Sunday, June 22, 2008

High Heels for Babies?

I enjoy a good chuckle.

But this new item didn't make me laugh: High Heels For Babies

Apparently, others feel like I do as well.

In fact, the American Psychological Association Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls reported that sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media are harmful to their self-image and healthy development in the areas of:

"Cognitive and Emotional Consequences: Sexualization and objectification undermine a person’s confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.

Mental and Physical Health: Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women—eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression or depressed mood.

Sexual Development: Research suggests that the sexualization of girls has negative consequences on girls’ ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image."

I guess new studies will have to include infants, not just girls and women, if this high-heel-baby-shoe-thingy catches on.

What do you think?



Denise said...

This is just WRONG!!!!!!!!!! It makes me irrate to think of someone doing this to a baby !!!!OMG I could rant on this forever!!!! Kids are forced to grow up way too soon anyway in this world why push it to the point of absurdity! it makes me sick!!! Kids clothes already look like miniture adults and that is just wrong enough as it is. My heads swimming with all kinds of words I dare not even type concerning this one. Who ever thought this idea up has to be..............!!! I will let you fill in the blank. It's just wrong!!

30 years from Darling said...

My mind went immediately to the shorts with words on the rear end. Gee ...lets bring the eyes of grown ups to them and then wonder why their being sexualized?

There is the absurdity of sexualizing an infant ..then what about the physical cost? High heels are bad enough for an adult ... why in the world would you want to put a developing child's foot into them????

By the way Dr. Deb, I've got a new blog about caretaking.

Pk (dreaming Again) I'm using the link to it instead of my normal link to Pearls and Dreams

Battle Weary said...

This makes me very sad...I don't know what else to say...just sad.

Beth said...

Well, I guess he plus point is that it won't hurt their feet to walk in them, because they can't walk yet!

Its completely ridiculous and I cant decide if the people who invented the products or the parents who buy them are more deserving of scorn.

The Lone Beader said...

Hahaha! That is really funny!

And, why is it that everyone always associates heals with sex??

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

NO WAY. I'll just ditto Denise. what in the world is wrong with with our society???????????

Don't even get me started on how this applies to pedophiles who already prey on innocent victims...with every bit of sexualization of children it's like giving them the signal that its OK because they kids WANT it.

Note to Lone Beader - you don't get the high heel thing? Ask a man.

Teresa Lynne said...

The first thing I thought of was Halloween! But if a parent would allow this on their child even under the age of 12 years old, it is just crazy.

Kids are pushed to grow up faster yes, but in the end it is the Parents influence that matter the most.

Awake In Rochester said...

Aren't high heals bad for a persons back and feet too? I think it's a bad idea all the way around.

Health Psych said...

It's one thing for kids to play innocent dressups but the continued sexualisation of young girls is getting out of hand...don't get me started on Bratz always, Deb, you're right on the mark.

Grumpy Old Man said...

They're a bit vulgar, but aren't we getting overexcited here? It's much more serious when girls past the age of childhood amnesia are dressed like whores--they're old enough to take it in.

People do silly things with babies, like hoods with bunny ears and baseball shirts.

Relax. take a valium.

Tiptoe said...

Wow, I think this is over the top. Whether the shoes are just for show or not, it's the underlying message about girls and society that is being maintained. We already have way too much loss of innocence in children that we just don't need any more.

Do you mind if I link this to my blog?

John Matthews said...

Dr. Deb - A delight to see you yesterday! Please shoot me an email with your email address! Thanks!

Deb said...

The same merchant also has black lace panties for little girls to wear. Making a controversial product does several things. It can spike sales as well as controversy. I think this is a "cute" idea for say Halloween, but I would shudder to see this outfit for just an anyday occasion.

Dear 30,
I didn't think it was cute. I thought it was rather icky. I will come by your new blogerino.

They are made of soft heels. They bend if the child presses her foot down. Other things that are inappropriately sold for children are padded bras for 7 year olds and pole dancing kits. Yikes!

Dear Battle,
I felt sad too. It just made me think, what is the rush to grow up? Childhood is getting shorter and shorter.

Dear Lone,
As part of a Halloween dress up, maybe a good giggle gets in there.

