Female Foot in a High-Heeled Shoe


The PedCAT 3-D scan may transform the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems often caused by wearing high heels.

Specialists at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in North London, England were able to see that a foot is forced into an unnatural shape by this type of shoe. While there is an established connection between high heels and foot pain, this is the first time the effect of shoes on feet can be seen in real time.


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How Not to Teeter Totter on Heels


One way to learn how to balance and walk in your high heels is to take a “Stiletto Workout Class”. No guff.  In three-inch heels, you tighten your tummy, do kicks and squats, lift weights and perform ballet moves.  Nicole Demaris started these classes after observing women wobble all over New York City streets.

As the New York Times writer Hilary Howard’s husband balked, “You’re going to a stiletto class? That sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.”  But off to this workout class she went, right after she bought her first pair of very high heels! She claims she wasn’t sure what stilettos were, wondering if they were “those spindly things worn by fancy women who disappear rapidly into taxis?”

A stiletto workout?  After her first and last class, Hilary said, “It can be done”.  Check out studios around New York City. (ndgfit.com)


Shoe Ritual: The Latina’s “Sweet Fifteen”


The traditional rite of passage for Latinas is at age fifteen. Quinceañera, celebrated with a Catholic Mass and a fiesta, includes rituals symbolic of entry into responsible adulthood. The community watches as the girl’s father kneels at her feet and exchanges her flat shoes for high heels. Everyone treats her as an adult from then on.


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Growing Into High Heel Shoes


Tabatha Southey (tsouthey@globeandmail.com) wrote:

“When I was growing up, my mother used to say to me, both of us wearing our sensible Mary Janes, that her mother told her, ‘There’s nothing less appealing to a man than a woman in high heels. No man would ever want to be with a woman with pretty feet and a pained expression on her face.’

From a fairly early age, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, granny, I think we’re going to move in very different circles.’

At any rate, I grew up to wear high heels fairly frequently and whatever else it pleases me to wear. The only way in which what I choose to wear is problematic for me is if it invokes any patronizing assumptions that I require liberation from my footwear. And yes, I’ve thanked my mother for the 13 years of ballet that enable me to walk fairly well wearing the very shoes that bewilder her.”


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The Well-Heeled Heritage of Stilettos

“One of the best ways of damning a woman is saying she wears practical shoes,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. ‘On a Pedestal,’ a museum exhibit, examined two of the most extreme forms of Western footwear, the chopine and its successor, the high heel.

The sex appeal of the clunky chopine may not be immediately apparent, but it embodies the same ideals a pair of six-inch Louboutins do today, a simultaneous sense of power and that stalwart of femininity: impracticality. No sensible shoes here


Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum’s exhibition “On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels” ran from November 19, 2009 to September 20, 2010.

(pictured below) Venetian chopines, 16th century, on loan from Museo Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice, Italy

The tallest chopines come from Venice. Some, such as this pair, have pedestals measuring over 50 cm in height. These chopines corroborate the visual and textual evidence suggesting that some women actually wore chopines of such towering heights. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again.   Photograph © Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia



(pictured below) Milanese chopines, 16th century, on loan from Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy

These chopines are typically Italian in design. Their bases are of carved pine, tapering in the middle and flaring at the base to provide greater stability and are covered in white kid. The uppers are decorated with cutwork in patterns reminiscent of lace from the same period.  Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata – Castello Sforzesco, Milan. All rights reserved



Mall Walkers, Brazilian-Style


Kids like to go to the mall… Dressed in the latest cool fashion…Stroll around…Maybe buy something, maybe not… Look for friends. …Flirt a little…  Take pictures with cell phones.  Sound about right?

In SÃO PAULO Brazil, going to the (luxury) malls is not as easy as you would think.  If you are young and not white, your fashionable hat or shoes won’t be the ticket to get you through the entrance. Security guards may block you, ask for your ID card, and enquire, “What are you doing here?”

Mall walking in Brazil is called ‘rolezinho’. It has the charming translation of ‘little strolling’.  A rolezinho, however, is not little; it grows exponentially. Rolezinhos are publicized on Facebook.

  • In early December 2013 some 6,000 young people turned out at the Metrô Itaquera mall.
  • One week later, something similar happened at the Guarulhos International mall; 23 people were arrested (and later released without charges).

In response, the security around malls has increased:

  • Tightening security zones at entrances
  • Stopping ‘unaccompanied minors’
  • Checking documents
  • Stopping those ‘who looked suspicious though not underage’

From the beginning, the middle class has panicked. Shopkeepers have called 911. Restraining orders have been issued, even though there was no actual organized movement — nothing related to the political protests that swept across Brazilian cities in June. It is just kids connecting, walking around and singing.

