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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The love of high heels: Altocalciphilia





The allure of high heels to the altocalciphile is overpowering. Subconsciously this may relate to a primal instinct to identify lame prey. Throughout recorded history limping has been seen both as a physical weakness as well as a sexually attractive impediment. Wearing high heeled shoes can accentuate the limping characteristics in a very tantalising way, such as a Trendelenberg gait(i.e. one hip hiked higher than the other). Actress Marilyn Monroe used this to exquisite effect in the 50s with her stiletto heels (reputedly with one shoe heel higher than the other).



Wearing very high heels affects deportment by moving forward the position of the body’s centre of mass. In women the resulting spinal postural curvature pushes the breasts out, pulls in the buttocks, and gives a gluteal swing during walking as the hips move up and down. Wearing heels elongates the legs giving the outward appearance of shapelier calves, ankles and foot arches. High heels are also thought to place the female pelvis in a precoital position.



Whether or not this is true, the idea by itself, may cause arousal. Long legs are thought to give a strong arousal signal (Lloyd-Elliott, 2006). Men may be attracted to women in heels because it appeals to their superior nature seeing a member of the opposite sex vulnerable. This may present them with the driving need to act as a protector or predator.



High heeled shoes for women are however a comparatively recent costume innovation and prior to these men wore heeled shoes and dressed as peacocks. In European courts during the Middle Ages it was normal for only the high aristocracy to be fashion doyennes. The King and immediate family were particularly the focus for fashion and hence it may be seeing the male Regent dressed in heels had the same effect.



Today, heeled shoes are very much part of the bondage ritual (Rossi,1997) and sado-masochists maybe attracted to the perceived pain associated with wearing high-heeled shoes.

Exhibition

Standing Tall: A Curious History of Men in Heels Bata Shoe Museum Toronto.

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