|You see, Teresa, you're a victim of capitalist cultural conditioning, just like all of your lackey sisters! Don't you think it's about time you started wearing Birkenstocks?!|
Seriously, seriously, don't you see a problem in this "makes your legs look fantastic" viewpoint? That's only if you've been conditioned to view it that way. As I say, I didn't think it improved the woman's appearance. It just made her attire look strange and inappropriate. In fact, she kind of looked as if she were walking around on stilts. The purpose of shoes, after all, should be to facilitate the act of walking or running. Just as in architecture, form should follow function.
The feet of Chinese woman were also abused in a much more destructive fashion, as the following description makes painfully clear: "When a girl turned anywhere from three to six years old in China, her mom would rip up strips of cloth and start binding her feet. The wrappings would be taken off daily, then rewound tighter and tighter. Sometimes the toes would be broken right away and folded under the foot; otherwise they would just be gradually bound in that direction so they'd end up there. The many bones in the top of the foot would be broken and the ball of the foot buckled in, then wrapped to the heel. It was common for the bound toes to develop gangrene due to lack of circulation and fall off. This was thought of as a blessing because it would enable the feet to be made smaller still. The girl would never be able to stand again; or play. If by some chance they even managed to stand up for one second, it was unstable and painful. That was considered insignificant in the quest for tiny feet."
This was done, because it was considered attractive to have small feet. To the Chinese men, it made the woman's feet "look fantastic." But looks, which are often subjective and a result of what's considered fashionable, should not trump health and functionality. Granted, high heels are not as bad as bound and broken feet, but they're still not the best footware.
I have a similar complaint about men's dress shoes. They too are not very comfortable, and are not unnecessary, because the technology has advanced to the point that stiff, leather shoes are no longer necessary. Much more comfortable shoes are now available, thanks to the running boom, which forced companies to come up with better and more comfortable footware. You often see women in business suits, who would otherwise be wearing high heels, take them off and put on much more comfortable athletic shoes for the purpose of walking, which is why you're wearing shoes, to begin with.