Dear Barbara,
I so agree with what you said.

Dear Teresa,
YEs, Halloween. I can see that.

Dear Awake,
They are soft heels, and bend if pressed on. So they wouldn't hurt the baby's foot. Their psyche is another story.

Dear HP,
Dress up and play are so important for children. But yes, like Bratz dolls, this product is just wrong on so many levels.

Nu uh. The first thing you said is "they're a bit vulgar". So you can't say it's an over reaction. Yes, we all do silly things with babies. But this just feels icky. Maybe there is a gender bias in how one feels on this subject.

Dear Tiptoe,
Link away.

Dear John,
Will do.

Mary said...

My first words were OMG, What next?
Why would anyone want to do this to a child? What possesses someone to even think like this, it's wrong, so wrong, what kind of world are these kids going to grow up in? I just can't fathom this at all, ..Mary

Recovering said...

It's unfortunate that a few pedophiles, rapists, and perverts would make you so hostile toward a company that is offering parents a fun and cute thing to put on their babies for a wedding or some special event.

If people are putting these on their babies on a daily basis, I might think it was disconcerting but, as concerned as I am with the cultural degradation we are seeing in America (and the West in general), I think there may be some hypersensitivity here...

Janes Insane said...

I don't know. I remember those plastic high heels they've sold for over 10 years; they're for little girls. I never thought of those as sexualizing a little girl, but thought of them as "cute" for playing dress-up. These shoes are obviously meant for infants & not even to be walked in.

about jenji said...

I think that this is just another example of an industry and item (how about the sweatpants for infants that say "juicy" on the butt? not just for teenagers anymore) that has been created to distract Americans on a materialistic, trendy level in an effort to covertly dumb down the population, so that they will ultimately remain complacent, compliant and counterproductive toward all that is relevant and productive for a secure and healthy lifestyle and society.

For instance, add a subliminal advertisement of said baby shoes in a music video and you'll reach the masses, wherein the target, mainly minorities, will feel powerful and relevant with that which is trendy, popular and hot, while they are in fact unconsciously interpreting their role in society as either the exploited or exploiter--the man or the woman, the black or the white, the rich or the poor--when they are in fact being exploited themselves.

The media is beyond suggestive: that women are literal receptacles for all that is sexual and otherwise, while men are entitled to the littering of that ground, while white men are heroes and black men are criminals. You are what you eat, as society feeds and depends upon media and big business corporations to form who and what it is they are or should want to be.

It's disgusting, dispicable and highly manipulative. Our society is ultimately going to gag upon its own overconsumption of all that is crap, while much of the industrialized world looks at our country as one which is trivial, materialistic and entirely obsessed with the objectification and sexualization of anything with a palpable heartbeat.

Embarrassing. Truly.


Janes Insane said...

There are so many conversations that can branch off of this topic.
Jenji, your comment addresses the societal concerns, or what we should be concerned with.
I wish I knew how to properly reply to your post. If you are not a Civil Rights attorney, you should be! Yours is one of the best comments I have ever read in my 3 years of blogging.

about jenji said...

Janes Insane:
That's very kind of you to say. I write quite often about what I call the "objectification of Americans" via media resources; in fact, you could say I'm a bit obsessed.

I'm a filmmaker and a writer, so the two seem to collide when it comes to media and my abilities to express myself.

I'm working on a thesis regarding this expansive, never-ending subject of government, corporate, big-business media related agenda to dumb down the citizens so that we are too preoccupied to gather and revolt against the tyrants who so desperately need us remain static, sick and sexually obsessive. For me, it's clearly an agenda, but that's just my opinion.

Visit my site, there are a few similiar posts there. One is called: We Interrupt this Program (july 07) and the other is just a look into media and the whole Spitzer fiasco called Smoke and Mirrors (march 08).

My thesis though, is far deeper...just not finished yet.

Thanks for your kind words, it's much appreciated, while I encourage any feedback that you may have at my blog.

be well,

United We Lay said...

I have enough of a hard time getting myhigh school freshman to dress like girls, and now my husband's going to have to struggle with his preschoolers? This is ridiculous! Girls have enough image problems as it is. we don'tneed to add to it anymore. This is one of the reasons why I was thrilled to have a boy.

