My son is 8 years old. He is in the 2nd grade and surrounded some of the most amazing little 8-year-old girls I could ever imagine. Not only are they all beautiful in a million different ways, they all have these amazing personalities. Some are quiet and hard to reach at first. But when they open to you they are smart and kind and thoughtful. Some are loud and sassy. But when you get to know them, you see they are the most loyal and protective friends you could dream up. They are always watching out for their quieter friends, both the boys and girls. Some of the girls are perpetually living out in the field of the school at recess digging holes in the dirt looking for butterflies and bugs and always on an adventure. They are all amazing girls.
These girls were the first ones I thought of when I read about the new Skechers Shape-Ups for girls. That’s right, you know those cool shoes Brooke Burk is always trying to sell us that tone our mommyfied buns and thighs. Well Skechers has introduced a new line of those Shape-Ups, just for girls starting at age 7. The same age as the girls I mentioned above. And I had to ask myself, “Why do the people at Skechers want to tell these girls that they’re not thin or tone enough?”
These girls I know are perfect. They are healthy & happy girls and are perfect in every way a little girl can be. And the idea that a company, especially one that makes popular shoes for both adults and kids, would launch a marketing campaign that at it’s core is simply telling these girls that they are not perfect breaks my heart.
The 8-year-old girls I know do not need shoes to tone their bottoms. They do not need to worry about, think about or even know about what it means to tone their bottoms. They are eight.
And aside from all that is wrong with telling 8 year girls they need to be concerned with having a better bum, we have to acknowledge the fact that while Skechers is one of the most popular shoes among boys on the playground, they don’t have ANY type of shoe made for them that will tone their bottom or can be considered a health shoe in anyway at all. Because apparently eight year old boys don’t need to be toner, just the girls.
It’s this kind of messaging that companies such as Skechers is the one of biggest challenges we face as parents. Because now when our young daughters see these glittery shoes (commercials are running on both Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon) at the show store, they may just ask for a pair. And you’ll have to decide what to tell them.
Will you explain why being skinny isn’t important and why telling seven and eight year olds they need to be thin to be happy is creepy. Or are you going to have this conversation with your daughter at all? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the controversy regarding Skechers.