|Still from Skecher's Shape-ups for Girls commercial|
I have a lot of issues with these shoes and the marketing campaign.
First of all, Skecher Shape-ups are designed to tone the muscles in the calves, thighs and buttocks. Really? They are offering these amazing shoe-sculpting attributes to girls as young as 6 or 7.
Now, I acknowledge the fact that childhood obesity is a major issue these days. But no one is foolish enough to believe that buying their overweight daughter a pair of shoes will resolve the issue, are they? Hmm.
However, the shoes aren't even being marketed to plus-size girls. The animated girls in the commercial are slim and toned ... oh wait, that's because they wear Shape-ups, I forgot.
My question is this -- why would any parent want their young daughter to tone up her still developing muscles? To make them more attractive to little boys? Shouldn't little girls look like little girls? Underdeveloped calves are perfectly fine for the elementary school clan, don't you think? And girls being fed a diet of ads that directly, or indirectly, indicate that being thin and attractive is the key to happiness is dangerous.
Here are the lyrics to the song on one of the commercials:
Nah nah nah nah nah nah (are they supposed to sound like brats??)
Heidi's got new Shape-ups
Nah nah nah nah nah nah
Got everything a girl wants (really?)
Nah Nah Nah from Skechers
She's got the height (did I mention the heel wedge?)
She's got the bounce
She's looking good and having fun
'cause Heidi's got new Shape-ups.
Okay, then. Too bad I didn't have Skecher's Shape-ups when I was young. Maybe then someone would have wanted me on their kickball team!
So, I've already dissed the concept, the sexism and the marketing target. But what about the shoes themselves? Are they safe for children? While I admittedly am not a medical professional, I am a mother and grandmother who prides herself in a fair amount of common sense. The bottom line here is that children are developing and when we mess with nature, we can expect problems somewhere down the road. I feel the same way about the foolishness of allowing little girls to wear heels. They don't need to look grown-up, they don't need to wear heels, and it's not healthy for them to do so. Period. For God's sake, give them a chance to be little girls!!! (I guess you can tell I feel passionately about this issue)
What do the experts have to say about this? Well, even though Skecher's denies these claims, the American Council on Exercise state simply that Shape-ups don't do anything special for adults wearing them. The way they work, apparently, is they throw you off balance so you have to use your core to walk correctly. Okay, I can buy that ... for adults.
Podiatric surgeon, Suzanne Levine, advises parents not to buy these shoes for their daughters, explaining that the 'rocking bottom' of these shoes can actually cause injuries to the ankles and toenails, especially if the girls are running around in them. There is a normal gait pattern in children, she explains, that can be disrupted by this footwear, and the Shape-ups completely interrupt the stability of young feet.
Oh, and did I mention Skecher's Shape-ups are for walking only? Yeah ... make sure you put a pair of shoes on your kids that keep them running and actually getting any real exercise. That should work well at shaping up your children!
If you are as appalled as I am about Skecher's total disregard for the safety and healthy self-image of girls everywhere, Change.org has a petition you can sign and send to the company.
It's all about common sense,