This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Baldeep Grewal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

7 Much Ignored Ill Effects Of Wearing High Heels: A Thing Of Beauty Is Not A Joy Forever

By Baldeep Grewal:

Everybody wants to look good, be attractive; to turn heads and capture hearts. In a world where appearances are everything, even more so. Women are not called the ‘fairer sex’ for nothing. We fit ourselves into tight, fashionable clothes, curl our eyelashes and open our hair; just to find a nice, enviable position in the mould of society. Poets struggle to put feminine beauty into words and writers dedicate words just to describe the curl of a single strand of hair.

However, somewhere along the line, the beauty of the female form has become objectified. It has become a fetish of the capitalist world.

high heels

High heels are just one of the many components in the average woman’s wardrobe that she invests in to enhance her physical appearance. Psychologist Paul Morris from the University of Portsmouth wrote that high heels enhance the feminine gait and make a woman walk even more like a member of the female species. The breast and the hips get thrust outwards while the legs look longer and sleeker. This makes the woman attractive since men generally like an exaggerated female figure as observed by fashion historian Caroline Cox.

Beauty comes at a price. Here are 7 facts of just how expensive high heels are:

  • Regular use of high heels causes shortening and cramping of the calf muscles. Some muscles of the foot are over stretched while others are over contracted, which cause pain and abnormal muscle formation.
  • The Achilles tendon gets abnormally tightened which results in pain and even chronic damage.
  • Since the arch of the foot is heightened and stretched, the shock absorption ability of the foot is reduced, making the person more prone to knee and hip injuries.
  • The body’s weight is concentrated on the balls of the feet instead of being distributed evenly over the whole foot. This increases the risk of developing hairline fractures in the joints just behind one’s toes. This shift in the body weight makes other weight bearing joints vulnerable too. The joints in the knees, ankles, hips, spine and the neck are thrown off balance. In fact, a study found that the pressure on the knee joint increased by 26 percent in case of 1 inch heels, 57 percent in case of 2 inch heels and 76 percent in case of 3 inch heels. Literally staggering, isn’t it?
  • The cerebellum (that part of the brain which controls posture) cannot process the bent position of the foot. When a person is wearing high heels, the cerebellum assumes that the person is walking up an incline. It makes an inappropriate postural adjustment which makes walking in high heels up an imagined incline dangerous and difficult. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • The rigid back or the strap of the high heels causes a bony enlargement at the heel called Haglund’s deformity.
  • Nerves and minute muscles in the feet suffer swelling and permanent damage due to constricted blood flow.

While high heels enhance the outer beauty, they cause a lot more irreparable and invisible damage. The use of high heels has more to do with the psychological mindset of the person. In 2009, Tom Cruise’s daughter Suri stepped out wearing a pair of high heels at the tender age of 3. The kids’ fashion industry went overboard with its production of kids’ high heels styled along with adult models. According to market research company the NPD group, the sales of fashion footwear for girls grew by nine per cent that year. Now, high heel shoes for young girls is a $4 billion industry, thanks to the ‘mini-me’ craze of young daughters eager to emulate the style of their mothers. While many parents scoffed at Katie Holmes’ decision to let Suri wear high heels, a greater number gave in to the trend.

Personally, I feel that one’s personality should be luminescent enough on its own. Sure, it feels nice and pampered to wear good clothes and go sashaying in high heels. However, these things are just a confirmation of one’s inner beauty and not a justification of it.

Wobbly, painful steps look beautiful to only those eyes that can’t see beyond them. Natural beauty is not a commodity. Walk straight and true, with your eyes on the sky and your feet on the ground; every step an epitome of your inner worth and value. That is the true walk of a lady.

Photo Credit: sake028 via Compfight cc

You must be to comment.
  1. Saumya Sahni

    High heels do have their own share of problems. It is better that females take a cue from this so that bodily harm can be reduced. Inflicting pain on your body isn’t wise only to look beautiful.

    1. Baldeep Grewal

      exactly. Beauty should be effortless.

  2. Manan Grover

    Victoria Beckham, who is known to be the biggest fashion icon and known for her 6 inch stilletoes has underwent ankle surgeries becuase of continuosly wearing them. heels are meant to enhance woman’s beauty and not spoiling her health. One should not blindly follow fashion,instead chose whatever he/she is comfortable in.

  3. Olivia jones

    Indeed!I have heard about many poets who find it really difficult to describe the women beauty by words.

More from Baldeep Grewal

Similar Posts

By Pratisandhi Foundation

By You're Wonderful Project;

By Swati Saxena

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below