how attractive women believe they make them.

  • Women wearing high heels says nothing directly about how attractive they actually are, just how attractive women believe they make them.

    The gist of the study wasn’t that women believe themselves to be attractive in heels, but that they literally are more attractive. Something about the motion in the ocean of the pear in a man’s eye, lol…

    Yes that is gynocentric, but if you are trying to find out why women do something, why would you ask men about it?

    It’s called a double blind test. They’re jumping right from “exaggerated hip motion” to “subconscious signs of female fertility,” a theory which would be blown right out of the water if women found the same exact thing more attractive in men, knowing them to be men but not knowing they were wearing heels. This was a low hanging fruit (no pun intended) that they should have looked at. There are other theories that might sufficiently describe the results they saw – for instance, hurdles (the type of running) or the butterfly (type of swimming) are tests of fitness that both men and women find attractive because they showcase power and energy rather than pure efficiency. An elegant but inefficient gait might work on that principal and just as easily describe why women wear heels. It doesn’t matter… point is they didn’t do their homework on this one.

  • One of the comments at Salon had a great observation – that heel-striking is not natural for humans unless walking on extremely soft surfaces. If you’ve ever tried barefoot running, you probably experienced this or else you suffered a foot injury. Normal cushioned shoes promote the heel-striking gait, whereas a natural barefoot gait is closer to what you get wearing heels.

  • “The gist of the study wasn’t that women believe themselves to be attractive in heels, but that they literally are more attractive. ”

    Well that’s where the study fails. I thought that’s what you were saying.

    “Yes that is gynocentric, but if you are trying to find out why women do something, why would you ask men about it?

    It’s called a double blind test.”

    Men’s answers still won’t tell you what the woemn are thinking, if in fact that’s what you are investigating. That would be a diffenrent study though.

    Back to this point, of women being asked about thier actual attractiveness – this is the gynocentrism at its core. It’s one more example of women presuming to speak for men. Men are attracted to women in heels because these women say so.

    That JSS about enhanced fertility is the next necessary step.

  • I think maybe we need to clarify a couple of things. Their experiment involved both male and female observers. They had one version where only women’s gait was shown and another version where both men’s and women’s gaits were shown – to both men and women. The reason this was not a proper double-blind study is because they did not have control groups that could account for biases in the observers. The observers had a reasonable expectation that the figures they were looking at were female at all times. Because of that failure, we don’t know whether the observers thought that someone was a woman because they walked like a woman they’ve seen walking in heels in real life, or because it actually had something to do with female anatomy.

  • “The observers had a reasonable expectation that the figures they were looking at were female at all times.”

    Yet another flaw.

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