They lift the wearer’s butt 20-30%, make legs look longer and change a woman’s stride to a style judged more attractive by men.
The wearing of high heels hoists the derriere by approximately 20 to 30 degrees as a function of the heel’s size. The larger the heel is, the greater the lift. As we age, gravity becomes a growing nemesis to our figures, especially for women. Perky body parts are associated with youth, sagging parts with age. Accordingly, any product that can “reverse” the effects of gravity by yielding a more youthful-looking body is an easy seller, be it high heels or push-up bras. In addition to serving as a Gestalt cue for youth, a raised backside is attractive to men because it mimics lordosis, the sexually receptive position that mammalian females adopt prior to mating. Also, high heels cater to men’s preference for longer legs; a recent study found that both sexes preferred individuals whose legs were 5 percent longer than the average.
In addition to the perceptual changes associated with women’s figures when wearing high heels, might it be the case that a woman’s gait is differentially attractive as a function of the shoes that she is wearing? Incredibly, this is precisely what two Japanese scientists found. Specifically, in judging women’s gaits, men evaluated those wearing high heels to be more feminine and physically attractive than their counterparts walking in loafers.
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