The wearing of high heels is an acquired skill; particularly if the high heels are really high. Of course, the wearing of heels is expected in certain occasions: in business professional settings, in formal and semi-formal dress occasions, and even in beauty contests (generating the preposterous combination of the mandatory swimsuit plus high heels.)
Dr. Nicolas Guéguen, a psychologist at the Université de Bretagne-Sud in Rennes, reported a study looking at whether whether women's wearing of high heels elicited more helping behavior by gentlemen and other ladies. In two separate experiments, he had four young french women wearing on separate occasions flats, two-inch heels, of four-inch heels.
In the first experiment, the women stood on the street and asked passersby to complete a survey. When the women were wearing flats, 25 out of 60 men (42 percent) agreed to pause and take the survey. When the women wore two-inch heels, 36 of 60 men (60 percent) agreed to take the survey. And 49 out of 60 men (82 percent) paused when the women wore the four-inch heels.
Female passersby stopped to complete the survey around a third of the time; they were not more likely to complete the survey if the survey-takers wore high heels or flats.
In another experiment, the women confederates dropped a glove or the street and noted whether men retrieved for them or not. Again, they were wearing flats or high heels. The men retrieved the glove 62 percent of the time when the women wore flats, but 93 percent of the time when they wore high heels'.
As for why high heels have this sort of influence, Guéguen offered a simple explanation: the wearing of high heels simply makes women more attractive to men.
It's nice to know what sort of stimuli press the gentleman button in guys. Whether it provides justification enough for mastering the skill of wearing four-inch heels, I don't know.
In my opinion, this sort of research should be replicated on a sample of American men and women, extended to include possible helpful behaviors that require more time or effort, and/or the confederates wearing different colored or exaggerated high heels. After all, it is well-known that certainly strikingly colored or styled high heels are deliberately worn to exaggerate the wearer's gait and to be noticed by guys. You probably know the popular term for them, which I won't use.
I wonder also, if some men assume that ladies wearing flats might be seen as less disposed towards offers of help by guys, rightly or wrongly. If so, there are some advantages to being a girly girl.
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