Anonymous said...

In today's society, children are being forced to fast foward their brains. ie: no more coloring in kindergarten, they have to know how to spell thier names and read. So now society is pushing sexuality at an age that doesnt even know thier exsistance yet. It is truly a sad thing but more importantly, I feel, a dangerous thing for their futures.

Anonymous said...

I saw this on the news here, Deb, and was going to blog about it, too, but you beat me to it ;)

I think these are just ridiculous. It makes me wonder what the heck the person who invented these was thinking.


Deb said...

Dear MAry,
I know what you mean!

Dear Recovering,
I think we all feel that as a Halloween dress up it's an okay thing. But for everyday wear it is concerning. I am writing this as I enjoy a cup of java at a local Starbucks - where two young preschoolish girls in belly shirts are getting their coffee on.

Dear Jane,
For dress up, it implies a choice that a child can make on his or her own. If they want to explore or feel a certain way, they reach for a frock, outfit, accessory and fall into the play of it all. Here, the infant is not making the choice, it is being made for her. I do think it can be a kitchsy thing, but worry that it does just the opposite. It invites sexuality into the picture too soon. Just my 2 cents.

Dear Jenji,
YES! I love what you wrote. It says what I am trying to express so well!

Dear Jane,
I agree with what your response. Check out Jenji's blog and her work. Great stuff there :)

Dear Jenji,
Sounds like your thesis is very solidly based. And so spot-on. The art of distraction, smoke and mirrors, consumption and fear do all-kinds-of-bad to us as a culture.

Dear United,
I know what you mean!!!!!!!!

Dear Queen,
You are right. No more coloring in Kindergarten. Test scores rule. Adverts sell youth and sexuality to children. Fast forward indeed. Can I have a pause button please?!

Dear Donna,
It is a great marketing idea, despite my discomfort with it all. Sad, but true: "Controversy always sells". Blog about it on your blog. Let's get some chatter going!

Muser said...

This product bugs me, but I admit I think it says more about the parents who choose it than it would affect the child, because the baby won't know. It would be an interesting study to see how many adults who purchased these shoes for an infant would later purchase similarly promiscuous clothing for the toddler, then the young girl....

What disturbs me MORE, I admit, are other products I read about on the link: the pole dancing kit, for one! The black lace underwear, the thongs with phrases. The padded bra was also disturbing, though I could actually see some merit to that product for selfconscious "late bloomers"... maybe... if there is no one in their life telling them that their mind and their soul is more important than their chest....

And it's funny, but the thing I've long thought was most tantalizing to peadophiles? The costumes worn by figure skaters and gymnasts. We tart them up and they prance around and the gestures and moves are getting more and more provocative every year. Rather like with cheerleaders, only with less community discussion and disapproval. It's society-wide, this loss of childhood, for girls AND for boys, and we're going to be paying the price for generations to come.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Well, truth be told, I wouldn't put them on any daughter or granddaughter of mine. I like onesies and bare feet on babies.

It's just that I only have so much ire to expend.

Awake In Rochester said...

You have won 2 Awards! See my blog for details.

Winrob said...

In my mind this is Child Abuse. It is setting the kids up for consequences they did not ask for.
That company should be banned.
Now for the orthopedic aspect of the high heel shoe. Talk about have heel problems at a your age!

Scott said...

Yeah, I think that is wrong. They shouldn't make those, nor have any "beauty" pagents for little girls until they are at least in their teens. The Jon Bennet Ramsey thing just disgusted me!

S'onnie said...

babies should wear soft shoes that allow their feet to feel the floor. how else are they going to learn to walk??? These shoes are wrong on so many levels. Why are people trying to make babies grow up so fast. Yet once a child is a teen I bet the same parents will talk about how they wish their child was a baby again!

Barbara K. said...

My grandmother wore pointy toed high heels from the time she was 14 until she died. They so warped her feet that she could not walk without them.

Not only is this concept of baby high heels sexual harassment and exploitation, but it's a form of torture.

OHN said...

I remember loving putting my moms heels on, along with her elbow length gloves and floor length (knee length to her:) dresses. BUT that is VERY different from this. There is a creep factor to this that is implied even though not stated. I am disgusted with the PARENTS that purchase the low slung sweats with "cutie" written on the ass for a 7 year old girl. I don't even like it on teens. There is a loss of self respect that I see emerging in todays teens (though as a mom of 3 sons, I don't see it as much in the boys as I do the girls). But like I said it is the PARENTS that are either shopping or providing the cash for the kids to shop when they are younger and it is their responsibility to protect not objectify their kids.

Tracy said...

My first reaction was omg! How not ok. I thought i was being to uptight until i read what you wrote. I am glad i am not the only one to see how wrong this is, and how we are harming our girls!

Wanda's Wings said...

It's just crazy!

Ellen said...

My first reaction is revulsion. How far can consumerism and sexualizing girls go? It makes me very sad.

Anonymous said...

This just freaking pisses me off. I absolutely hate that our society does this to children. Agghhh! I just want to scream!

jumpinginpuddles said...

yeh just what we need babies being seen as little adults well bveofer their time, just like child pagentry it needs to be outlawed.
Oh and what we want to know what sick mind thoguht of that anyway, serious pshychiatry needed fopr the person who invented them

Raine said...

i've also seen bay clothes in leopard skin prints, black, black and white patterns etc etc I think that is wrong too.

Deb said...

Dear Muser,
You are right, it says more about the parents than anything else.

Dear GOM,
Your grumps have meaningful echoes, my friend ;)

Dear Awake,
Thanks for the nod.

Dear Winrob,
I can see the cute factor in a halloween costume etc, but it is icky to me otherwise.

Dear Scott,
YEs, those pagents are verrrrrry distrubing to me as well.

Dear Sonnie,
YEs, good point.

Dear Barbara,
Sometimes I think the marketing strategies on things like this are so brilliant, but flawed. They indoctrinate many into buying things, wanting things, etc but hurt self image along the way. I knew a grandma like your - she wore heels all her life...hurt like heck. And when she walked around barefoot, she could barely walk without pain.

Dear OHN,
Dress up is fun and playful and very healthy. But this takes it to a very different place.

Dear Tracy,
I first though I might be taking the issue too seriously too. Then I read other reviews and said, okay, I'm in the majority here.

Dear Wanda,
I know!

Dear Ellen,
I agree.

Dear Traci,
Consider your scream heard!

Dear JIP,
It would never occur to me to invent something like this either.

Dear Raine,
Infancy should have a lot of innocence and simplicity. We all know how hard life gets thereafter!

~Deb said...

My niece who is 4 yrs old, has been into make up and "heels" that they make for kids ever since she could walk. In my opinion, it's going to develop bad habits and growing up WAY too fast, but I'm not a mother so I can't say anything. If it were my kid -----no make up till they're like 15.

Ian Lidster said...

What a screwed up society we have become. You 'really' have your work cut out for you, darling.

CrackerLilo said...

I've seen baby "cowboy boots," "Converses," etc., so maybe to some parents this is just an extension of that for little girls. But it feels bad wrong to me, too.

What upsets me is that not only are girls getting a really bewildering mix of messages, but that I don't know how to talk about it without either the scolding, sex-hating, misogynist rhetoric of the fundamentalist Christianity I grew up in or the scolding, sex-hating, man and femme-hating rhetoric of the radical feminism I encountered in early adulthood. We need another vocabulary, one that says, "Let little girls be little and big girls know how to make big-girl decisions."

'Tart said...

I agree with you, Dr. Deb, this is wrong.

It's so weird too, because collapsible-heeled footwear for babies just seems entirely unnecessary on any level, physically for their feet, or socially, what it means to the adults that see them. I too, will say nothing of the adults that actually dress them in this.

I think you've hit something on the head with the analysis of it, since 'the product' is aimed directly at girl babies, and as a woman, I concur, it was hard enough growing up 36+ years ago- they've just made it clear, it's downright nearly impossible to grow up sane now.

ellesu said...

Sad. I'm so glad I'm not raising kids today.

STAG said...

I have a baby picture of myself in a crib with guns tucked up beside me.

Admittedly, I also had the cutest little cowboy hat and chaps too.

Maybe thats why I turned out to be the meat eating, rootin' tootin', cigar smokin', all American stud muffin my wife says I am!