Since the security crackdown, rolezinhos have been spreading fast: five more scheduled in São Paulo over the next two weeks, and other cities are planning solidarity events. On Tuesday, President Dilma Rousseff convened an emergency staff meeting on the issue.

So, how did this phenomenon come about?  The poor suburbs where many young people live are roughly two hours by bus from downtown, and they offer few free opportunities for entertainment. São Paulo has 64 parks and squares for a population of 10.8 million; 13 of the 96 city districts don’t have any green spaces at all. There are 40 cultural centers, 41 recreation centers and 23 public pools. Number of shopping malls: 79.

Many of the teenagers are fans of a Brazilian funk music called “funk ostentação,” whose lyrics speak of expensive clothes, cars, watches, women and money. Wearing flashy baseball caps, colorful tennis shoes, soccer jerseys, sunglasses and rings, they aspire to be part of the very consumer society that excludes them.

Tensions are high in and around the malls.


Adapted and quoted from:


The author of this article Vanessa Barbara, is a novelist and columnist for the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. She edits the literary website A Hortaliça.

For more details on the uptick in tension, check out:

“Brazil’s Latest Clash With Its Urban Youth Takes Place at the Mall” SÃO Paulo Journal: Jan. 19, 2014



“Friend and Foe March for Peace”


From: The Economist April 13, 2012

“With nothing tangible yet to show for six months of talking, public faith in the peace negotiations between Colombia’s government and the FARC guerrillas has shown signs of eroding. That prompted tens of thousands of Colombians, many of them dressed in white, to march in Bogotá on April 9th to show their support for the talks.

The march brought together some strange bedfellows: President Juan Manuel Santos was joined by politicians who are FARC fellow-travellers, and guerrilla victims rubbed shoulders with FARC political activists. The main dissenter was Álvaro Uribe, Mr. Santos’s predecessor, who has done his best to sabotage the talks. He complained that the march was a “deception” and that a peace agreement will allow the FARC to get away with murder.”

TODAY’S UPDATE, January 23, 2014:

Colombia’s government has stepped up military operations against FARC, killing 26 in a series of clashes since the weekend, according to the army.

Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica plans to meet in Havana with Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC guerrilla leaders to urge them to accelerate peace talks. “Never before in the 50 years since this confrontation began, has peace been so close.” said President Mujica.

The talks have been underway in Havana since November 2012, with preliminary agreements reached on two of five agenda points. Negotiators are currently discussing how to deal with drug trafficking, an industry that has fueled the conflict. Other issues that remain unresolved are compensation for victims of the conflict and the disarming of the rebel forces.


Stampeding to South Africa’s Doors of Learning


Eight thousand people queued for access to a narrow gate at the University of Johannesburg in January 2012.  The line was three-kilometers long. The writing was on the wall; however, applications exceeded positions by six or seven times. When the gate opened, the crowd moved forward.  A waiting mother who had accompanied her son to the campus was crushed underfoot. Her son had made it through the gate and was registering, unaware. Witnesses reported a lot of screaming and pushing.  When the gate broke, people tried to climb over the fence. Hours later, shoes and camping chairs littered the ground. Even after all of that, people were still standing in line hoping to register.

“The deadly stampede has exposed the failings of South Africa’s education system, where the legacy of apartheid and the mistakes of today’s government have combined to leave most students out in the cold.” (Geoffrey York, Johannesburg, for the Globe and Mail, January 11, 2012)



Tightly-Knit Community Marches through Pain of Loss


Three days after the school shooting rampage on February 27, 2012, students marched to Chardon High School in Ohio paying tribute to those killed and wounded.


The First Reconciliation Walk in Canada


Reconciliation isn’t a physical, visible thing. It happens in our hearts. But an intentional walk by ten thousand people to demonstrate the reality of reconciliation – that’s an example of ‘feet delivering a message’.

The four-kilometre walk through downtown Vancouver in September 2013, followed hearings by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a fact-finding commission set up between the Canadian government, victims of residential school abuse and various churches.

 Bernice King, daughter of the civil rights hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the chosen orator at the beginning of the march.  She outlined her vision that Canada would “be the great nation that it’s called to be.This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action,” She reminded them of her father’s words that human progress was neither automatic nor inevitable. “Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle.”  As she spoke about Canada’s destiny she emphasized leadership, action, community and mutuality.

There were further demonstrations: a lighting of a fire of reconciliation before the hearings began and a canoe gathering of all nations.