Despite being the dad of three daughters—-two of whom are in their 20s—-many of the mysteries of femininity still elude me. And one of the many categories of incomprehensible things is shoes. That high heels can be sexy isn’t lost on me. Neither is the notion that heels can make women’s legs look longer, the feet more slender, the calf muscles look firmer, and the breasts more prominent. But what I don’t get is why anyone would subject herself to the physical torture that wearing heels involves.
Any orthopedist or podiatrist will tell you that high heels are responsible for bunions, corns, and hammertoes. And they’ll tell you that women who wear heels more likely than their flats-wearing sisters to have ankle sprains, stress fractures, osteoarthritis in the knees, pain in the back, neck, and shoulders, lumps on the feet, and permanent shortening of the calf muscle and Achilles tendon.
Given all that, why would anyone in their right mind produce shoes with high heels for little girls? But that’s exactly what’s happening. Nike, Sketchers, and others manufacturers now have lines of running shoes for girls that have a built-in wedge that adds 2-3 inches of height. What the hell are they thinking (or are they thinking at all)? Do second- and third-graders really need to be taller? Is their confidence so low that giving them an extra few inches will really improve their lives?
If you pay attention to the ads for the Plus 2 collection of Sketchers (aimed at girls 4-8) and the absolutely revolting campaigns for Daddy’$ Money (which promise slightly older girls “extreme height”), you’ll want to puke. So you’ve got to wonder: Who’s behind the demand for these shoes? Is it the little girls themselves, or their moms, who are living out their unfulfilled dreams through their daughters?
What’s especially disturbing to me—again, as a dad of three girls—is that this is just another way that we’re telling girls that it’s okay to lie about who they are. Picking up a few inches thanks to hidden high heels is no different than wearing a padded bra or putting on makeup: It’s dishonest and deceptive.