A recent study showed that men are more helpful to women in high heels. The study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, measured how people responded to the same woman either wearing flats, 2 inch heels or 3.5 inch heels. It observed how likely people were to agree to fill out a survey she was conducting or to pick up her dropped glove. The woman got the most help when she was wearing the 3.5 inch heel… but only when men were concerned. Women helped at consistent rates no matter what shoes the woman was wearing. (Another part of the study showed that – newsflash – a man is more likely to talk to a woman in a bar if she’s wearing heels).
This made me laugh because just yesterday I suffered through a whole conference in gorgeous but slightly torturous high black heels. Probably through a lifetime of subtle reinforcement I’ve come to associate being in heels with feeling confident and looking good. (Who knew it was because men have been paying more attention?).
I rarely wear heels anymore. I’m a comfort kind of gal. But how funny to discover that there’s real data behind the subconscious association. I’ve been wearing heels my whole life because they actually get me more attention. You can call it a successful adaptation.
So, you may be asking yourself, did it work? Did my fabulous heels with the bows on them make men react differently to me? Here’s the thing: it was an English teacher convention. Men were outnumbered like Latinos at a NASCAR race. So there wasn’t a large enough pool to be sure. But, I’ll tell you what: it felt pretty good to put on my flats for the drive home, helpfulness from men be damned.
PS- the real news story: there’s a journal called Archives of Sexual Behavior?!? How do I not have a subscription to this? So many things to learn.