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Shoes can help 'heel' your body image problems

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"The fact thatCinderella left a glass slipper is not a mere coincidence." – Mary Jo Rapini

This time of year symbolizes back to school, the end of summer, fashion weekin New York City and elsewhere, and shoe sales. Every one of my friends hasbeen shoe shopping within the last three weeks. In a 2007, Consumer Report National Research Center polled 1,057women and found that women on average own 19 pairs of shoes. Compare this tomen's four pairs at most. Guys don't understand the need for their woman'sfascination with shoes. They wear them despite their pain from too high a heel,and suffer bunions and back aches for the right shoe. More than forty percentof the women from the survey had mentioned being injured from their shoes. Inmy own closet I have six pair of shoes that I carry in my bag to put on priorto an interview and take off quickly afterwards due to the pain of wearing themfor more than an hour.

A survey done by Glamourmagazine along with a body image expert and friend (Anne Kearney-Cooke Ph.D.)revealed that 97 percent of the woman surveyed said they had moments of bodyhate. These moments of body hate involved being too heavy, being too short,feeling dumpy, and undesirable. When women are asked to rate the clothes intheir closet that give them the most sex appeal with the least effort, shoesare amongst the first two items listed. Sorokowski and Pawlowski (Evolution andHuman Behavior, 2008) led a research study to find the formula for the perfectlegs and the answer was that they needed to be 5% longer than your torso, butnot too long. Both males and females were asked to evaluate the attractivenessof silhouettes of men and women. An average height of 5 foot 4 inches was ratedmost attractive when their inseam was 30.5 inches, 5%longer than the averageleg measurement for a person that size. In other words you could be more attractiveif you could lengthen your legs by a few inches. This helps to explain whywomen love shoes.

There are otheremotional and psychological reasons women love shoes.

  1. Weightis a huge issue in the U.S. and there is no quick fix. However, the right pairof platforms, or a wedge sandal can give you height, make you look thinner, andadd sex appeal within minutes.
  2. Heelsalso make posture more appealing, and smart stockings never look as sexy withflats.
  3. Womenmay be conservative in their dress, but their shoes are one accessory they canbe a little bit less conservative with. This helps them express their moreartistic side while still conforming to the conservative institution withinthey work. Feeling in control of yourimage helps women feel more confident and better about themselves.
  4. Menlook at women's shoes too, which helps women get the attention they want.
  5. Shoesdon't need to break a woman's budget either, because cute shoes can be found atstores such as Famous Footwear, or T.J.Maxx as easily asthey can be found at Neiman Marcus. The other great bonus is the less you spendfor a pair of shoes the more shoes you can purchase. Most women I knowpersonally have more than forty pair of shoes.
  6. Themore compliments women receive from other women the better they feel aboutthemselves. I have never worn a pair of cute shoes with less than ten womenapproving my choice.

Women were raised with the story of Cinderella and continue the searchfor their handsome prince. The fact that Cinderella left a glass slipper is nota mere coincidence. Women have been looking for that particular glass slipperever since they first heard the story.

–Mary Jo Rapini

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