high·heels:  nounhī\ˈhēls

Footwear that raises the heel of the wearer’s foot to be significantly higher than the toes.  Can sometimes give the aesthetic illusion of longer, more slender legs.

During the 16th century, high heels were used as a status symbol.  European royalty such as Catherine de Medici and Mary I of England wore them to appear taller or larger than life. By 1580, men were also wearing high heels, and a person with authority or wealth was often referred to as “well-heeled”. “Dangerous Elegance: A History of High-Heeled Shoes”. Random History. Retrieved 1 July 2010.

From a functionality perspective, curators at the Bata Shoe Museum have traced use of the high heel back to horse riders in the Near East who used them to help hold the rider’s feet in the stirrups. Maribeth Keane and Bonnie Monte, Sex, Power, and High Heels: An Interview with Shoe Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, Collectors Weekly, 18 June 2010 

However, today, in our modern society, while high-heeled shoes are seen mainly as a component of women’s fashion, they are also a topic of controversy.  For while they can be appreciated for their beauty, craftsmanship or can even be viewed as ‘art’, they can also be seen as synonymous with sex and sex appeal.  High heels tend to force the body to tilt, which emphasizes the buttocks and breasts (typically thought to be the highlights of a western woman’s sexuality).   Thus, high heels have often been blamed for reducing women to ‘sex objects’ in that women often will sacrifice their personal comfort in favor of an alleged increase in sex appeal.  It has also been argued that high heels were designed to make women helpless and vulnerable, perpetuating the gender role of males as protectors of unsteady, teetering, slow-walking women.

But in the end, you can love them or hate them…but high heels have their place in the past, present and future.  And they are not going away!

soap·box: nounsōp-bäks

Hundreds of years ago when someone had something to say in public it was customary for them to stand atop a raised platform, such as a wooden crate or box so that they could be seen and heard by the masses.   These wooden boxes often had the word ‘soap’ printed on them, as they originally had been used for shipments of soap or other dry goods from a manufacturer to a retail store.

Historically, Hyde Park in London is known for its Sunday soapbox orators, who have assembled at Speakers’ Corner since 1872 to discuss religion, politics and other topics of controversy.  Throughout its history, the term soapboxing has been tied to the right to speak.

Today, a blog could be considered to be a modern form of the soapbox – a website on which a user publishes his/her thoughts to whoever wishes to read them.

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