Friday, June 20, 2008

What 3-Months Olds Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Them?

Looking at the current marketing landscape – it should come as no surprise that stilettos for babies would be the next step towards the sexualization of girls. Babies are not meant to be fashion accessories which Britta Bacon, 30, seems to imply with her statement "Omigawd, what if you could take a baby to a party wearing high heels?" - I mean, when I'm going to a party the first thing I ask myself is "which baby goes best with my outfit? The one in heels or the one in wedges?"

The fact that these shoes are being sold at The Doll Factory exemplifies this more! Babies are not dolls, they're not toys, they're not the "latest thing" to accessorize your outfit with. Children are not objects - but decorating them with shoes like this signifies that babies are perhaps not people, but rather objects. Think also about how we are socialized into gender roles as soon as the words "It's a girl" are exclaimed. Why wait until she's a "tween" to get her buying into the idea that she's an object meant to be looked at when you can start that off as an infant? How do we react to a baby girl in heels or a baby boy in combat gear? We reinforce simplified gender roles and expectations that are limiting and consequently destructive.

Acheson's Gifts and Decorative Accents, owner Dianne Acheson simply brushed aside comments from critics about selling the shoes in her store with the ridiculou response "But a 3-month old baby has no idea she's wearing high heels." Let's try this same "baby logic" with other things: "But a 3-month old baby has no idea she's wearing a french maid's outfit (or a stripper's outfit - let's not forget the stripper's pole made for kids, pictured below!) It's soooo cute!"

In the end - this product was not made with a child's needs or wants in mind, but a narcissistic parent’s, whose looking for the perfect party plus. Maybe they can pole dance together, too.


karen said...

Fabulous blog posting. I'm posting a link to it on my Face book wall :)

Sara said...

Hey, I think there's some difference between putting these faux heels on a baby and dressing her in a stripper's outfit. Unless you're suggesting that every woman who wears heels is a seductress.

These soft shoes with their plush heels don`t have the same sexuality to them as real stilettos. They`re plush and tiny. They`re a fun accessory. It`s playful . . . unless you`re a parent who won`t let baby step out unless she`s got her high heels on, in which case there are bigger problems happening here anyway. I think it`s clear that the point here is playful mimicry of grown-up clothing, like band-shirt onesies or matching mother-daughter dresses. I find it far less pernicious than tiny designer outfits that try to create brand recognition in the infant from an early age.