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Why are so many Japanese Women Pigeon-Toed and Bow-Legged?

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When I first arrived I was shocked by the prevalence of pigeon-toed, bow-legged women. These traits seem to characterize the gait of almost all females in Japan, regardless of age or wealth. They shuffle along, usually in high heels, looking as though they're going to topple at any moment. I'm terrified for them. Recently I've even noticied that my students snicker and point at my feet - noting that my feet, unlike theirs, point straight forward or even slightly outward. Nan de? (Why?) My initial conjecture was that Asians are genetically predisposed to these conditions as they are to alcohol sensitivity and poor eyesight. But, a little research revealed the following: "in all of Asia, only Japanese women walk this way" (The Business Times). Moreover, the deformities are limited to females. So, I chucked that theory. I have, however, found two theories to be rather convincing:: 1. Walking pigeon-toed is considered feminine in Japan. Whereas in the West we correct for it in childhood, ... more
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