First there was the California mom injecting her 8-year-old daughter with Botox so she can win beauty pageants, now I find out about leg and butt-toning shoes aimed at girls as young as 8-years-old.
America! What are we doing to our little girls?
The brand Skechers has introduced a new model of their popular “Shape-ups” shoes – previously targeting adult women – in sizes small enough to fit little girls. Some even come with Velcro straps.
The shoes are featured in a sassy commercial (seen below) starring young girls as pop stars. The girls are followed around by three boys dressed in costumes representing ice cream, a hot dog and a cupcake. In one part of the commercial, a girl wearing Shape-ups confidently walks away from the boys/food.
Dear Little Girls,
You’re never too young to start hating your body.
There is no “Shape-Ups” equivalent for young boys.
The Daily Mail calls the commercial “another example of the confusing message of food, sex and clothing” we’re sending to our youth.
Outraged parents worry the commercial’s slogan: “Stay Fit…Have Fun…In Shape-ups!” will send the message that girls should be unhappy with their bodies and strive to change them whether they’re 8, 18 or 48 years old. Of course it will! Little girls, even high school-aged girls shouldn’t be so consumed with what they’re bodies look like. Here we are as parents, giving all this lip service to how it’s the inside that matters and you’ve got a massive brand like Skechers telling girls they need to tone! If that isn’t setting up girls everywhere for a raging eating disorder, I don’t know what is.
Parents have started an online petition demanding that Robert Greenburg, CEO of Skechers USA discontinue the line of shoes for girls. The petition says in part:
An international survey commissioned by Dove shows that 77% of young girls between ages 10 and 14 think that they are ugly. 80% of 13 year old girls have tried to lose weight, and 50% of girls between the ages of 10 and 13 think that they are overweight. The overwhelming majority of these girls say that their negative feelings have been reinforced by products and ads such as the ones your company is now marketing. Nearly 90% of girls report feeling depressed about their appearance, and more than 8 million American women struggle with eating disorders. Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents, and is potentially fatal. Please stop adding fuel to this fire with your gendered marketing approach that targets young girls. This kind of product and marketing scheme is unacceptable, sexist, and damaging, and your company must be responsible for removing it.
Parents who want to voice their opinion against the shoes can sign the petition by clicking here.
Here’s the commercial. Note the Mary Jane pair of Skechers with Velcro that looks like something a 5-year-old would wear: