15 April 2018

Heels

Foot binding happened in China for a thousand years - right up to the start of the twentieth century. Apparently, small arched feet were considered beautiful but the practice caused much pain and ultimately - disability. Foot binding was only practised on females from certain social strata. Thank heavens it has been resigned to history.

When it comes to footwear, my prime interest is comfort. I would never for a moment think of wearing high heels as they must surely be incredibly uncomfortable. And yet, here in the western world many women choose to wear outlandish high heels when they have evenings out and some even wear them for work. There is a shared sense that they are stylish and feminine. Some of the heels we see today are very high, narrow and sharp.

Linked with this, hundreds of women each year find themselves in hospital accident and emergency rooms with sprains, broken bones and dislocations  attributed directly to the wearing of high heels. Meanwhile there are still image-conscious businesses that insist that female reception staff and office workers wear high heels as part of their corporate "uniform".

I would be interested to hear what you think about high heels. My view is that they are a modern day echo of Chinese foot binding and that they are a cultural phenomenon in which mostly young women find themselves unconsciously trapped. Arguably, they are a continuing emblem of the subjugation of women and I applaud all women who refuse to subscribe to this ludicrous footwear fashion.

29 comments:

  1. I was never able to walk in heels and it was a terrible disappointment. If I had been able to wear them I probably would have hated them but as it is, I will never know.
    I must say I see a lot of young women in stratospheric heels, which are supposed to be sexy but it really is not at all when they can barely walk

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    1. "Stratospheric heels" - that's a good way of describing some of the extreme high heels we see in these modern times.

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  2. When I was younger, much younger than I am now, I loved wearing high heels; and always wore them when the situation called for them. Naturally, I didn't wear them on casual occasions, like our weekends spent on the beach and surfing in the ocean. But I always wore them when going out to dances and/or parties etc., as well, to work. I had many pairs of high heels of many colours.

    I wore them from when I first started working in a legal office; and then through my 14 years working within the fashion industry.

    Naturally, when working in the hospitality industry...on the cooking side of things, I didn't wear high heels in the kitchen! That would've been slightly overboard...and dangerous.

    But, yes...I wore high heels...and loved them. I think they make a woman's legs look lovely.

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    1. Did you ever have pain, injury or discomfort caused by your high heels? And why don't you wear them these days?

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    2. No, I didn't, Yorkie. I don't wear high heels these days because I am now 73 years old. It's as simple as that...and my social life these days isn't as it once was...by choice.

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    3. My cross-examination is complete even though I was not cross!

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  3. I used to wear heels when younger. Now I'm just grateful to find any shoes that I can get my left foot in as I have a fused big toe joint. I take a size 8 bordering on a 9 so finding shoes is a nightmare.
    I don't think high heels do ones feet any good but a small heel does offer a bit of support, I think.

    I read a book called "wild swans" that describes the foot binding of female babies. Thank goodness it's not practiced these days.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your fused big toe Christina. I read "Wild Swans" too though I must confess that I didn't finish it - not because I wan't enjoying it - just that other things got in the way. That's my excuse anyway.

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  4. I wore high heels in the 70s because bell-bottom jeans were in and they covered the high heels. I looked very tall. That's how I met my tall husband ;)
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Perhaps that is the reason for high heels Maria - to trick tall men into marriage! When the heels are removed after the wedding ceremony the bridegroom discovers he has married a midget!

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    2. It doesn't matter much when you are lying down!

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  5. I'm fascinated and repulsed by the history of footbinding and have read a lot about it. What's really amazing to me is how it lasted well into the 20th century. I think the Communists actually put an end to it, finally.

    As for high heels...I've never worn them and never will. A 1 inch heel is about my limit, and those are for special occasions only. I have foot issues (plantar fasciitis) from time to time, plus my balance isn't great. Not to mention how damn silly very high heels look...to me, at least. No thanks!

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    1. Previously, I thought that Plantar Fasciitis was an indie band from the backwoods of North Carolina. Now I know better. I agree with you that those very high heels look ridiculous.

