In other words, they argue, high heels exaggerate the differences in the ways men and women walk, making the wearer appear more feminine. This stimulates “sexual arousal in males,” as well as increased attentiveness on the part of women who are scoping out potential competitors for male attention.
Holy Hormones Honey! – Sexual arousal is all about hormones… so the article is relevant. Once again – women risk their health for the pleasure of men. But on the other hand – it is so much fun to put on those heels and strut our stuff.
How Evolution Explains High-Heeled Shoes
New research suggests wearing heels forces women to walk in a way that exaggerates their femininity.
by Tom Jacobs
January 2, 2013
Fashions in dress come and go, but a peculiar one has stayed in style for many generations, and shows no sign of fading away. It’s the high-heeled shoe, which first became a fashion statement in 16th-century France, and has been a part of the modern woman’s wardrobe since the mid-19thcentury.
Ask a woman why she endures the awkwardness and discomfort, and she’ll probably respond, “They make me look, and feel, more attractive.”Newly published research suggests this perception is accurate, but perhaps not for the reason you’d expect.
It’s not the artificially increased height that turns heads. Rather, it’s how such footwear changes the mechanics of a woman’s gait.
“High heels may exaggerate the sex-specific aspects of the female walk,” a University of Portsmouth research team led by psychologist Paul Morrisreports in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. While noting that preference in footwear is based in part on culture norms, they argue the enduring popularity of high-heeled shoes suggest their fundamental appeal stems from a deeper impulse.
To test whether walking in high heels increases one’s femininity and attractiveness, Morris and his colleagues conducted two experiments using a point-light display. Participants (15 men and 15 women) viewed dotted outlines of 12 women as they walked for a total of four minutes apiece—two minutes in high-heeled shoes, and two minutes wearing flats.
They were then asked to rate how attractive they found the figures.
“For all walkers, the attractiveness score was higher in the heels condition than in the flat condition,” the researchers report. Both males and females judged the women wearing high heels to be more attractive than those who wore flat shoes.
In the second experiment, 120 participants (82 women and 38 men) watched the same dotted-outline footage and were asked to judge whether each of the models was male or female. (As noted earlier, all were, in fact, women.) While wearing flats, 28 percent of the women were incorrectly classified as men; among wearing heels, that number went down to 17 percent.