A Woman’s World: The horror of the high heel

‘You never know your true strength until you’ve encountered high heels’

After coming home from the summer ball with blistering and bleeding feet, I am both physically and emotionally pained by the fact that women feel inclined to wear such monstrosities. To the girls out there who say ‘but heels look good!’ while I’m limping away with a look of pure despair on my face, I’m pretty sure I look awful, so why did I not choose to flaunt my feet in flats?

Well, after doing my research, I traced the high heel back to the male species and apparently heels originate from male riding shoes. Christian Louboutin wasn’t the first to use red soles as a status symbol either. Louis XIV, King of France wore such heels to boost his height and only members of his court were able to wear red heels, a colour of wealth and status. During a shocking sexual revolution in the 1630s, what we know today as ‘boyfriend jeans’ or ‘boyfriend jumpers’ are not new things, for women had already started wearing men’s clothes in the 17th century, including the huge mistake of higher heels. The heel became a major style symbol in the 1800s, when pornographers had their models pose in them. This is probably where the alleged sexiness of the stiletto came from and obviously men went mad for the style. So I guess you could say that the heel became a sex symbol, regularly spotted on the feet of flawless pin-up girls during the world wars.

But it is here that my inner feminism emerges as heels seem to simply add to the way in which women are sexualised. Although for some women, particularly those of shorter stature, high heels give a sense of empowerment, heels exist primarily for one thing – sex appeal. Naturally forcing the wearers body to tilt, they emphasise our bums and boobs. Even the act of putting on a high heel is often regarded as erotic, although I highly doubt myself falling down the stairs in them has the same allure….

It is frustrating that women think they can only look good, be sexy and stand out in heels. I’d rather grow a few inches by backcombing my hair than by wearing a walking disaster on my feet. Moreover, if every girl around you wears heels, then the relative height distribution is unaffected. So if you were looking to be the belle of the ball in 15 inch, loony, but allegedly seductive soles, sorry love, but nobody noticed you.

It kills me when I see a woman strutting around the shops in heels or pushing a pram in them (you’ll think again when your baby is a toddler running riot at every opportunity). So apart from making us taller, giving us that slender posture and sexy sassiness, the devil sent them to kill us slowly, and I’m surprised we haven’t caught on, considering it became socially unacceptable for men to wear them a long time ago. After all, if heels were so great, men would still be in them.

Just to reinforce my hatred of heels, the wearing of them can cause changes in toe joints, arthritis, corns, bunions and damage to the knees….don’t high heels seem much less glamorous now? Yet, despite already knowing the possible health effects and the inevitable pain I will be in within an hour of wearing them, I still choose to wear heels to every formal and to certain ‘upmarket’ clubs. If every other girl is wearing heels, and I’m too much of a sheep to go in flats and when the length of ball dresses is clearly tailored to accommodate heels, my mediocre height of 5 foot 6 means I really have no choice.

I still think a possible horror film could be based on such a shoe. ‘The suicide of the stiletto or ‘the heel of hell’ seem appropriate titles. Having seen a girl’s heel literally fall off, sending her flying onto the floor, a heel getting stuck in a man hole and having been stabbed by a stiletto myself, there are many reasons why such shoes are referred to as ‘killer heels’.

So, to all those boys out there who question a woman’s decision to wear such wonders, or crack insults at the girl who left the party and returned in slippers, put on a pair yourself and sashay down the catwalk. My bet is that none of you make it to the end, (unless you’re the French trio that recently starred on Britain’s Got Talent). Because, and this is indisputable, you never know your true strength until you’ve danced all night in heels.

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