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  6. As in so many things, YP, I think there is a middle ground. To me shoes like the one you have shown are both unattractive and unhealthy. However many shoes (both men's and women's) are worn for fashion or to make a statement rather than sensible comfort. 'Twas ever thus and 'twill always be thus.

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    1. You are like the Henry Kissinger of the blogosphere Graham!

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  7. Shoes are my nemesis. Between weak arches and off-kilter structure in one foot, I find it hard to get a comfortable sneaker, let alone an attractive shoe for dressing up. I do like the look of a reasonable heel (not the outrageous ones) and wish I could wear them - as Lee says, they do change the leg line. Some of us could use that help!

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    1. Okay. But why is it that 99.9% of all high heels are worn by women?

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    2. I'm going to assume that was a rhetorical question, given our patriarchal society!

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  8. I've never been one for high heels although I admit I could use them to get items out of my cabinets! I've always been short and in recent years have lost a full inch so maybe I should consider heels. But no, I do like comfort so no heels in the past or present for me. They seem to be torture devices for women in my opinion!

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    1. You get my vote Bonnie! You are welcome in The Common Sense Club.

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  9. I agree with you on the high heels. I can not see why anyone would subject themselves to a number of risks health wise.

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    1. 99.9% of men never wear high heels so why do so many women do it?

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  10. I don't wear heels, especially ones like those. I have to wear steel toed boots to work and for many years have been comfortable in boots. I had a neighbor, when I lived in Florida, that had crossed toes because of the shoes that she wore in her earlier years. I just couldn't imagine the pain.

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    1. A woman in steel toed boots>? Now in my way of thinking that is much sexier than red stilettos! Do you also wear a hard hat and a hi-vis safety jacket? The stuff of fantasy!

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  11. Shoes, a topic many women can wax lyrical about! Historically, in Europe at least, it was men who wore them first as a fashion thing rather than just an elevation about the rubbish in the street. 1970s platforms were probably their last outing for the gents. Chopines in the Turkish harems were another variant on the footbinding theme but without the physical effects. Chinese footbinding is a baffling subject - definitely falls into the bizarre taste camp. Nothing attractive as far as I can see.

    I think there are some hideous high-heeled shoes out there now and I can be quick to (silently) judge the footwear choices of some women. A particular curiosity is watching some women who cannot walk in them and either walk like a Thunderbird or like they're a cowboy. Don't like too much toe on display, especially when toes are curled into talons gripping like crazy. Don't like too much hardware as I think it looks trashy, and don't like the sort of shoes that transvestite showgirls might prefer.

    Being tall, I've never had call for serious high heels. As it is I am a couple of inches taller than Mr P with the few pairs of heels I like to wear from time to time. Never been a stiletto heel person, very hard to walk in, especially on uneven ground. Quite like to wear wedges and chunky heels, but again never anything too high, as stability is more likely to be ensured. Still, I'd guess I'm at least 90% of the time in flat shoes and only wear the heels for dressing up. As an infrequent wearer, I usually will have cramped feet and/or calves in bed later the same night.

    I can, however, put my hand up for a Victim of Fashion episode!! Heels only about an inch high, what we ladies call kitten heels, plus wide-leg 1930s trousers, plus a staircase, plus momentary distraction equals a stumble down said staircase (in a Department Store in front of the doorman holding the door open for me) plus 2 fractured bones in foot and 7 weeks in a moon boot. Lesson: kitten heels and wide-legged trousers are incompatible.

    Possibly too much information but you did ask!

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    1. I appreciated your input Pipistrello. It is as if you were bursting to let your high heel reflections out. Thank you. I hope that that traumatic fall in the department store has not left you with ongoing aches and pains in the affected foot.

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    2. Haha. No, all good, although it did take a good couple of years before I could feel confident to get up off terra firma again. I just thought this was a curious topic for a fellow, but was happy to give you my insights. Don't ask, don't get!

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  12. Jeans, tank top, button up shirt and either 'tenny runners' or rubber boots, depending on what I'm up to. Why bother with anything uncomfortable, I'd like to know?!

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