Red High Heeled Shoes

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Not sure if Freud had something to say about this but there's something about a red high-heeled shoe that is very, very sexy. Perhaps because it's a blend of red; the traditional colour of passion and the general sex-appeal of heels....or maybe something else.

According to a study by psychologist's at the University of Rochester,  "the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women", although the men themselves may not be conscious of it. And it's not just human males that are affected, as non-human male primates also respond amorously to red. There seems to be some sort of deep-rooted biological imperative going on there.

The Colour Red Attracts Men to Women

An Excitable Colour
Sexier version of Dorothy's shoes by Leg Avenue
The colour red and it's connections with femininity has featured significantly in Western culture - it's the hue of the scarlet woman, the Jezebel, who likes to be noticed and admired. It's the colour of Valentine's Day - symbolic of love and desire.

Red lips are associated with heightened sexuality (the result of a rush of blood to the area)..a fact that didn't escape the attention of the lipstick manufacturers. Traditionally, when women want to look attractive they colour their lips and cheeks  red.

Red shoes too, appear in our stories and fairytales...

Red is the colour of Dorothy's shoes in the Wizard of Oz, which, when clicked, spirit her away to the safety and reassurance of home in Kansas.

Unstoppable Shoes
Poster for The Archers 1948 film, The Red Shoes
In the mid 19th century, Hans Christian Anderson wrote a fairytale about a young peasant girl whose vanity leads her to obsess over a pair of red shoes "fit for a Princess". The girl wears the shoes everywhere, even to church, where the holy images seem to frown in disapproval.

A soldier makes a  remark about her beautiful dancing shoes and she begins to dance..and dance and dance, to the point where she cannot stop. The shoes assume a life-force of their own and the poor exhausted girl is forced to dance everywhere - over hills, down dales and through meadows and towns.

At one point an angel appears and informs her she will have to keep dancing even after she dies, as a warning to other girls who may be inclined toward the same sort of vanity. Finally the girl begs an executioner to sever her feet from her body, which he does but the shoes continue to dance with her severed feet inside, barring her way when she tries to enter a church. When she tries again the following week, she is again barred by the shoes. Desolate in her home, she prays sincerely to God and redeems herself to the angel, who relents and offers her a spray of roses.

So what is the moral here? Beware of funky red shoes in shop windows? Hmmm...

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