[THE FOUNTAIN] Perched Precariously For Fashion

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[THE FOUNTAIN] Perched Precariously For Fashion


If German historian Eduard Fuchs is correct, then we may have a difficult time putting the history of high-heel shoes, often favored by women, in a pleasant light. According to one of his books, high-heels were introduced in 17th century France. At that time, what we called a rest room today did not exist. In the morning, people threw the waste accumulated overnight out the window of their house into the street. The unfortunate passerby often became a victim. Mr. Fuchs explained that the parasol was invented for women to protect themselves from the daily deluge and the idea behind high-heels was to help woman navigate their way to a clean road.

When wearing high-heels, a woman's body tilts forward, so she can stand upright only by leaning back. Naturally, she throws out her chest and pulls her hips up when walking in high-heels. Women wearing high-heels may convey sensuality. High-heels often help to show off the beauty of the legs and conceal shortness of height. Considering that France today is a heaven for dogs, high-heels may be just as useful as they were several centuries ago. However, it is still unpleasant to be reminded of Mr. Fuchs's theory when a woman wears high-heel shoes.

A podiatry research team of Oxfordshire Community Health Trust recently announced a report that one out of five British women wear high-heels because they would like to enhance their sexual attractiveness. The report shows that many women relate high-heel shoes with not only sex appeal, but also power and high position. Maybe such association is created by famous women, including the late Princess Diana, the former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the boss in the Hollywood movie, "Disclosure," played by Demi Moore who tried to seduce her male staff using her high position and power. The relationship between high-heels and power is definitely an interesting research topic.

Orthopedics often point to high-heels as the main cause of the foot problems suffered by many women. Women who wear high-heel shoes may suffer from lumbago, arthritis and ruptured disks. In the most serious cases, they may suffer from hallux valgus, a condition in which the big toe bends back, causing great pain. If wearing high-heel shoes is unavoidable, doctors recommend shoes with a heel no higher than 4 cm. The shoes should be worn for no more than two to three hours a day. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society reports that 70 percent of the women living in the United States suffer from various illnesses because they have made the wrong choice in footwear. Although it is desirable to have charm and power, do women really have to wear high-heels triggering an uprising by their feet due to the great pain?


by Bae Myung-bok

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