The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

If the shoe fits…?

KORS Michael Kors Kids Bianca Shoe (Toddler/Youth)

Recently there has been a growing trend in the fashion world to make our young girls more fashionable. And by more fashionable that means overly sexualizing them and making them look like young adults. One trend that has been rapidly growing is in popular designer shoes lines.  Suri Cruise was seen wearing a pair of gold, low-heeled shoes three years ago, and now it appears that heels for little girls outside the dress-up box are becoming more common. Most recently designer Michael Kors released a toddler/youth line that has caused a bit of attention. The line consists of leopard prints, two-inch kitten heels, wedges and all sorts of embellishments. Quite honestly, I'm sure I have pairs similar to these in my own closet.

Which clearly raises the question, are these types of shoes acceptable for young girls? Are we trying to make them grow up too fast? Should a 33-year-old and a 6-year-old be wearing the same style of shoes? When in the product information you have the quote "Add some grown-up glam to any outfit with these gorgeously sophisticated shoes," I think we have a problem. Not to mention that the shoes are shockingly listed for toddlers/youths? I shudder to think of what parent would put their toddler in a pair of leopard print two-inch heels. Why are we so keen to have our young girls quickly become young adults?

And what about the safety and developmental issues of our young girls wearing these heels? "The fact children can wear these is worrying," said podiatrist Gregor McCoshim. "Any heel above 2 cm increases the risk of twisting an ankle. Wearing them can cause strains in the back which is a potential problem for their growth and development." As an adult heel-wearer I can attest to the discomfort not only in the feet but in the back as well as numerous close-calls in the ankle-twisting-falling-on-face department. Why would we want this for our young girls sooner rather than later? As women we have been convinced that pain for the sake of fashion is worth it (which is a whole other debate) but is it worth it for a 6 year-old?

And Michael Kors isn't the only designer targeting our young girls. Jessica Simpson Kids and Steve Madden Kids also have lines of girl shoes that include heels. New Look has also come under fire in the recent past for making heels available in size 1 which would fit a young girl. Shockingly parents are divided over the issue. Reviewers for the designer lines of girl shoes have raved over how cute and trendy the heels are. "So cute my child saw them and as soon as possible she threw off her shoes and started strutting it. She was so cute. I bought them she would not take them off..." Do I want my child "strutting it?" "My 6 year-old loves them. The heel is perfect! Just high enough for little girls to feel girlie. They are her favorite." Is this how we want the next generation to view girlie-ness? Through overt sexualization? However there are some parents who still have concerns over the shoes. "These shoes are so cute. Unfortunately my mom said that I cannot get them as I am not allowed to wear heels." Now is the time for a reassessment of trends that shape the future minds of our young girls. Now is the time to shift the focus from sexualizing our young girls and causing pressure to grow up to celebrating this wonderful phase in their life called girlhood.

-Marisa Lindholm
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

1 comment:

  1. It's a vicious circle actually!
    The fashion icons control the designers and vice versa.
    Somewhere in between, the buyers become fashion victims.
    I must confess that I am already worried about the extreme trend in shoes and outfits that will be launched by young miss Beckam in a few years!
    :)

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