Just when you thought it was safe to slip on your ballet pumps, some smartarse has decided to look into whether high heels make a woman more attractive.
The research, published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour journal, found that men care more about physical features in women, especially when they wear heels.
It also showed that if women wear heels, they are more likely to be helped by men. Theories suggest that this could be because the footwear has become "highly sexualised".
A group of researchers from the Université de Bretagne-Sud, in Lorient, conducted a series of studies in which the length of a woman's heels was examined.
A woman wearing black shoes asked men for help in various circumstances. The studies took place in a pedestrian area of a town situated on the south coast of Brittany in France.
In each study, the woman's heels would increase in height - starting with 0cm heels, 5cm heels and then 9 cm heels.
In study one, the subject asked men to respond to a short survey on gender equality.
In study two, she asked men and women to participate in a survey on local food habit consumption.
In study three, men and women in the street were observed while walking behind the female who dropped a glove and continued walking, apparently unaware of her loss.
All of the studies found that men’s helping behaviour increased as soon as heel length increased. However, heel length had no effect on women’s helping behaviour.
It was also found that men spontaneously approached women more quickly when they wore high-heeled shoes.
Possible explanations for why this could be include a change in gait, foot-size judgment, and mis-attribution of sexiness and sexual intent.
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“Four times we observed that men more easily displayed social interaction with a woman wearing high heels,” said the journal’s author, Nicolas Guéguen, a behavioural science researcher.
“It was found that men but not women accepted a survey request more often as soon as the heels of the female interviewer increased.
“Women’s heel height exerts a powerful effect on men’s behaviour,” he added. “Simply put, they make women more beautiful.”
That maybe the case, chum, but the bunions those high heels will be creating will be anything but.
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