High heels are marketed to children, and some schools encourage children to wear them.[22] 18% of injuries from wearing high heels were in children, and 4% in under-tens, in a 2002-2012 US survey.[22] Concern was expressed about children's use of high heels in a 2016 medical review on high-heeled shoes.[22] A nine-year old is about half an adult's height, and a toddler about a quarter; so, relative to body height, a 2-inch (5 cm) heel on an adult would be a one-inch heel on the nine-year-old, and a half-inch heel on the toddler,[27] though whether this translates to comparable health harms is not known.[22]

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Alternatively, World War II led to the popularization of pin-up girl posters, which men would often hang in their bunks while at war. Almost all of these girls were pictured wearing high heels, leading to an increase in the relationship between high heels and female sexuality.[3] The tall, skinny stiletto heel was invented in 1950, strengthening the relationship between women, sexuality, and appearance.[10] There was a weakening of the stiletto style during both the late 1960s / early 1970s and also 1990s when block heels were more prominent, followed by a revival in the 2000s.
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Modern high heels were brought to Europe by emissaries of Shāh Abbās I of Persia in the early 17th century.[7] Men wore them to imply their upper-class status; only someone who did not have to work could afford, both financially and practically, to wear such extravagant shoes. Royalty such as King Louis XIV wore heels to impart status. As the shoes caught on, and other members of society began donning high heels, elite members ordered their heels to be made even higher to distinguish themselves from lower classes.[8] Authorities even began regulating the length of a high heel's point according to social rank. Klaus Carl includes these lengths in his book Shoes: "½ inch for commoners, 1 inch for the bourgeois, 1 and ½ inches for knights, 2 inches for nobles, and 2 and ½ inches for princes."”[9] As women took to appropriating this style, the heels’ width changed in another fundamental way. Men wore thick heels, while women wore skinny ones. Then, when Enlightenment ideals such as science, nature, and logic took hold of many European societies, men gradually stopped wearing heels.[8] After the French Revolution in the late 1780s, heels, femininity, and superficiality all became intertwined.[3] In this way, heels became much more associated with a woman's supposed sense of impracticality and extravagance.

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