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Re: Girl child and leg health

By Helen Ovbiagele

Understandably, more ladies reacted to this write-up than men.  Many women and young ladies felt that the way we  in the developing world  ape our sisters in the western world is not in our best interest.  Not only in what we eat and wear, but in our social lives and character.

What has happened to our own thoughts and style?  We were a lot healthier on our own before the West came and took charge of everything about our lives, some readers say.

Well, in every culture, there’s the good and the bad.  It’s left to us to pick what agrees with us and improves our mental and general well-being.

We thank all those sisters, and a few men who took the trouble to send us their views.

‘Sister Helen, thanks for your write-up, drawing attention to our leg health.  I’m in my LATE fifties.  In our twenties, I and my friends had tottered around on stiletto heels and platform heels, (the higher the better) because it seemed the fashionable and civilized  thing to do.  We were mostly influenced by what we read and saw in foreign magazines and films.  When the film ‘CLEOPATRA’ was the rave in the sixties, many women, young and old, copied  Elizabeth Taylor’s unique eye make-up of elongated eyebrows and darkened and pronounced eye-liner. That was until the mini, midi and maxi dress lengths took over our interests.  We were all anxious to be ‘with it’.  This is normal amongst young people, as you well know.  Of course there were accidents from those high-heeled shoes, as girls fell over, or the heel got stuck in grates or cracked pavements, etc.  Our feet and even waists  hurt horribly,  but we were young and took it all in our strides.  However, if I were to be young all over again, I’ll give such heels a wide berth.  They’re very dangerous to one’s health.  That’s all I’ll say.  Thanks – Mrs Moji, Lagos.’

Madam, your write-up was okay, ma, but please don’t spoil our fun.  You said that you and your age-mates, in your youth, wore high-heeled shoes.  You must have enjoyed what you were doing, otherwise you wouldn’t have done it.  High heels not only give a girl some height (especially if she needs it) and makes her elegant, it makes her stand out in the crowd.  It’s fun to wear them.   Wearing them is an art in itself, in that you have to master how to walk in them well to enhance your style.

I work in a finance institution where appropriate dressing is required of you to show self-confidence and efficiency.  Low heels won’t help you achieve this.  Imagine going on  business visits for your organization, and you walk into the office of a prospective client on flat heels!  You’ll look ancient, and the person won’t be interested.  Your appearance, poise and confidence help a lot in these things.  I’m sure, ma, that you understand what I mean.  I pray I don’t develop all those inconveniences associated with wearing high-heels that you mentioned in your article, but meanwhile, I want to enjoy my youth.  Nana, Port Harcourt.’

‘We’ve read, madam Helen, what you have to say concerning high-heels and the health of the girl child.  I’m a man, so, I can’t say whether your argument against it is sound or not, but I do support your view that our children, not only girls, should be allowed enough years of childhood innocence before throwing them into the adult world.

Have you noticed how very young children dance erotically and suggestively in public?   I’m sure the poor things don’t know the sort of image that they’re projecting, writhing away like that.  We even see this on television when they film children’s parties.  It’s disgusting, and could lead to child molestation by those with evil minds, who are watching.

Our campaign against the child abuse of sending children out to hawk on the streets, exposing them to all sorts of danger, should include exposing our little children to adult ways when they’re still of an impressionable age.  – Stan, Aba.’

‘Ma, I’m a head teacher, and I totally agree with you about young girls and high heels.  I gave a talk once at a PTA meeting, and most of the parents there that day, were having none of it.  They said it wasn’t an academic or moral problem and it wasn’t worth deliberating upon.  I and some of my staff felt sad and helpless.  Some parents see nothing wrong in a girl of 8 wearing spaghetti top to social events.  One parent said it’s when we try to cramp the style of young people that they derail, since most of them want to fit in with their mates.  She said she herself wears high heels and they haven’t affected her health in any way.  It’s time for leg health experts to come out to discuss this and counsel the general public on the damage that wearing high heels cause to the spine, back, waist and general well-being.  Mrs. Ayinde, Ilorin.’

Helen, I’m not a pessimist,but I don’t think your write-up against the wearing of high-heels will be heeded, just like experts’ campaign against bleaching is not being heeded by our women.  Out there, you see many cases of botched attempts to lighten the skin and be like ‘oyinbo’; horrible patches of coloured skin.    I don’t know where our women got this impression that being light-skinned is what makes one beautiful.

Even some men do bleach their skin.  At any given time in history, high-heels shoes are bad for one, male or female.  Yes, there was a time when it was fashionable for men to wear high wedged shoes!  Even if you’re able to master how to walk smartly in heels, you do damage to your spine with every step you take.  Next are the extremely pointed shoes, imported from Asia,  that have been on the market for some time now.  I wear them myself because they come with handbags to match.  Thankfully, they’re not high.  But the pointed area for the toes are so narrow that they crush your feet and get them out of shape, not to mention the development corn.  I think health experts need to come out and advise us.  Thanks.  Christine, Enugu’.

Madam, stiletto heels and high wedges are bad for the health.  There’s been no doubt about this, even in the western countries where it came from.   Even here in Nigeria, only adults used to wear them.  Now, I see primary school pupils staggering around in them!

This baffles me.  What are their parents trying to prove by allowing them to endanger their health this way?

When the problem of twisted spine, hurting back or dodgy knees surface, these kids will suffer enormously.  Public awareness of this danger should be embarked upon right now, and teachers should be trained to give talks on them, so that they can correct their wards on the spot when they wear them to school social events.

‘The western countries have always recommended ‘sensible’ shoes.  Most models and showbiz ladies commute about in their ‘sensible’ shoes, carrying their stiletto-heel shoes in a hold-all bag, to wear when necessary.

‘I’ve lived in Britain all my life. You don’t see young girls on high heels.  God help us in this country. – May, Abuja.’


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.