History of the Heels

modern high heel

This week I observed something that burdened my heart. A young gal, maybe 18 or 19, whom I thought had taken good counsel before, showed that as the ol saying goes “went in one ear and out the other.” Sister L, we’ll call her, is a kind of leader in our church, especially to her peers. But before we get more into that let’s look at current worldly fashions in our church and specifically –the ladies high heel shoes.

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but — which becometh women professing godly piety — through good works.”(1 Tim. 2:9-10)

We are going to really get down and study this issue because the Lord has placed it on my heart to awake many of our sisters who for one reason or  another just cannot fathom  how “converted” Christians should come before the Lord.

We are told to be converted and to have a new spirit and mind. In other words things of the world, including fashion– must go. For a personal example, music was my worldly love prior to being converted. Just as many women love fashion as their worldly love. But one day the Lord convicted me of my idol and I grabbed the large outside trash can and went into the house and threw everything that was worldly music (CD’s, Albums, Tapes) into the trash. I never looked back.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Once we declare to our heavenly Father we are His, by Christ’s brutal death for us–we change. Our old ways go away–at least that is the plan of God. But unfortunately many want both worlds! Again Scripture warns us–

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

It’s the perfect deadly storm, with some saying secretly in their soul, “I want Christ but the world’s attractions I cannot ignore, Oh Lord help me to do both.”

Peer pressure is very powerful. We all remember our youthful days when we wanted to be liked and accepted. But we also remember our caring teachers, even those who were more stern than we liked, but looking back we admired them for their uprightness and firmness to showing us the right way the best path. The same applies to our youth in the church. They need help , they need guidance from our leaders.

Yet the Lord knows that today, our SDA church is filled with misguided shepherds. They “look the other way” at worldly snares that come into the Lord’s church. Jeremiah relayed the case in our church today–

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. (Jer. 23:1)

Today one of the most common and observable worldly fashions prevalent in the Lord’s sanctuary is the high heel shoes.  When you couple that with the miniskirt ( above the knees), voila– you have a strikingly similar dressed gal, to a night club gal! That’s right.

Back in the day  before being renewed in mind and spirit, I was often found in the clubs on a Friday or Saturday night, I remember quite clearly what we considered in style there. Yes high heels and short dresses. And that didn’t mean way above the knees, just above them.

Scriptures clearly tells us we are not to be viewed (seen) as a worldling. We are to be different.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)

Of all the shoes in the women’s world, I can think of no other that resembles the worldly fashion. We see executive women with them, we see professional women with them, we see teachers with them, we see night club gals with them. They are THE WORLD FASHION, the “in” thing to wear.

Let’s look at the history of them.

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Men were the first sex to don the shoe. They were adopted by the European aristocracy of the 1600s as a signal of status.  The logic was: only someone who didn’t have to work could possibly go around in such impractical footwear.  (Interestingly, this was the same logic that encouraged footbinding in China.)

Women started wearing heels as a way of trying to appropriate masculine power.  In the BBC article on the topic, Elizabeth Semmelhack, who curates a shoe museum, explains:

In the 1630s you had women cutting their hair, adding epaulettes to their outfits…

They would smoke pipes, they would wear hats that were very masculine. And this is why women adopted the heel — it was in an effort to masculinise their outfits.

The lower classes also began to wear high heels, as fashions typically filter down from elite.

How did the elite respond to imitation from “lesser” people: women and workers?  First, the heels worn by the elite became increasingly high in order to maintain upper class distinction.  And, second, heels were differentiated into two types: fat and skinny. Fat heels were for men, skinny for women.

This is a beautiful illustration of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of class distinction.  Bourdieu argued that aesthetic choices function as markers of class difference.  Accordingly, the elite will take action to present themselves differently than non-elites, choosing different clothing, food, decor, etc.  Expensive prices help keep certain things the province of elites, allowing them to signify their power; but imitation is inevitable.  Once something no longer effectively differentiates the rich from the rest, the rich will drop it.  This, I argue elsewhere, is why some people care about counterfeit purses (because it’s not about the quality, it’s about the distinction).

Eventually men quit wearing heels because their association with women tainted their power as a status symbol for men.  (This, by the way, is exactly what happened withcheerleading, originally exclusively for men).  With the Enlightenment, which emphasized rationality (i.e., practical footwear), everyone quit wearing high heels.

What brought heels back for women? Pornography.  Mid-nineteenth century pornographers began posing female nudes in high heels, and the rest is history. (Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions.)

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The above article is typical of the reports on these shoes. Now, I ask you, do you see Christ in this? Do you see modesty in this? Or do you see prestige, self glory and worldly style? Disturbingly these shoes have a solid history associated with prostitution! What is a converted Christ loving woman doing wearing such things? Just like my trash can experience, all gals reading this should seriously consider pulling that trash can out as well. Believe me you’ll be very much blessed.

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ” (Matt. 6:20)

Ok back to our sister L. I had observed her as a young lady striving to walk the walk. She gave a really good sermon about 3 months ago and I figured she would be the one to get some CD’s and DVD’s of the Lord last message to us–the Elijah message. So about 6 weeks ago during lunch I handed her some present truth along with a blog post on dressing for God in His sanctuary.

She seemed pleased to receive them. The reason I chose her was because she seemed as one of the young leaders of the church. Some other young gals were really dressing badly with the club outfits on. So I gently told her that she could review these reports and maybe discus with her friends. She happily agreed.

Over the course of the next few weeks she seemed to have a influence on some of them. Not a great big difference but I did see some improvement. Then this last week,   a typical night club goer would have definitely kept their eyes on sister L that’s for sure! So here we stand. I have prayed to the Lord and supped with Him on this and this is the reason for this post, to warn of this immodest behavior in God’s house.

Some may ask–“What about a moderate heel”? Again the word modesty comes into play. Take a look at this look and see if we can see modesty? From a personal view I see modesty and presentable dress before the Lord.

low heeled shoes

Another factor that comes into serious concern is that of a woman’s health. There are many many health reports showing some short term and long term physical damage done by wearing high heels. SOP gives us God’s word as well-

“I beg of our people to walk carefully and circumspectly before God. Follow the customs in dress so far as they conform to health principles.” (Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p.242)

For a good report on the physical ramification of wearing high heels click here- https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/09/do-high-heels-damage-your-feet/

To sum up,  our sisters should ask this one question– “Does my dress appear modest or worldly before the Lord?”  One thing is certain the high heels have a long and sure history of not only being “worldly” but a standard footwear for the prostitutes. And believe me Christ knows this and we should as well!

My beloved, all we can do is warn, we cannot by compulsion make them do what they do not want to do. Jesus warned the wrong doers but He never haggled them or pressured them. We simply do our job and let the results be what may.

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” Ezek. 3:18.

As we posted recently, we as Seventh-day Adventists are to “strive with all power God has given us to be among the 144,000” and to be among the Lord’s remnant people prepared to give the very soon to come Loud Cry. To be sure, all that are found unconverted will not stand in the church judgment. 

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (Romans 12:1)

“In all things we are to be representatives of Him. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity.” (Testimonies, Vol. 6, p.96)

Lastly, the Chinese have an old saying, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Why don’t you young ladies who are reading this report take that same trash can idea that I did and get a truly God felt blessing that really lasts?  You may very well find that the all-seeing Lord gives you much more than you give up!

 

 

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2 Responses to “History of the Heels”

  1. rene Says:

    Excellent article brother, our sisters need this type of teaching and admonition.

  2. godsloveandlaw Says:

    So true. These little things are really big things to the Lord.

    “Oh, how important it is that faithfulness in little things characterize our lives, that true integrity mark all our course of action, and that we ever bear in mind that angels of God are taking cognizance of every act!” (Testimonies, vol. 2, p.158)

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