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Heels: How high is high?

graphic of high heelWomen’s high heels are higher than ever. Women have internalized the notion that high heels are sexy but watching them walk in the 5-6 inch heels is anything but pretty. It’s painful to watch. It’s more painful to walk in those suckas.

At the Affirmations Women’s program, the issue of health problems associated with high heel shoes was the center of lively debate.

In an UNSUNG episode featuring famed percussionist Sheila E, the danger of heels re-emerged. The talented musician, who once played with Prince, collapsed one day and couldn’t get up. In fact, she couldn’t walk even when someone got her up. Luckily, the prognosis was good.  After years of performing and playing drums in high heels, the damage to Sheila E’s legs caught up to her. It took months of physical therapy for her to learn how to walk again.

The history of high heels is interesting. According to Willam Kremer of BBC News, clunky heeled shoes were worn by European men centuries ago and were essential to stable horseback mounts and dismounts as well securing a soldier’s stance when he had to stand up in the stirrups to aim his bow and arrow or his gun. Men in heels enjoyed a brief style trend. As the use of horses as a major mode of transportation begin to fade along with other class-related factors, so did heels. They were no longer practical.

Here’s where it gets real-l-ly interesting. The re-emergence of heels for women came in the mid-19th Century with pornographers. Their nude women models sported high heels. And the rest is history or the present–however you prefer to look at it.

Finally, as if women need some more stress and pain–90% of the nearly 800,000 surgeries associated with foot problems are women.  Over $2 billion is spent annually and that doesn’t include the $1.5 billion of lost work time.

Sistas have allowed men to dictate what makes them look good as opposed to what is good FOR us. Let’s take a deeper look inside and see what’s there that can be lifted up.


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