B1 Intermediate UK 1079 Folder Collection
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The first high heel ever was a piece of military footwear.
People in West Asia had been tremendous horse riders,
and that's how they fought, they rode in the saddle and they stood up
to shoot their bows and that meant you need a heel to keep
you in the stirrups, nice and stable.
The Shah of Persia, he's called Abbas the First,
he sends off some emissaries into Europe and they turn up
wearing high heels and everyone goes...
...so suddenly this military clothing becomes adopted in Europe.
But it's a little bit later on, in the early 1600s, that we start
to see heels coming in, and it starts with the blokes,
it's for being manly and butch. But what happens quite quickly
is women start to emulate male fashion, and part of that
is they start wearing men's shoes. The real big moment is when Louis XIV
of France starts wearing heels, because he's quite a small man,
and he famously has red heels - that Louboutin mirrored
later on in the 20th Century.
Suddenly everyone at the court is wearing heels.
Heels go through a bit of an up and down history
and the 1700s, philosophers are talking about the rationalism of men,
by contrast, women are said to be emotional and sentimental
and can't be trusted to do important things like think.
And so men are being advised to wear rational shoes
and high heels are not rational.
The 1860s, this is when women's heels start to become sexy.
We have photography, a brand new technology,
and quite often in pornography of this period,
you're seeing women still wearing their boots,
their shoes with the heels on, so it becomes erotic.
Hollywood had a huge influence on the rise of heels as the symbol
of sexiness. In the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe famously quoted,
I can't think of the exact words but she said you know...
“we owe the man who invented high heels so much...”
...she was speaking on behalf of women. For Monroe, who was about
glamour and beauty and sexiness, she felt that that was an asset.
People can tell whether women are wearing high heels without actually
seeing their feet, so it is that posture, change in the gait.
But a more recent study has shown that actually it's changing the shape
of the spine that is actually the attractive thing.
We looked at all the research on high heels and they are not healthy,
there was increased risk of musculoskeletal conditions,
bunions and pain.
I think they're too iconic and too much a part of aesthetics and imagery
and history and power and sex to ever go away,
and I think they'll always be there.
I'd rather go through quite a lot of pain and wear them and look nice,
and suffer for it, I think.
I'm crazy about fashion, I think we all are.
And I think any smart woman would go on wearing them,
irrespective of what the consequences are.
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High heels: A surprising history | BBC Ideas

1079 Folder Collection
Tina Huang published on March 16, 2020    Vera translated    Evangeline reviewed
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