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achingly sexy

Introduction:
Anguish, agony, torment, torture, vivisection, prick, needle, barb, crush, strike. These verbs can be inflicted by the following apparatuses: saber, cutlass, cimeter, ax, dagger, pike, lance, spear, javelin, dart, harpoon, spur, and razor. All of these are barbed, spiky, edged weapons, these weapons can wound millions, and oh, wait, I forgot one, the “stiletto”. The stiletto, according to Roget’s Thesaurus (10/4/02) is in the same category as all the weapons I mentioned before. ---Hold up foot in heel--- Stiletto is another word for a high heel. They are the great pinnacle of perfection for the female foot. Today we are going to have a tribute to a little thing I like to call “Barbie-Foot”.

Thesis:  
This is important because women account for 90% of 800,000 operations a year for foot problems, most of which stem from insufficient knowledge on how what they wear will (joke) be with them for the rest of their lives.
Preview:
Today we will look through the history of squashing feet into unnatural positions, then take an inside peek at just what makes up a good heel and a bad heel, and finally step up to the challenge of what we can do about this high heel hell.


Body 1:

To uncover the illustrious history of squashing feet in to unnatural positions, we trot back to ancient Chinese society. According to M. Vento from the Brooklyn educational system, small feet for women were preferred as early as the Han Dynasty. She states “Foot binding was the act of wrapping a 3-5 year old girls foot, bending the toes under, breaking the bones, to force the back of the foot together. The purpose was to produce a tiny foot, a golden lotus as it was called, which was three inches in length.” Some girls ‘merely’ compressed their toes to create a slimmer, more delicate look. These golden lotuses wreaked absolute hell on the women’s bodies. Their feet were in constant pain, and the wrapping was never allowed to be removed completely. So there were the compound problems of bacteria, and muscular dystrophy. The women were, by around age 10, unable to walk anywhere unaided. Now, the application of ‘fixing what nature forgot’ didn’t make it to jolly old England until about 1500, where it was used by men to keep their foot from slipping out of the stirrup, according to Andrew Smith in his “History of High Heels”. Catherine d’Medici introduces shoes with 2 inch heels to exaggerate her height to her bridegroom the Duke of Orleans, in 1533. In 1553 till 1558, Bloody Mary sends high heel sales through the roof because of her passion for touching the clouds.  It got so bad that in 1628, when the Pilgrims arrive in Massachusetts, they actually pass a law forbidding “excess in bootes”. Finally, in 1794, Quincy Reed opens America’s first retail shoe store in Boston. Since then, shoe sales (and shoes themselves) have rocketed to new heights.
Body 2:
Let’s now take an inside peek at just what makes up a high heeled shoe, and what makes one good, and the other bad. J. Russo, from iVillage.com, states that “high heels are pumps with a heel of more then 2 inches, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, who has determined them to be ‘biomechanically, and orthopedically unsound.’”  According to OrthoInfo, a shoe consists of many parts, today I shall concentrate on the toe box,  sole, and  heel. The toe box is the tip of the shoe which provides space for the toes. The toe box may be rounded or pointed. The sole consists of two parts, the insole (inside), and the outsole (the part that contacts the ground). The softer the sole is, the greater its ability to absorb shocks from walking. And finally we come to the heel. The heel is the bottom part of the rear of the shoe that provides elevation. The higher the heel is, the greater the pressure on the front of the foot. Oh, and they also put in some bit about how stiffer material can and will cause blisters.  OrthoInfo also talks about the “positive shoes”, which are shoes that have less then a one-inch heel and have a wide toe box. They say these are ‘ideal for women’. Flats don’t do a thing for my looks. However if I wear heels, a doctor of podiatric medicine named William Olsen describes how the “foot is held in a downward position as you walk. This keeps the knee, hip, and low back in a flexed position, which prevents the muscles that cross the backside to stretch out as they normally, would. Over time this can lead to stiffness, pain, and injury. The heel causes your body to pitch forward more then normal, putting excess pressure on your back.” William Olsen also discusses about how wearing flats helps the entire foot absorbs the pressure of walking, and how the leg muscles can contract and stretch out, but duh, I’m not wearing these to run the mile. Besides, William Tomlin of the British Chiropractic Association says that they are good because they change the center of my gravity. I’m only wearing them a little bit each day, it’s not like I crowd my toes into an unnatural triangular shape all the time. So what if I am having 50% more stress on the ball of my foot, and I’m a little more tired after wearing them? Beauty is pain, people! Even if heels can lead to bunions, hammertoes (toe bends up slightly, then curls downward), pinched bone and skin, bony deformities, corns, calluses, metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot), shortening of the Achilles tendon (connects the calf muscle to the heel bone), osteoarthritis of the knee, lower back strain, trapped nerves, increase the forward curve of the lower back according to a slew of websites such as spineuniverse.com---ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/health---ivillagehealth.com---web.lexis-nexis.com/universe--- orthoinfo.org, odds are that I won’t get those till the rest of me is falling apart anyways, so what should I care? And when I am in the old folk’s home with broken legs, wreaked back, torn foot muscles, I will remember that I did it for beauty! Evidentially all those of you who can’t hack to true heels are going to be messed up too. Wide heels (chunky platforms) also a risk, for they feel more comfortable then stilettos, feel more stable, so they are worn longer, but the pressure on the knee is the same, according to A. Scott from BYU.  There is a medical problem associated with wearing heels, it’s called plantar fascitis. It feels as if someone slammed a sharp stone into heel, and now you are walking on severely bruised tissue. J. Paley MD describes the plantar fascia as a “thick fibrous tissue that runs below the muscle, from the ball of the foot to the posterior edge of the heel, providing arch support.” With each step you take, the fascia tightens and allows the foot to push you off the ground. Repeated stress causes micro tears and inflammatory changes. Over time the usually elastic fascia becomes stiff and prone to further injury.
Body 3:
Wait a second, this is sounding more serious, what am I supposed to do about this high heel hell? Well, according to all of these doctors, I should start by canning the high heel, and stepping down to a shoe of one inch or less. Then, I should start a regular exercise program, specifically modified to stretch and strengthen my feet, while wearing a proper workout sneaker.
Preview:
Today we have looked through the history of squashing feet into unnatural positions, took an inside peek at just what makes up a good heel and a bad heel, and finally stepped up to the challenge, and now know what we can do about this high heel hell.
Thesis:
This is important because women account for 90% of 800,000 operations a year for foot problems, most of which stem from insufficient knowledge on how what they wear will (joke) be with them for the rest of their lives.
Conclusion:
While it is too late for Barbie, the Chinese banned foot binding in 1911. In 1998, the last factory in Harbin, China ended the production of shoes for women with bound feet. Don’t you think its time to stop tip toeing around the problem, step out and wear those low heels?
 by niki

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