High heels have their share of pros (adding instant polish (opens in new tab) to an outfit) and cons (causing nasty foot injuries (opens in new tab)). But a French study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (opens in new tab) just added an interesting new perk to the pros side: Men, apparently, are more likely be helpful and nicer to women who are wearing high heels.
In the study, researchers conducted several separate experiments to examine how women wearing three different types of shoes—black flat shoes, black medium-heeled shoes (2 inches), black high heeled shoes (3.5 inches)—were treated differently. In one of the experiments, a woman approached people on the street to complete a survey; in another, a woman pretended to accidentally drop her glove to see how many people would assist her. In both of these experiments, the same woman wore all three of the different-sized heels. And in a third experiment, a group of women wearing mixed height heels sat at a bar, while researchers tallied how often each woman was approached.
In each scenario, men were most responsive to the highest-heeled shoes, while women treated the woman asking for help no differently based on her footwear. The study's authors believe this is because of the shoe's cultural reputation: High heels themselves are portrayed as sexy in the media (see every Sex and the City episode for proof), or at least in France where the trials were conducted. And footwear that is perceived as sexy may, as The Washington Post (opens in new tab) reports, "unconsciously...make [men] more likely to notice and respond to women." But before you decide to wear only heels going forward, remember this warning (opens in new tab) from the ladies of SATC themselves: Wear in moderation for the love of your feet.
Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she's not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.
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