Research shows that heels draw attention to long legs and small feet. Some argue that "high-heeled shoes, perhaps more than any other item of clothing, are seen as the ultimate symbol of being a woman." High heels often play a key role in emphasizing a wearer's, most commonly a woman's, arched back and extended buttocks. This "natural courting pose" sexualizes the wearer, and can turn them into objects subjected to the male gaze. This research highlights the emphasis heels place on the appearance of the wearer, instead of their arguably more valuable internal traits such as intelligence, creativity, or strength.
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In a 1992 study, researchers from the University of California, Davis and Thomas Jefferson University wanted to investigate the effects of increased heel height on foot pressure using forty-five female participants walking across a pressure plate in various heel heights. A Biokinetics software was used to analyze the exact pressure locations on and along each participants' foot. The researchers were able to conclude that an increase in heel height lead to an increase in pressure beneath each of the Metatarsal bones of the foot. Additionally, they found that the highest heel heights caused constant pressure that could not be evenly dispersed across the foot.