This post written by Sarah Fernandez. Screenshot: Zappos.com
The First Lady says "Let's Move" so why not have young girls work on shaping and toning their buns and legs while they're at it. That appears to be the message from Skechers with their Shape Ups for Girls which are sized for children as young as kindergarten. While many people are questioning the safety of Shape Ups as well as their effectiveness, and while I do have friends who will attest that they work, these shoes have not been on the market long enough to really know if there are any long term health effects, either positive or detrimental. But beyond that, the bigger issue is really why a toning and shaping product is being marketed to kids in kindergarten?
Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, is quoted in the New York Daily News online as saying, "The whole message behind Shape-ups is to get moving, get exercise, and get fit."
Pardon me if I'm wrong, but I thought kids in particular could wear just about any pair of sneakers to exercise. If I were going to buy a pair of Shape Ups for myself, and I can't say that the thought hasn't crossed my mind, it would be because I am trying to make my legs and derriere look more appealing without having to do 1,000 squats and to try to get faster results. Shape Ups ads do say that there are other benefits to the Shape Ups such as lessening the impact on joints, better lateral stability, and better bounce, but again, there are many questions about their validity. They also use Kim Kardashian in a very sexy ad to try to sell the shoes to women so what are they really trying to sell?
The girls' version of these shoes starts at a size 2 Youth. My four year old, while very large, wears a size 2. He is in Pre-K, and I cannot fathom promoting to him or any of his classmates that they wear a pair of sneakers to "get faster results." He's a kid that I will very happily teach to get outside and move, but in a way that he is learning how to have a healthy lifestyle and make it part of his routine, not in an effort to promote weight loss and toning for a more attractive body. But of course, I won't have to worry about my son because they don't make them for boys. They only make them for girls which right there tells you that they are trying to sell a body image to very young girls.
From my experience, there aren't very many years of a girl's life in which she doesn't worry about the way she looks. It is bad enough that the clothing companies are selling questionably appropriate clothes to very young girls. We don't need to be pushing them to have perfectly toned butts to fill out those short shorts. If you want to promote getting fit, send your kids outside to play and go with them to show them how much fun they'll have at any age and how good they'll feel after being active.
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