Slate’s Rebecca Onion recently proposed that the Grecian Bend was the most preposterous ladies’ fashion trend of all time.
In the 1860s, it was fashionable for American women to wear their skirts gathered at the back into panniers, with a bustle serving as the base upon which all of that fabric could be pinned. The style required the woman to lean forward in an exaggerated way, in order to compensate for all of that weight at her back. This lean, exacerbated by corsets and high-heeled shoes, came to be called the “Grecian Bend,” named after the way that women in some Greek sculptures hunched their shoulders in implied modesty at their nudity.
I disagree. As stupid as the Grecian Bend may have been, heels are by far stupider.
Heels, which were originally worn by men before they sensibly abandoned them, cause lower back pain, sciatica, shortened Achilles tendons, spider veins, bone and nerve damage, osteoarthritis, knee problems, foot problems (including ball-in-foot pain, metatarsalgia, bunions, hammer toe, and the “pump bump”). Heels can also permanently alter a woman’s posture and create serious problems with hip ligaments and tendons. They are also the leading cause of falls and sprained ankles in women.
Not to mention the vast numbers of women who die in disaster movies because of their inability to run quickly or climb in heels.
Of all the fashion trends over the centuries (including those horrifying earlobe expanders), the heel is by far the stupidest and most dangerous of all.
If heels of all kinds disappeared from the planet tomorrow, women would still be just as beautiful as they are today.
Even more beautiful, since some of the heels that are worn today look downright ridiculous.
More importantly, they would also be safer, more comfortable, and much healthier over the course of their lives.
I have a five year-old daughter. My hope is that she will never indulge in both heels and the Grecian Bend.
But if I had to choose one, I would opt for the social debilitation of the Grecian Bend over the physical debilitation that will inevitably result from the wearing of heels.