In a 2012 study, researchers examined the risk long time high heel wearers would have in regards to calf Muscle fascicle length and strain.[26] The control group consisted of women who wore heels for less than ten hours weekly and the experimental group consisted of women who wore heels for a minimum of forty hours weekly for at least two years. The experimental group was told to walk down a walkway barefoot and in heels while the control group walked down barefoot as cameras recorded their movements to calculate muscle fascicle lengths. The data showed that wearing heels shortened the length of the medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle fascicles in the calf significantly as well as increasing stiffness in the Achilles Tendon. The experimental group also demonstrated a larger amount of strain on the muscle fascicles while walking in heels because of the flexed position the foot is forced into. The researchers were able to estimate that when wearing heels, the estimated fascicle strains were approximately three times higher and the fascicle strain rate was approximately six times higher. Additionally, they were able to conclude that the long term usage of high heels can increase the risk of injuries such as strain along with discomfort and muscle fatigue.
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Research shows that heels draw attention to long legs and small feet. Some argue that "high-heeled shoes, perhaps more than any other item of clothing, are seen as the ultimate symbol of being a woman."[12] High heels often play a key role in emphasizing a wearer's, most commonly a woman's, arched back and extended buttocks. This "natural courting pose" sexualizes the wearer, and can turn them into objects subjected to the male gaze.[2] This research highlights the emphasis heels place on the appearance of the wearer, instead of their arguably more valuable internal traits such as intelligence, creativity, or strength.
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Heels went out of fashion starting around 1810, and then in 1860 they returned at about two and a half inches. The Pinet heel and the Cromwell heel were both introduced during this time.[12] Their production was also increased with the invention and eventual mass production of the sewing machine around the 1850s. With sewing machines, yields increased as machines could quickly and cheaply "position[n] the heel, stitc[h] the upper, and attac[h] the upper to the sole."[9] This is also a prime example of how the popularity of heels interacts with the culture and technology of the time.
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