Or maybe that was just a kids costume, and sometimes a Cigar is Only a Cigar.

Deb said...

Dear Deb,
Dress up is a fun thing. But the trends these days sexualize kids!

Dear Ian,
I know!

Dear Crackerlilo,
Seen the cowboy boots too. Love your vocab thoughts and the phrase you used.

Dear Tart,
It just feels icky for everyday wear.

Dear Ellesu,
I think there is alot of pressure these days for parents.

Dear Stag,
I think there is a gender difference in how one reacts to this. I think dressing up a baby for a cute photo is fine. Been there and done that myself. But the early introduction to high heels, lingerie and padded bras for children and infants just seem wrong.

Rose DesRochers said...

When my daughter was young I dressed her up in a little fur coat and hat. I thought it was cute. So I can understand how some mothers might think this is cute, but how long before this just isn't cute anymore?

Zee said...

Ewww! Thanks for sharing, though. I am going to cross-post on my blog.

cb said...

Initial thought - horrible horrible
Considered opinion - wrong, just wrong.
I can't think of any situation that this is funny or cute. Cute is dressing your baby with a bear-hat or something.. or booties with kitten pictures on or something.. not this!

Deb said...

Hey Rose,
So wonderful to see you. I dressed up my kids as well. There's a playfulness to it. But what I think is objectionable is the everday use of such things. But, I hear you :)

Dear Zee,
I am gonna come by and visit.

Dear CB,
I just thought it was kinda icky and may send a bad message.

Guilty Secret said...

This is just so sad :(

Anonymous said...

Give me a break. Little girls have been dressing up like mommy since the beginning of time. When I was a youngster (I am 64 years old) I loved putting on my mother's full slips and high heeled slippers (the ones with the furry pompoms on top). Did it turn me into a floozy? Are you kidding. I graduated from high school at age 16, was an honor student at college, went on to law school and became a well-respected family lawyer. Lighten up folks. My older granddaughter loves nothing more than play dress-up, particularly if there are boas involved.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am definately in the minority here, but my first impression was "OMG, how cute!". I don't think they are sexual at all! And believe me, I am typically the prudish one in the group! I think it just goes along with a girly girl type of mom who is dressing her baby as a girly girl baby. Some women, like myself, love heels. I wore them until I was 9 months pregnant! And these are crib shoes ladies - they are NOT meant for walking babies, so the arguement that they are bad for the baby's feet is just not true. I am totally against dressing little girls in a mature fashion, but I have to completely disagree here. I think that these shoes are meant to look cute and to get a laugh! If I had an infant, she'd be sporting these heels! :)

Donna said...

I think they are great. The look hillariously funny and are totally harmless. Who ever thought up this idea is just genius. I will be definateley be purchasing a pair of these beautys for my baby!!.
Oh and have you seen the cowboy boots....I LOVE IT...

Dr. Deb said...

I think the spirited conversation here is really great. Thanks to all for sharing.

ego said...

Tney are absolutely adorable and hilarious. I agree that they are not for everyday, but for Halloween, a dressy event, etc..they are OK. High heels are not sexualizing. Men wore platforms in the seventies. These are no more sexualizing than putting a swimsuit on a baby. Those who would even think in sexual terms regarding children are the sick ones.

One on the way said...

Have any of you even looked on the website of where to get these? They arent real high heels and the heel goes away underpressure. Its not that our babies are goin to be walking around in heels. All they really are, are booties that look cute. I wouldnt buy them for my girl just because I was a tomboy and hardly wears heels, so I am going to leave that decsion up to her. However, I think the cowboy boots are so cute and would get those. Look into the website a little people.

Dr. Deb said...

I have seen the website and agree they are cute. I was just thinking about the spectrum of reactions....and that it could sexualize babies too young.

Must have been a feature on this subject somewhere today as the blog has gotten thousands of hits.

ashlea07 said...

I think people are over reacting to these baby high heels. I find it hard to believe that so many believe this "sexualizes" infants!!! It is meant to be cute and is not intended for the walking stages of babies or toddlers. Not even all high heels are meant to be "sexy" on adults. Obviously the people who are commenting so harshly on these adorable little high heels are people with no sense of style and in turn, do not dress themselves well. & you can dress well without "sexualizing" yourself.

