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Source: (consider it) Thread: Fine firms for sexist dress rules, say MPs
The Phantom Flan Flinger
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Report from BBC

The article itself is fair enough - some of the comments are abhorrent.

Things like "If I pay people, they will ewar what I say".

"Women dressing provocatively will attract male business".

And that good old standby "Why isn't is sexist for men to have to wear ties".

Attitudes like this just show how far we have to go.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
And that good old standby "Why isn't is sexist for men to have to wear ties".

Well, perhaps if we tighten them enough to be painful...

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
"Women dressing provocatively will attract male business".

Come to think of it, I find this to be the most spectacularly clueless of the comments you selected. Because they couldn't even figure out that aiming to attract male business was itself an inherently sexist notion. It apparently wouldn't occur to them to work out what would attract female business, because it's the male business that really matters. [Roll Eyes]

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Penny S
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It was discussed on 'Woman's Hour' this morning, and on the phone in station LBC, and included cases of women who had had accidents affecting their feet who were still order to wear high heels (broken ankle?). This isn't just sexist, it demands Health and Safety attention. Surely it is in breach of some law or other concerning work conditions?
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Bishops Finger
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It's almost unbelievable that women should still have to endure such sexist bullying. Telling a woman to unbutton her blouse to attract male Christmas shoppers is surely forcing her into a form of prostitution.

[Mad]

Full marks to all those trying to put paid to it!

IJ

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
"Women dressing provocatively will attract male business".

Come to think of it, I find this to be the most spectacularly clueless of the comments you selected. Because they couldn't even figure out that aiming to attract male business was itself an inherently sexist notion. It apparently wouldn't occur to them to work out what would attract female business, because it's the male business that really matters. [Roll Eyes]
Call me naive, but I would have thought that any customer (whether a man, woman, or faceless corporation) checking out a potential supplier would start by checking their competance - can they supply the goods/services needed? Then they would look at price. The bottom line would count much more than the hem line. What am I missing?

In fact, wouldn't a company appearing more concerned about the size of the heels on the shoes of some employees bring into question whether they're spending attention on the important parts of the business? Wouldn't that make most people ask how competant they are?

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The Phantom Flan Flinger
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
"Women dressing provocatively will attract male business".

Come to think of it, I find this to be the most spectacularly clueless of the comments you selected. Because they couldn't even figure out that aiming to attract male business was itself an inherently sexist notion. It apparently wouldn't occur to them to work out what would attract female business, because it's the male business that really matters. [Roll Eyes]
Call me naive, but I would have thought that any customer (whether a man, woman, or faceless corporation) checking out a potential supplier would start by checking their competance - can they supply the goods/services needed? Then they would look at price. The bottom line would count much more than the hem line. What am I missing?

In fact, wouldn't a company appearing more concerned about the size of the heels on the shoes of some employees bring into question whether they're spending attention on the important parts of the business? Wouldn't that make most people ask how competant they are?

I think it refers more to shops etc - apparently men will spend more if the sales assistant is flashing plenty of leg & cleavage...

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
I think it refers more to shops etc - apparently men will spend more if the sales assistant is flashing plenty of leg & cleavage...

I can think of quite a few men who would simply put the goods down and flee at the point they thought the assistant was flirting with them.

[Hot and Hormonal]

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Lost in Space

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Brenda Clough
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Go and look at one of the many photographs on line of the confirmation hearings in the US. A white male cabinet nominee who looks like a snapping turtle is, mysteriously, surrounded by comely women. They could of course be his aides. But all of them, hotties? No. It's optics. I may have the face of a diseased reptile, but see, I attract cute women! Vote for me!
Or consider the phenomenon of the trophy wife. I, a decrepit lizard, am still so virile, so powerful, that this adorable creature has vowed to love me forever! I must be wonderful!

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
I think it refers more to shops etc - apparently men will spend more if the sales assistant is flashing plenty of leg & cleavage...

That would presumably be the small minority of men who are in the shop on their own, and not wanting to buy what they need as quickly as possible. Certainly not the much larger number of men being dragged around the shop by their wife/girlfriend/partner who would risk a slap around the ear (or, worse, no sex that evening) for doing anything that would show they've noticed the said attributes of the sales assistant.

