Thursday, January 1, 2009
The unique features of the human foot namely, heel, inside arch, and big toe have according to anthropologists made upright posture possible. Standing on two feet allowed hands to develop and some authorities consider this was the reason why the human brain became more complex. The expansion and elaboration of the brain certainly followed the development of the foot by several million years leaving many to conclude feet are key to human evolution. Bipedal stance has influenced the anatomical development of buttocks and bosoms; legs and thighs, as well as tummies and hips and the foot has played a major role in the evolution and development of other erogenous features of the human body. Singularly we remain the only species capable of copulation standing up and facing each other. Sigmund Freud, considered the development of upright stance led to display the primary and secondary sexual characteristics and humans perfected sight over the other sense as a result. Wilder Penfield, a twentieth century neuro-surgeon identified the parts of the brain responsible for organsmic activity, lay in close juxtaposition to the section responsible for feet, thereby establishing a strong erotic association. Anatomically the foot is one of the most innervated parts of the body and is as tactile as the hands. So there can be no surprise most people enjoy the sensual aspects of the feet in both pain and pleasure. The word shoe (Anglo Saxon: scoe) means to cover furtively and from the beginning shoes represent outwardly a non-verbal sign of gender, presence, and personality. Clothing was the safest way to determine a persons’ character at a distance and took on significant meaning from pre history onwards. Once the naughty bits were covered up it was possible to determine male from female by the visible extremities i.e. head and feet. Prehistoric people decorated and scarified their skins to protect themselves from imaginary evil spirits. These patterns were inevitably incorporated into clothing designs and used as talisman with significant social and spiritual meaning. Such designs are clearly visible today in the brogue patterns worn in shoes. Victors also kept trophies of the vanquished, such testicles. These remain in the form of shoes tassels on loafers. Rank, occupation and wealth were also encoded into clothing and shoes were no exception. Unshod feet in Roman times was the mark of slaves and only male citizens had the right to wear sandals. Military station was depicted by the height of boot on the leg and from early biblical times elevated sandals were worn by sex workers.