High heels
The high-heels theory was tested by showing 82 men pictures of women in heels or flats - Representational image Getty

It's not the sky-high heels but the way they make a woman arch her back may attract men, a new study has claimed.

Explaining the function of high-heeled shoes for women and their association with sexuality, researchers suggested that men had a likening for women in shoes, especially when the footwear made the back arch close to 45 degrees.

According to reports, the findings of the study published in Frontiers in Psychology suggested that the arched back might be linked to "men's perceptions of women's attractiveness or openness to mating advances". Such suggestions, however, has drawn strong feedback from a popular face, who believes the study is "dangerous" and appropriates "rape culture".

Actress Nicola Thorp, who became a household name as Pat Phelan's secret daughter on Coronation Street, has slammed the study, raising questions like "Why does the study only look at men who find women attractive?"

"The choice to wear high heels has nothing to do with consent," the actress told Mirror Online stating her point of view. "I doubt any woman has ever put on a pair of heels thinking 'I want to show them I'm ready for sex'".

"The suggestions they make in the study (from what I've read) are dangerous and appropriate rape culture," she said adding, "I'd say then that personal sexual preference is exactly that-personal. People of all sexualities are attracted to different things."

Thorp, who famously made it to the headlines after she was sent home without pay for refusing to wear high heels to work at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), reflected on the norm of wearing heels to work. She said, "I'm not anti-heels in any way, but I argue against employers who explicitly or implicitly, and illegally, force women to wear them against their will."

Nicola Thorp
Nicola Thorp attends the Inside Soap Awards held Getty

Linking all this to the latest study by a group of authors (led by Dr David Lewis of Murdoch University in Australia), the actress added: "The study shows there is a sexualised element to high heels, and if a person feels sexy wearing heels then great! I know that wearing them every day can cause long-term damage, I don't need a study to tell me that. Last Friday night told me that!"

The high-heels theory was tested by showing 82 men pictures of women in heels or flats. However, the picture didn't show their ankles.

As per the study since "no high-heeled shoes were present in any of the Study 2 stimuli, the current findings cannot be explained by an association between high-heeled footwear and perceptions of women's sexuality, a media-constructed preference for high-heeled shoes, or any other reason that men might have a preference for the shoes themselves."

"For the same reason, hypotheses suggesting that high heels influence men's judgments of women because of the appearance or colour of the shoes cannot account for the current findings."