Why is posing pigeon-toed suddenly in vogue?
FROM the diamonds in their ears to the couture gowns on their honed bodies and the hair on their immaculately coiffed heads, everything about an A-lister’s appearance on the red carpet is perfectly choreographed — including that all-important perfect pose for the cameras.
Why, then, are increasing numbers of female celebrities adopting a rather bizarre pigeon-toed stance?
The trend was kick-started by Gwyneth Paltrow in 2010, and has since been adopted by a whole host of women — from Hollywood actress Katie Holmes to high-powered human rights barrister Amal Clooney.
They have all recently been pictured with their hands hanging limply, knees knocked and toes turned awkwardly inwards; in short, the sort of stance you’d expect a particularly shy child to adopt.
Yet, while having pigeon toes has traditionally been something to be avoided — indeed, generations of women have scolded their children for turning their feet inwards and there are special shoes to correct the stance — now it seems to be de
rigueur on the red carpet. The reason for this is as depressing as it is fascinating: these A-list women have worked out that a pigeon-toed pose is a quick route to looking thinner, younger, sexier and even more approachable.
THE pose brings your toes together, making your calf muscles look thinner and more defined, as well as creating or accentuating the appearance of a thigh gap.
It also works wonders for pulling in the stomach muscles (have a go and you’ll see).
Yet these celebrities aren’t just trying to shrink their already tiny bodies — they are also trying to make themselves seem less intimidating. As the cameras flash away, this pigeon-toe pose seems to say: ‘Gosh, look at little old me in the spotlight!’
As evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin explains, A-list celebrities need to appeal to two markets — men and, perhaps more importantly, other women.
The pigeon-toed stance sends powerful biological signals to both genders.
‘Celebrities are a commodity — they need other women to like them so they go to see their films,’ she says.
‘In reality they may be highly successful, powerful women, but with this pose they are trying to make themselves look more approachable. The awkward pose says: “I’m not an Alpha female, I’m just like you.” ’
except, of course, surrounded as they are by agents, image builders and entire marketing teams, they are not remotely like us. So don’t imagine for a moment the pigeon-toed pose is natural — it takes a lot of practice to perfect faux- innocence when you’re a famous Hollywood diva. And while some men may find the
stance inelegant, subconsciously it panders to the male ego.
It’s no secret that rich and powerful women can intimidate the living daylights out of your average man. Therefore, by appearing gauche and in need of male protection, these A - list women are sending out a potent signal.
A recent survey by the University of Texas discovered that while men say they admire women who are more intelligent and powerful than they are, they back away from dating them — choosing instead non-threatening girlfriends who don’t ‘ diminish their feelings of masculinity’. In making the poser seem more vulnerable, the pigeon-toed pose may also make women look younger, too.
As Camilla Morton, author of Running In High Heels, says: ‘It makes your legs look great and your hips jut out — and don’t shoes look so much better viewed side- on?’
It’s enough to make any woman turn in her toes . . .