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Penny S
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One of the women who phoned in today was an estate agent, and was required to wear high heels. Now, I can see this as an office based thing (though remember, anywhere, high heels affect the skeleton, and the softer tissues involved in holding it together and moving it), but in taking people around houses? Surely more appropriate footwear could be employed for that?

Mainly for enabling the woman to move well and safely, but I wouldn't think much of someone trampling over people's laminates, parquet, and oriental rugs in stilettos.

another business required its receptionists to wear their hair in a tight bun (which they complained hurt their scalps), or, if too short for that, in a ponytail (measured by some senior woman to see if it was long enough for a bun). I note a significant absence of style in that code. What happened to neat short hair?

Mention was also made of "Trump's women", and this was criticised. But they are showing the sort of appearance that does not send the message that their intelligence and skill is what matters about them. Not just the shoes, but also the hair are not working gear.

[ 25. January 2017, 15:27: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Call me naive, but I would have thought that any customer (whether a man, woman, or faceless corporation) checking out a potential supplier would start by checking their competance - re spending attention on the important parts of the business?

You are naive. There are a number of factors beyond the purely practical affect decisions. Sex is one.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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It would already be illegal in Canada to require women to dress in the ways described. Employers must ensure that any dress code does not offend the dignity of anyone. Specifically you cannot subject female employees to more difficult requirements than males, and you may not require them to dress provocatively to attract business. Sounds very sensible for the UK to emerge into the 21st century with this.

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Brenda Clough
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But, even in Canada, this must exclude businesses in which women are required, as a condition of employment, to wear certain things. At Hooters, for instance, or at strip clubs. Or consider actresses; if you're starring in Chicago you are not going to be on stage in running shoes.

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M.
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Isn't part of the point that it already is illegal under the Equality Act? Presumably women aren't taking employers to tribunals.

M.

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Penny S
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On account of it having suddenly got very expensive to do so.
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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Call me naive, but I would have thought that any customer (whether a man, woman, or faceless corporation) checking out a potential supplier would start by checking their competance - can they supply the goods/services needed?

I dunno, if I was in the market for a car, the manufacturers would be trying to attract my attention through moodily-lit shots of their car driving on the wrong side of the road along a mountain pass, or cruising along some sunnily-lit boulevard frequented by women in evening dress. Questions of competence, such as 'the dephaser pulley won't break after the warranty period has ended', don't feature very prominently at all ...

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QLib

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
But, even in Canada, this must exclude businesses in which women are required, as a condition of employment, to wear certain things. At Hooters, for instance, or at strip clubs. Or consider actresses; if you're starring in Chicago you are not going to be on stage in running shoes.

Obviously, it's a different thing if the clothing (or lack of it) is a necessary part of the job.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by QLib:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
But, even in Canada, this must exclude businesses in which women are required, as a condition of employment, to wear certain things. At Hooters, for instance, or at strip clubs. Or consider actresses; if you're starring in Chicago you are not going to be on stage in running shoes.

Obviously, it's a different thing if the clothing (or lack of it) is a necessary part of the job.
ISTM that this case is about whether it's actually reasonable for such clothing to be a necessary part of the job. Especially at the Hooters end of the employment spectrum.

And to take the Hooters example, I can definitely see how bars where the waitresses wear skimpy clothing might do better business than ones where they don't. Most men in happy relationships don't tend to go out drinking every night.

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Brenda Clough
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And suppose the boss says to the secretary that it is a part of her job to wear heels. And a low neckline. If he says it is part of the job to be eye candy.

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The Phantom Flan Flinger
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
I think it refers more to shops etc - apparently men will spend more if the sales assistant is flashing plenty of leg & cleavage...

That would presumably be the small minority of men who are in the shop on their own, and not wanting to buy what they need as quickly as possible. Certainly not the much larger number of men being dragged around the shop by their wife/girlfriend/partner who would risk a slap around the ear (or, worse, no sex that evening) for doing anything that would show they've noticed the said attributes of the sales assistant.
Personally, if I'm shopping on my own, I don't even consider buying from a shop where the sales assistant isn't flashing her knickers as I walk in the door, because, like all men, I really am that shallow!!! [/irony]

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:


And that good old standby "Why isn't is sexist for men to have to wear ties".

It is. There are some workplaces where the dress code for men is far harsher than for women, but more often it's the other way around.

