Monday, December 30, 2013

Stop Wearing High Heel Shoes in 2014

If I could recommend one New Year's Resolution for all women in 2014, it would be to end the torturous act of wearing high-heeled shoes. My students have long known - and laughed about - this rant of mine. In fact, I've been known to argue that women will truly take over the world once they shave their heads, throw away their make-up, and ditch the high heels. My example to students is any high school dance (Homecoming, Prom, etc) or any formal party (such as New Year's Eve balls). Inevitably, we will see women walking around and dancing in stocking feet, probably holding their shoes in their hands. Why? "Because they hurt my feet." The obvious question is why the women bought them in the first place. The answer, of course, is "because they are so cute."

Baffled, I am.

The sad reality is that "High Heels May Look Good, But They Are Killing Your [Health]." There is so much research and medical history in opposition to the wearing of high heeled shoes, and they are certainly a form of clothing that objectifies and even subjugates women. The damage done by these implements of high fashion is endless.

Therefore, lots of bad things happen. Shall we count the ways? Among the more common problems podiatrists say they see in women are calluses and, more painfully, corns, hard nuggets of keratin buildup caused by pressure on the skin. With high heels, corns develop up under the balls of the foot where the weight of your body presses down, and they feel like small rocks underfoot when you walk.  Liebow also sees capsulitis, a painful inflammation of the joints where the toes attach to the foot, and neuromas, or pinched nerves, where pointy high heels squeeze the toes. And when the heel is frequently in a high-heel shoe, it can cause the Achilles tendon (which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone) to tighten. When you kick off your shoes and the heel comes down to the floor at the end of the day, the extra stretching of the tendon can lead to a condition called Achilles tendinitis. Wearing high heels can also cause inflammation of the connective tissue at the bottom of the foot, the plantar fascia. That can result in severe heel pain and the need for aggressive treatments such as oral anti-inflammatories, oral steroids, cortisone injections, walking boots and crutches.

(Giuseppe Aresu, The Associated Press)

And, the history of high heels doesn't bode well for women's rights. High heels were, no doubt, invented by a man, and they were designed to promote women's feet as objects of desire. I know, I know, that sounds creepy. But is it not true? Granted, high heels were at one time also worn by men.  And the boost in stature is no doubt grounded in insecurity about height. But the male gender must be in some ways moving past that, as no contemporary man would subject himself to such torture, as pictured above - cowboy boots notwithstanding, which I've never worn but heard great things about.  In reality, no man would buy shoes that he then has to carry around because they hurt his feet. And, I've always understood that men who wore them for professional purposes suffered, too. If I'm not mistaken, rock star Prince has undergone hip replacement surgery which was necessitated by years of performing in high heeled boots. So, that seems reason enough to ditch the heels.

Now, we may have to talk about the necktie.

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