September 26, 2012

So are they functional or stylistic?

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 1:57 pm

The high-heeled shoe: Yea or Nay: Prada Spring 2013 Shoes

The one thing you can say about the standard high-heeled shoe, in response to entirely reasonable criticisms that they’re painful, physically damaging and ultimately a little sexist, is that they’re aesthetically pleasing. The lines of the average pump, slingback, or peeptoe are lovely to look at, whether a human foot resides in them or not. We think that has a lot to do with why they’ve become a classic and why women’s footwear hasn’t really changed all that much in the last 50 years, barring the occasional beartrap shoe; that, and the idea that they somehow “improve” the shape of a woman’s leg and that straight men find them sexy.

I think the basic idea that the shape of the high heeled shoe hasn’t changed much in 50 years, though there are certainly some stylistic changes that have occurred — very long, pointy toes for example — which makes me think that there is a core functionality to the design that has, in a sense, ‘fixed’ the trait in the population.

They touch on some of it in the article, some of which I went into a bit earlier, mostly the old anthropological/evolutionary stuff about shaping various parts of the body to mimic sexual receptivity and/or youth. We may also be thinking along the same lines when he notes that the look of the thing is attractive even without a foot in it, although I disagreed somewhat by stating that I thought — in line with the orgasm “hypothesis” — that it shapes the foot itself in an aesthetically pleasing way, whether sexual or not.

Although I find most of those in the link either not technically high heels and generally butt-ugly. . . . .

(via Althouse)

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