Certainly places I've worked have expected men to wear at the very least shirt and tie and preferably suit and smart shoes, while women could get away with dark jeans, tailored t-shirt and open toe sandals. Certainly women could go bare-legged in the summer when men got pulled up for daring to come to work in (smart, tailored) shorts. Thankfully my current employer says very little about work wear, and only a (female) colleague who turned up in hotpants got a talking to.

It's probably an artefact of who is in charge - in areas of work like man with a lot of female managers there dress codes for men tend to be harsher; in others (most, I should say) where men tend to be in charge, the dress codes penalise women. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was a severe gender skew in the low-level clerical and customer-facing roles that have these sorts of dress codes.

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orfeo

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Alan, I think they're not merely aiming for the conscious decisions of men, but the unconscious ones. Men being attracted to pretty women and judging them to be "more competent" simply because interacting with them was a more pleasurable experience.

Which is irrational, but there is ample evidence we all do it. Taller people get higher salaries, etc.

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by The Phantom Flan Flinger:
The article itself is fair enough - some of the comments are abhorrent.

Comments on news articles make me despair of humanity.

Being sent home for not wearing high heels. FFS.


Well done MPs. I can't believe it is 2017 and men still think they can tell women what is appropriate and not appropriate to where. Sure, have standards [at my work they are loose...I rock up in summer in shorts - surprised no-one has lodged a complaint about my pasty white legs], but when it comes to the cut of a blouse or the length of a heel your wishes and perverted fantasies have no place.

[ 25. January 2017, 20:10: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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Penny S
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And especially not being told to unbutton the top of a blouse, and choose a tighter fitting one.

I suppose the equivalent would be telling a man to unbutton down towards the waist and embellish with a gold pendant. Bet that hasn't happened.

[ 25. January 2017, 20:22: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Bishops Finger
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[Projectile]

One fairly recent development (perhaps surprising, given our climate) in acceptable workwear in the UK is the now common sight of posties (male and female) in shorts. Very smart they look, too (mostly!), IMHO.

I presume they all have a choice, though.

IJ

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Penny S
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And in January!

In the cold winter, with that sort of dampness that gets into your clothes and clings to your skin, and the wind blowing from the north, and me typing away so it has taken long enough to get posted.

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Bishops Finger
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Hmm. I'll have a look next time I'm out and about, but I think the posties are sensibly wearing long trousers at the moment! They do seem, though, to sport their nicely-creased shorts in all weathers during much of the year...

IJ

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Arethosemyfeet
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If you're likely to be getting wet, shorts are generally a better bet than trousers anyway.
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Penny S
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I have definitely seen shorts hereabouts. Though they look more like cargo pant shorts than neatly creased ones.
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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
[Projectile]

One fairly recent development (perhaps surprising, given our climate) in acceptable workwear in the UK is the now common sight of posties (male and female) in shorts. Very smart they look, too (mostly!), IMHO.

I presume they all have a choice, though.

IJ

Not *that* recent - I was a relief postman in the 1990s and shorts were common then - all through the year. It's a machismo thing - postmen who wear shorts all year round IME actually do openly mock the male postmen that don't. Source of much *hilarious* banter about the sexuality of the long trousered ones in the 5am sorting office. I'm not joking, this is actually a thing.

So next time you see a postman struggling through the January rain in shorts, ask yourself if he actually wants to be wearing the shorts, or just feels he needs to conform so as to have an easier life with his workmates.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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When I read about these extreme dress codes, I feel like I need to check the calendar.

I cannot get my head around the sort of thought process that would make an employer want to force his or her female employees into a particular style of footwear that has known health implications and which is avoided by a good number of women for reasons of health and comfort.

I was amazed to learn that this is actually a thing.

It makes no sense at all. Apart from the possibility that they're just twats.

[ 26. January 2017, 10:37: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Bishops Finger
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betjemaniac - the 1990s are recent to me!

Shame about the machismo thing, though. Point taken, but if I were a postie, I would never wear shorts, no matter the innuendo etc. My Knees And Legs Are Not Suitable For Public Viewing (they would frighten children, doggies etc.).

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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Alas, the number of twats in the world is very large, larger than anyone knew.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
And especially not being told to unbutton the top of a blouse, and choose a tighter fitting one.

I suppose the equivalent would be telling a man to unbutton down towards the waist and embellish with a gold pendant. Bet that hasn't happened.

Or insist a man wears trousers so tight you can tell his religion.