Taylor2009 said...

I think that the heels are totally AWESOME..There is nothing wrong with them I think some of the people up here are a little to up tight. I dont see how they could harm the babies at all. Im pregnant with twin girls and Im going to get my daughters a pair. It's nothing sexual explicit about them...I mean really guys it's not like the babies are gonna jump up outta their car seat and jump on the first stripper pole they see.I dont see anything wrong with letting the baby wear the heels with a cute little dress or something,some of you people up here act like their going to be wearing thongs or g-strings with the heels....STOP BEING SO UP TIGHT.

Stephi said...

this is completely idiotic! Not only do I see little 3 year-olds toddling around in these killers, now we're putting them on newborns? We as a people are sexualizing kids way too early, and it's showing in their developmental facilities! Does our planet need more self-absorbed prima-donnas? These poor girls are starting life with enough wieght on their little shoulders, what with bullying, eating disorders, and the pressure to be 'sexy'. Do infants need to be 'sexy'? Please, If you have children, do not buy these shoes. The very fact that some people are is an alarming dissection of humanity's future.

Lori said...

What's next? A sexy garter to hold up the baby's hosiery? Throw in a little bit of lingerie and some perfume too!

Lori said...

What's next? A sexy garter to hold up the baby's hosiery? Throw in a little bit of lingerie and some perfume too!

Lisaloha said...

This is a note to "Ego": You state that "high heels are not sexualizing"and they are "no more sexulizing than putting a swimsuit on a baby". I ask you two questions - 1) Would you put these "non-sexualing" shoes on your infant son? 2) Have you seen the mini triangle and tube top bikini swimwear that is made for infant and toddler girls? It makes me gag. If a store even sells these items, I leave, AND I let them know why.
Thankfully I had a son, born in the late 80's. Had he been a baby these days, I'd be on the lookout for the baby version of hanging-off-your-ass pants and gangster beanies that would go with the whore attire worn by the girls at his preschool.
It's just disgusting that we are doing what I call "genderfying" our infants and young children. I agree with the poster who said that childhood is getting shorter and shorter. Then, those parents who get their 8 year old daughters bras and makeup cry night after night when their 14 year old is pregnant!
Sorry to say, but the parents are responsible for what happens in their childrens' lives. Teenagers are kind of on their own since our laws have taken away so many parental rights in the last three decades.
But if what we have taught our kids is that girls are objects of sexual desire by giving them grown-womens' accessories (heels, make up, fake manicures, perfume, miniskirts, bikini bathing suits, baby purses, etc.) and if we let our sons do what they want because "boys will be boys," then we can't be that surprised when they grow up all too soon and break our hearts.
BTW - my son is nearly 20 and has not gotten anyone pregnant because I taught him about respecting women and being responsible (unlike what his father did to him).
As for babies wearing these shoes at a party or as a costume, I guess it's okay. But if they are at the mall in the stroller and have baby lipstick and a belly tee on, you can be sure that mom is going to get an earful from me!

Kokorami said...

Ashlea--"Obviously the people who are commenting so harshly on these adorable little high heels are people with no sense of style and in turn, do not dress themselves well."
Um, No. Most of us have a sense of style because we came up with OUR OWN instead of listening to people who told us tottering about like giraffes on stilts was attractive.

I saw this on Yahoo, and Congrats! It just might be the DUMBEST and tartiest-looking thing ever cooked up to make a quick buck by underestimating peoples' taste. If you fail to see how zebra spikes are tarty-looking then I feel almost as sorry for you as I feel for the beauty-pageant moms' kids whose feet get stuffed into them. As for having a relative with screwed-up feet and damaged Achilles tendons from nothing but stilettoes in the '50's, BTDT.

Best wishes and best of luck to the more normal folks trying to raise kids in these conditions.

Anonymous said...

I think that this issue may have been blown out of porpotion just a little, I see where everyone is coming from with their posts, although I don't see these as being sexual in anyway. I do see how the sweatpants for little girls with words on their bottom can be construed as drawing attention to where it shouldn't be at their age, but these are shoes people are going to be looking at their feet how is that sexual?