1 hour ago
Here’s a doozy: high-heeled shoes were originally worn by men in horseback-riding cultures of the 10th century. With the migration of the Persian cavalry, the trend spread to Europe, and soon, the heels became associated with the horse-owning upper class. Around the 17th century, women slowly started wearing heels and they became a staple of aristocratic fashion of the time. Till this point, heels were not a signifier of gender. However, heels slowly started getting gendered in design, with men’s heels becoming broader and sturdier, and women’s heels being narrower and more decorative than functional. Even with the more practical design, around the 18th century, men deemed heels too uncomfortable, and thus, they became a woman’s shoe.
With the invention of photography, pornography and pin-ups came to the forefront with posters of women in high heels donning almost every barrack during World War II. When the war ended, and the men returned, demand turned into supply; the hellish stiletto was invented, and the heel made its way into the street, office, and home. Except, you can’t drive, run or hike in them, and you need to stay away from grass, ice, and polished floors. Also, podiatrists believe that most types of heels are a recipe for blisters, swollen toes, throbbing heels, and even long-term health issues, like nerve damage. So, recently, when Japan’s Labour Minister declared that all women must wear heels to work if the employer so demands it, thousands of women were rightfully livid over it.