'Toning' Shoes for Girls: What Do You Think?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I'll admit that I'm very conservative when it comes to what my daughter wears. You'll probably never see her wearing short shorts with writing on the backside (at least as long as I am buying her clothes). I'm not a fan of clothes that promote specific brands, whether it's Nike or the Disney Princesses. I don't look down on anyone who makes different choices for their children- I'm just doing what I think is best for mine.

One of the latest products to come on the market for young girls is Sketchers Shape-Ups. Sketchers CEO compares the shoes to Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign for kids, saying they designed to encourage more childhood physical activity. He says the product is only promoting exercise, which is good for kids. Personally, I'm not completely buying that reasoning, and as you can already guess, I will not be buying the product.

Adult Sketchers Shape-Ups are designed to help tone the butt and thigh areas. (Whether or not they actually work is a different discussion entirely.) I don't see why a 7-year-old should be concerned with the shape of her butt and thighs. In a time when girls get so much pressure to look a certain way, this is just one more product that contributes to the idea that it's normal to be unhappy about how you look. And now here's a tool to do something about it.

The shoes start at a size 2 (so their target audience begins quite young), and right now they are only available for girls. Sketchers says that similar to their rollout of the adult shoes, they will start with females and then eventually make them available for young boys. Cartoon advertisements for the product are now being shown on the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. One ad shows a skinny cartoon girl in her cool pink Shape-Ups being chased by boys dressed as junk food.

There is currently an online petition started by parents to discontinue the product. They think it sends the wrong message about body image to young girls, and I have to agree.

What do you think? Am I overreacting, or do you agree that a product like this inappropriate for young girls?