The height of a woman's heels can determine the response she receives from men and other women, according to a recent study from the Universite de Bretagne-Sud in France and published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior(paywall).
"Women's shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men's behavior," Nicolas Guéguen, the study's author and a behavioral science researcher, told the The Associated Press.
The Deccan Chronicle reported that the study participants included 19-year-old women and men between 25 to 50 years.
In one of the study experiments, a 19-year-old female participant asked random men on the streets in Brittany, France, if they would complete a survey, reported a French newspaper The Local.
In one of the instances the female would wear flat shoes with .2 inch heels and in the next situation she would wear shoes with a 2-inch heel.
Finally, the woman would wear high-heels with 3.5-inch heels.
When the women asked the men if they would agree to answer their gender equality survey, the researchers found that flat heels got a 47 percent response rate and medium heels got a 63 percent rate, reported AP.
Meanwhile, the percentage of women wearing the highest heels received a 83 percent success rate.
“Four times we observed that men more easily displayed social interaction with a woman wearing high heels,” said Guéguen said to The Independent. “It was found that men, but not women, accepted a survey request more often as soon as the heels of the female interviewer increased.
The Local reported that researchers conducted another test on the influence of heels by having four young women of the same height, weight, shoe size and similar attire drop a glove on three occasions.
Again, the heel height did not appear to have an influence on a woman's willingness to help. However, researchers found when a woman wearing heels dropped a glove on the street she is almost 50 percent more likely to have a man pick up the glove for her than if she is wearing flats, reported The Local.
"It was also found that men in a bar were quicker to start chatting with a woman wearing heels than when she was wearing flat shoes," reported The Deccan Chronicle.
Guéguen speculated that some of the possible explanations for the findings might be the change in gait brought about by high heels or the demure appearance of the woman's feet, reported The Local.
"Simply put, they make women more beautiful," he said.
Jean-Claude Kaufmann, a French sociologist who was not part of the study, told The Independent that despite the small sample size, the results are clear and consistent and therefore significant.
He added that men are attracted by a woman in high heels because "she looks taller, more sexually confident, sure of herself" and more shapely.
“Heels don’t subordinate women — they empower them in romance," he said. "The important thing to remember in seduction is that it’s all a game.”
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