Standing Tall, the Stiletto Heel as Material Memory: A Contemporary
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Employing a material culture analysis, this dissertation functions as a general compendium on the stiletto heel, as it recounts the history of the stiletto from its introduction as a technological marvel in the post-WWII period to its present-day manifestations as a glamourous accessory. It surveys womens relations to stiletto heels and the reasons why women wear, and do not wear, them. Through a comparative cross-cultural analysis, the study examines a group of Canadian and Italian womens uses and perceptions of stiletto heels, and reveals cultural distinctions manifested in their uses and interpretations of stilettos. The womens personal relations to and cultural interpretations of the stiletto were measured through a phenomenological analysis of material collected through surveys, interviews and online forums. The study also considers the general sentiments stilettos engender in regard to the portrayal of women in society and the feminist discourses that the stiletto challenges and reinforces.