Baby Heels are “Heelarious!”..or are they?

10 06 2009

Heelarious is a company that markets baby high heels.  Because marketing never fails to prove that children are never too young to be gender stereotyped.brookenew

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For your child 0-6 months, these shoes are meant for babies who cannot yet walk.  The completely soft baby heels have been on the market for a year now, and are still popular!  They are quite expensive (just check out the site!).

Whereas some people have been offended by the shoes, claiming that they sexualize infants inappropriately, others think they are harmless and just “heelarious.”

Nevertheless, the shoes have become extremely popular, and were even put in the gift bags at the Emmy awards.

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picture from The New York Post

Though I must admit that these “first high heels” for baby are kind of cute, I’m just not sure what I think about they way that the shoes enforce gender roles and sexualize babies at such an early age.   We already see children walking around in Barbie heels, miniskirts, and even thongs.  Did we really need heels for babies? 

Peter Wilson, associate professor in child psychology at RMIT University, discussed the trend of extending products designed for adults to children in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

…I think the broader issue is the message it sends to the community about what’s appropriate for children in terms of how they are developing.

More broadly it is this notion that we are encouraging kids to grow up more quickly that they are developmentally able to.

They should be encouraged to explore and role play but not exposed to products that can bias their play or give them a sense that they have to be older than they are.

I open the floor to you.  What do you think?  Overpriced, inappropriate gimmick?  Or simply adorable and fun?  Maybe a little bit of both?


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11 06 2009
Roland Fary

Equal to my zeal for this innovative, adorable and, dare I say, hilarious product is my utter dismay that in 2009 there would be any sort of backlash that would lead to some of the negative online chatter about these fashionable crib shoes.

I just got done doing a little investigation on the internet, and some of the words and phrases being used by some “concerned citizens” and alleged pundits include: exploitation . . . sexualized . . . gross . . . loss of innocence. Are you kidding me? I’m a big fan of Showtime’s “The Tudors” but I honestly thought we had evolved as a society over the past few centuries beyond the puritanical point where women (of any age) are demonized for embracing their femininity. Why is being feminine so often equated with being sexual which in turn has some sort of negative connotation (at least by the moral minority)? I have to imagine that the same people calling foul here also believe that women who are the victims of sexual assault may have “asked for it” based on the way they were dressed at the time…especially, God forbid, if they were wearing heels at the time. Will dressing a little girl in playful shoes really turn her into a prematurely-aged harlet any more than forcing toy trucks and miniature soldiers on a little boy will create a pre-adolescent mercenary? More importantly, when did high heels become something sexual? If a nun wore black heels would she somehow be less holy? Sometimes, fun is just fun. Sometimes, fashion is just self expression. Sometimes, modern societies allow women to be feminine, successful AND positive role models… in our out of their high heels.

Like most baby products, Heelarious is more for parents and onlookers to enjoy than a commentary on social mores. And as one such onlooker, I have to admit I smile every time I look at these “heelarious” shoes.

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