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What's The Real Story Behind Women Wearing High Heels?

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While guys are dealing with the present social attitude to also feel as free to wear high heels as women have come to experience, there was a period during the latter part of the 1700's and the early 1800's when heels over 2 inches high were not socially acceptable footwear for the western European religious cultures. This was due to the fact high heels were common among the items of apparel, if any, worn in the under-ground sex industry of the day to arouse and satisfy people's lust for such passions. As speculation, the idea that both men and women wore heels while participating is not that far out of play, since we know there are guys who enjoy wearing heels today, this scenario has even greater merit as a ring of truth. However, it wasn't until the wives / girlfriends became aware that their husbands lovers enjoyed looking at pictures of high heeled women and watching them perform on the burlesque stages, that each of these women figured it was necessary to do something to persuade their guys away from such activities. They started to wear more tailored and revealing attire that seem to be inspired by the clothes worn in brothels and burlesque shows. Then the fashion industry started adapting the attire of the under-ground into main-stream living and high heels were part of the package people felt they needed to keep their mate from going to those places of ill repute and looking at scantily clad to nude pictures. Influenced by these happenings and for the sake of their reputations, both men and women were more likely to be seen as people in control of their sexual drives and they literally began movements to rid society of these sexually gratifying places and close down the developing sex industry. Like prohibition stamped out alcoholic imbibing, these social actions only caused the sex industry to thrive more lucratively in under-ground activities.

By the mid 1900's, women of western societies had fully adapted the more sexually emphasized looks of the under-ground into their wardrobe selections than had been the look of the morally chaste fashions of the 1800's. Who would have thought the bikini and heels look would have become fashion classics were it not for the influence of the sex industry using the natural drives of the sexually active and filling the minds of guys and gals to see people as sex objects. By this time, only gals were seen wearing high heels socially, while guys were taught to distance and reject any association with the sex industry, at least publicly. Obviously the sex industry no longer functions and their graphic pictures and literature are no where to be found, especially with the firewalls of the internet deter such things and nobody seems to solicits it any more. I also believe everyone has been celibate for the last ten years.

This is just the gist of the whole story for the rise of high heels over the last three centuries, so you can enter your comments of information, clarification, or disputes.

Yes, freedom has its rewards and costs.

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Going back a little further, it is my understanding that high heels became fashionable in Europe thanks to a 17th century ambassadorial delegation sent to the French court by the Shah of Persia. It included some officers from Persia's much-storied cavalry regiments who wore high heeled boots which would allow them to stand in the stirrups and stabilise them while they fired their bows. These boots, if you see them in museums, looked like what we today would consider rather feminine ankle boots. But nobody was laughing at Persian cavalrymen in those days. In fact their swagger and the aura of the East they projected gave their footwear a strong exotic appeal and made high-heeled boots quite fashionable among the men at court.


Later in the century, and in the early 18th century, there was a movement among some of the more daring women to adopt masculine fashions - smoking pipes and wearing high heels. And thus began the drift to high heels being solely for women - once a fashion becomes feminine it doesn't come back. It was not helped by the Age of Enlightenment when it became fashionable for men to adopt more sober, studious attire - the dawn of the business suit - leaving bright colours and frivolity to the 'weaker' sex.   

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It was the invention of the iron stirrup in 1610 that led to men in the UK adopting heels. These would have been much like cowboy boot type heels but got more and more stylised as the courtiers tried to outdo eachother.


It is said that the first recorded woman to wear heels was a 14 year old Catherine Medici when she married the second son of King Francis I of France, the future Henry II of France who was also 14 at the time. She was very diminutive and it is thought that she had worn them to appear taller without the obvious disadvantages that the wearing of Chopines would have brought.

Graduate footwear designer able to advise and assist on modification and shoe making projects.

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