For the purpose of this writeup, and my sanity, "men" means "men who like high heels", and "women" means "women who wear high heels." I'm well aware that males exist who do not like high heels, mostly because I'm one of them. Also, include standard disclaimers about heterosexual/homosexual/gender-bending alignments, and just flip appropriate pronouns. I can't spend all night fighting with the lack of gender neutral pronouns in English, can I? Now, with that out of the way...

What's a high heel?


A dog command in an airplane.

Seriously though, I've been considering the stereotypical male lust surrounding high heels; or rather, women wearing high heels. (The former being a whole different node.)

Reading through the high heel node, GeekGirl mentioned something that got me thinking. I quote:
High Heel Shoes - women wearing this kind of shoe cannot run, jump, carry much weight... in short they are physically hindered by them. Wearing them indicates that the wearer doesn't need to do any of those things.
This sounds like a reason similar to the one behind foot binding. The upper classes lived a more sedentary lifestyle, while the people of the lower classes couldn't sacrifice the agility and mobility that the foot binding caused to be lost. Similarly with high heels: a woman who can wear something that would cripple her to such an extent must be at least moderately well off. This effect doesn't seem as important/apparent in this day and age, but the subtext may still be there. Regardless, they are considered nice clothing, and people wearing the nice clothing of the period have always been held in higher esteem, consciously or subconsciously.

Another reason has to do directly with mens' libido. High heels say to a man that the woman wearing them either is submissive, or acknowledges that she might possibly be. This seems to draw parallels to BDSM, where the bottom is routinely humiliated, restrained, punished and otherwise used to gratify the top. (Ostensibly; I know in reality it's a consensual act that gratifies both parties, and no true harm is ever intended.) In BDSM, someone acts submissive by choice to satisfy a dominant; this includes discomfort and the like. Women wear uncomfortable shoes that serve no real purpose beyond "looking good".

Another theory, albeit slightly tenuous, is that of men wanting to feel needed. For years, men have been the stereotypical protector and provider (true or not, socially it's a common feeling) and women have been growing increasingly independent. A woman wearing high heels is simply not as physically mobile as a man wearing dress shoes, so through voluntary female helplessness men can feel a little bit better about their position in society.

Whether or not sex determined fashion, or vice versa, high heels are now inherently sexual. Be it due to foot fetishism, Submission-Domination, or good old fashioned "wimmin are purty", the stereotypical male probably likes high heels as more than an aesthetic preference.

Note: this is meant to merely propose several ideas as to why high heels are eroticized to the level they are. I tried to be careful not to prefer one idea over another, but I may have failed. Any (constructive) criticism?