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My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Pigwidgeon

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If a woman is required to wear Melania-type heels and subsequently falls and breaks a leg, I hope she can sue the company as well as collecting worker's compensation (or the U.K. equivalent).

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Leorning Cniht
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It is reasonable to require people to dress to a certain level of formality, to have a neat and tidy, well-maintained appearance and so on. It is reasonable for a firm of accountants, for example, to want their people to look businesslike when they encounter a client.

It may or may not be rational to believe that smart people do better work than scruffy ones, but that doesn't matter - people aren't rational.

The sexism enters because the expectations for business dress aren't symmetric. For a lot of people, heels and makeup are just part of looking smart for a woman, so if they see a woman in flats without makeup, they think she hasn't made an effort. They'd probably respond in the same way to a man who showed up to work with day-old stubble on his face.

Personally, I'd make heels and makeup purely optional, and never mind your sexist preconceptions about what "smart" looks like, but I can see where people come from on the other side of this discussion.

Slightly separate is the case of young, attractive women being expected to flaunt themselves as eye-candy. Whilst sexy and smart have overlap, they aren't the same thing, and being asked to dress sexily should be clearly out of bounds (unless what you're selling is sex.)

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Hiro's Leap

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Alan, I think they're not merely aiming for the conscious decisions of men, but the unconscious ones. Men being attracted to pretty women and judging them to be "more competent" simply because interacting with them was a more pleasurable experience.

I suspect many men love to try and impress attractive saleswomen with displays of big spending (or else are scared to look mean). Art galleries seem to use this tactic a lot.
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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by Pigwidgeon:
If a woman is required to wear Melania-type heels and subsequently falls and breaks a leg, I hope she can sue the company as well as collecting worker's compensation (or the U.K. equivalent).

The company should supply the shoes then they can be sued if wearing them results in injury. Rather like the Gulf war syndrome victims suing the MOD, erm... like not a hope in hell.

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. full stop for the purpose of leaving gap under post.
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Penny S
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Further information. Letter in the Guardian
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Do people even notice women's heel length? I'm pretty sure I don't!

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Penny S
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I've noticed the Trumps' heels. And their hair.
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Bishops Finger
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I wouldn't normally notice heels either, but some time ago, the young Mum at a baptism at Our Place turned up wearing 9-inch heels... [Eek!]

They were hard not to notice, especially given the length of leg they were supporting.....

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Brenda Clough
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They need to be worn properly -- with expensive hose, and a tight short skirt. With these accessories their purpose becomes clear.

Teetering on high heels you are unable to run, unable even to walk very fast; certain surfaces (cork floors, lawns, mud or sand) are completely impassable. Your behind sways with every step in an enticing way that you cannot control. You cannot bend over to pick up anything, and you cannot carry anything heavy. You are signalling sexual availability and vulnerability; chase me, I'm ready to be caught!

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Pigwidgeon

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Walking over grates is a bit of a problem as well. A few years ago at an English Cathedral (I won't say which one, since it certainly wasn't their fault) a woman had her shoe eaten by a hungry grate as she was headed to Evensong. She stood there looking helpless as a kindly man came to her rescue. The "damsel in distress" bit wears thin very quickly.

(As I hurried by in my sensible shoes I was able to control myself and not snicker.)

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."
~Tortuf

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Do people even notice women's heel length? I'm pretty sure I don't!

You probably do notice without consciously recognising it. Perhaps not as far as noting the exact hieght, but high vs low heels. They accentuate the calves and change how one walks. They are designed to bring notice.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

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Brenda Clough
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Precisely. They may indeed operate at a level lower (as it were) than rational thought. In the same way that red lipstick does -- a signal of sexual availability, appearing more naturally among monkeys.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Really? I've never found anything specifically sexy about them or the way women walk wearing them when I have noticed them.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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balaam

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When I find a woman attractive heel height has nothing to do with it. They look equally attractive in flats, sometimes more so, as some do not hold themselves in an attractive way.

balaam — providing the sexist perspective

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Fearfully and wonderfully mad

ن
blog

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Huia
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# 3473

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And then there are women like me who take a small sized shoe. If I were to wear a 4 inch heel only a part of the pads of my toes would actually be in contact with the ground. If wanted to walk on tippy toes I would have trained to be a ballet dancer (except I'd fail there too because I'm too short [Waterworks] ).

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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