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Skechers Shape-ups for girls: Cute or inappropriate?

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids who, without a doubt, the cutest kids ever. Motherhood is the best job she nev...

Shape up or ship out

Skechers recently introduced its apparently not-so-functional and previously adult-sizes only Shape-up shoes for young girls, and mamas around the Internet aren't exactly pleased. Did the company make a mistake by creating for girls shoes that are meant to tone the butts and thighs of adult women?

shape-ups

According to the description of one of the adult pairs of Shape-ups on the Skechers website, the adult shoes are meant to: "1. Tone your muscles 2. Promote healthy weight loss 3. Make it easy to get in shape."

Besides the fact that Shape-ups apparently don't work to tone the butt and thighs, says the American Council on Exercise (and as reported by Huffington Post), shaping butts and thighs is an adult thing to do. Right?

Perhaps not. Skechers was running its ads for Shape-ups for girls on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, according to a petition on Change.org. And while the ads didn't deliver Shape-ups message of toning, the name of the shoe is the same.

Parents who responded negatively to the Shape-ups for girls had the following concerns:

  1. We're putting too much attention on body image and size for girls so young, creating an awareness of appearance and even pressure to look a certain way at far too young of an age.
  2. We're doing it again -- marketing a product intended for adults to little girls -- and it's not appropriate.

Body image shouldn't be an issue yet

While Skechers isn't marketing Shape-ups to young girls as a butt-toning tool, we all know the adult purpose of them. Shape-ups have been heavily marketed as such for adults.

August Christensen, who started the petition on Change.org, notes, "Women have plenty of time to be targeted for their weight throughout their lives. By not only marketing a shoe line to young girls, but also not even having an equivalent for boys Skechers is sending a clear message to girls and women: you're never too young to start hating your body."

She does make good points. Where is the equivalent for boys? She ends by telling the company to stop "body policing" young girls.

Inappropriate for young girls

You can see the commercial for the Shape-ups at the end of this article. In it, animated (skinny) tweens sing the words, "Heidi's got new Shape-ups, got everything a girl wants. She's got the height, got the bounce. She's lookin' good and havin' fun 'cuz Heidi's got new Shape-ups."

Perhaps if this was another product not previously marketed to adults to get their booties toned and their legs hot, "she's got the bounce" wouldn't mean much. But it sort of does, given the purpose of adult Shape-ups.

Is this in line with CNN writer LZ Granderson's claims that we're dressing our daughters like tramps? Granted, Shape-ups don't make little girls look like streetwalkers -- quite the opposite, actually -- but perhaps this is another case of a company marketing inappropriate adult items to kids. Here, we're talking about shoes that were originally marketed to women to give them nice butts. We don't really want to send the same message to young girls, do we?

>> What do you think? Are Skechers Shape-ups appropriate for young girls? Are some parents getting worked up over nothing? Or are these shoes sending unnacceptable messages to our daughters? Vote in the poll or share your opinion in the comments section!

(*Note that at the time this article was written, the page on the Skechers website where the Shape-ups for girls were sold returns a "page not found" message.)

Watch the Shape-ups commercial:


Read about raising confident daughters

5 Steps to boosting your daughter's self-esteem
Raising a daughter with high self-esteem

Your daughter's self-esteem: 5 Ways moms can help girls be themselves


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