Researchers have found that heels can “emphasize femininity” and change the way the entire body moves, including the pelvis, hips, legs, knees, feet and even the shoulders.
Scientists at the University of Portsmouth found that women wearing heels were rated as more attractive than when wearing flat shoes, even when those making the judgement are unable to see faces or bodies.
The study appears in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior.
Researchers wrote that “evolution may partly explain the continuing popularity of high heels as an article of the female wardrobe”.
“If wearing high heels emphasizes some sex-speciﬁc aspects of the female form they may make women more attractive, and one motivation, which may be conscious or unconscious, for wearing heels is that it is part of mate selection,” The Independent on Sunday reports.
Researchers have found that heels can emphasize femininity and change the way the entire body moves
As part of the research women were filmed walking for four minutes wearing identical flat shoes and 6 cm heels.
All women who took part in research had an average of around 10 pairs of heels, which they wore at least once a week.
To ensure the women were rated on how attractive they were purely based on their high heels researchers used a technique called point-light display which highlights points of the body with lit markers.
It means the judges would see only the patterns of these lights as the woman walks.
Men and women viewed 30-second video clips of the walkers in high heels and flat shoes moving towards them and rated them on femininity and attractiveness.
In each case the women were rated as more attractive in heels.
Women judges also rated them as more attractive than the men did.
A second experiment – asking judges to guess whether the person walking towards them was a man or woman – saw women wearing flat shoes twice as likely to be viewed as a man.
It was also discovered that an average woman walked more quickly in heels, changing from 106 to 110 steps a minutes, but with shorter strides – from 1.24 to 1.20 metres.
The researchers wrote: “Women in high heels walked in a fashion more characteristic of female gait. The results are consistent with the idea that wearing high heels makes women look more attractive, and added: ‘Fashions by their very nature are ephemeral, but fashions that endure, such as high heels, may emphasize sex-specific aspects of the body.”
A new study has found that when it comes to finding a mate, men may not be looking for charm and intelligence, but rather a woman who looks dumb and sleepy enough for a one-night-stand.
In an article soon to be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, University of Texas at Austin graduate student Cari Goetz and her team focused on the so-called sexual exploitability hypothesis, which is based on the different ways in which men and women approach reproduction.
According to the researchers, early women took a chance by getting involved with emotionally unattached men who had no clear intention of raising children with them.
Men, however, had little concern for the consequences of casual trysts, given that their bodies produce somewhere around 85 million sperm cells every day — per testicle, according to Slate.
Cari Goetz began with the assumption that the brain of modern women is still sensitive to the pregnancy-related consequences of casual sex, making them more reluctant to engage in it than men.
The goal of the study was to test out the hypothesis that a woman who appears silly or inert, or in other words more “sexually exploitable”, is a turn-on for the average straight man.
In the evolutionary psychology sense, the word “exploitable” simply indicates that a woman is willing or can be more easily pressured into having sex, even if she is a prostitute or a nymphomaniac.
A new study has found that when it comes to finding a mate, men may not be looking for charm and intelligence, but rather a woman who looks dumb and sleepy enough for a one-night-stand
The researchers began testing their model by asking a large group of undergraduate students to nominate some specific actions, body postures, attitudes and personality traits that might signal vulnerability, such as exhaustion, intoxication, or low intelligence.
In the end, the participants of the study had produced a list of 88 signs that a woman might by especially receptive to a man’s advances.
Among the chosen red flags were: lip lick/bite; over-the-shoulder look; sleepy; intoxicated; tight clothing; fat; short; unintelligent; punk; attention-seeking and touching breast.
Next, Cari Goetz and her colleagues scoured the Internet for publicly available images of women displaying each of these 88 cues.
Once they had pictures of women licking their lips, partying, wearing sexy clothing, etc., the researchers cross-checked them with a separate group of students who presumed that the photos indeed matched the cues.
The researchers then invited a fresh group of 76 male students and presented them with the images of presumably “ripe-for-the-picking” women, asking them what they thought of each woman’s overall attractiveness, how easy it would be to “exploit” her using anything from a pickup line to physical force, and her appeal to them as either a short-term or a long-term partner.
The study has revealed that the images of fat or short women had no effect. The participants of the study did not view them as either easy to bed or appealing as partners.
But when it came to reading the more psychological and contextual cues -pictures of silly or childish-looking women, or of women who looked sleepy or drunk, men rated them as being easy to ‘score’ with.
More importantly, the dumb-looking and inert women were also perceived as being more attractive than their more lucid or intelligent-looking peers, but only when it came to short-term relationships.
When the men were asked to judge the same liquored-up, silly-looking women in the photos as potential girlfriends and wives, they had entirely lost their appeal on them.
In a follow-up study, the authors tried to add some nuance to their sexual exploitability hypothesis.
Graduate student David Lewis led a project to zero in on the specific type of man who would be most aware to the sort of ‘exploitability’ cues.
David Lewis and his colleagues asked 72 straight men to evaluate the same photos as before.
But this time, the researchers also measured some key personality traits in the men themselves, as well as the extent to which they desired and pursued no-strings-attached sex.
This follow-up study has found that the more promiscuous men who happened also to have deficiencies in personal empathy and warmth were the ones most attuned to female “exploitability” cues, which seems to indicate that not all men are sleazy when it comes to pursuing sex.