Women and high heels — it’s a pairing as old as time. These shoes may hurt the sh*t out of our feet, but that doesn’t stop us from wearing them on any given night.
Just take a look around the bar over the weekend, are the females in attendance wearing anything but stilettos? Probably not because that has just become a basic societal norm.
There must be a reason most models are required to be well over 5’8 and maybe that’s the motivation behind our fashion choice. I mean, throwing on a pair of heels really does give us that extra boost of confidence we yearn for and it definitely makes our legs look even longer.
But is there a real reason that leads women to the stiletto section of the department store outside of these obvious explanations? Is there science that backs up the claims of choosing heels over flats?
And, more importantly, what happens when this is the type of footwear they opt for? Does heel height really make a difference? Perhaps you already thought so, but not to this crazy extent.
Last year, French researcher Nicolas Guéguen decided he was going to be the first person ever to delve into the science behind the effect of women’s heel height on men. He conducted his research through four experiments.
In each, he had several college age women dressed in matching outfits — black skirts, white long sleeve shirt and a black suit jacket. The only differing factor was the size of the heel each women wore — flat heels, 5-cm heels (medium) and 9-cm heels (high).
Guéguen then sent out his participants into the world to conduct tasks on the street and to gauge the reactions of random people they encountered. During the first two of the experiments the women solicited pedestrians regarding surveys on equal rights and dining preferences. How exciting right?
The results Guéguen and the women gathered showed that the women wearing high heels drastically increased male’s eagerness to answer questions. The high heel wearer gathered an 82-83 percent response rate, which was approximately twice the 42-47 percent rate the flat wearer received.
The most interesting part was that the heel height, or lack thereof, did not seem to persuade females who responded to the survey at a mere 30-36 percent rate.
His third experiment monitored the effects of heel height and helping behavior. The same women, still dressed the same way, walked around and “accidentally” dropped a glove. The purpose was to see if anyone would stop and tell them.
As expected, men told the women in heels 93 percent of the time while the women in flats were only told 62 percent of the time. And once again, the shoes were irrelevant when it came to women who sadly only said anything 43-52 percent of the time.
His final study, which you probably will find most relatable to your life, is when he sent the women to a bar. What happened? The woman wearing the highest heels was the quickest to be approached by a man, which was around eight minutes after walking into the bar.
The woman in flats? Fourteen minutes… In a world where time is our most valuable asset, it’s very clear that heels are what’s the trick.
So what does it all mean?
1. Heels are influential
Clearly women in heels are making their presence known, especially to strangers. Perhaps these male pedestrians in study three noticed the fallen glove, but chances are their eyes were directed at the female’s feet, which touch the ground — the location where the glove is now residing.
2. There seems to be no negative effect from other women
The only negative effects of wearing heels come from within… aka the pain of walking around in 5-inch stilettos.
3. It does not make men over-sexual
The men that the women encountered during each of the studies did not come across as overbearing by any means. They did not take the heels as signal to make sexual advances rather the heels just got their attention.
4. You get the attention you wanted
You want attention? Just slap on some high heels. It’s quite evident the woman rocking that type of footwear is catching the eyes of others.
5. They are a useful tool in getting what you want
Guéguen concluded that wearing heels is a savvy business strategy for women since men seem attracted to the idea. If this isn’t how you wish to encourage and support your success, however, then by all means do not feel pressured to do so. It can only help, not hurt.
6. It reinforces the extent to which men focus on a woman’s physical appearance
Men are visual creatures and this was more than shown through Guéguen’s studies. Sure, your personality is what can keep a man around, but it’s your physical attributes that a stranger is drawn to first.
Of course, this is clearly a double-edged sword, but it’s also important to learn this information in order to utilize it for change.
Credit: Ashley Fern, Elite Daily