Skechers Shape-up shoes are all the rage for women across the country, but parents everywhere are raising questions about the new Skechers Shape-ups for Girls.
Ads for the pre-teen Skechers are running on the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, during programming that is aimed for the pre-teen crowd, some as young as preschool. The commercial, in cartoon form, shows a young girl, “Heidi,” playing a concert for her screaming fans. The band sings, "Heidi's got new Shape-ups, got everything a girl wants. She's got the height, got the bounce, yes, she's looking good and having fun." The commercial continues, showing a spunky Heidi being chased by a group of slow, lethargic boy cartoon characters, who are dressed as hotdogs, cupcakes and ice cream. While some argue that this is the company’s attempt to show the young target audience that they should get up and move rather than sit around consuming junk foods, others feel that little girls are being targeted for a grown up product, and being encouraged to hate their bodies, as well.
“Women have plenty of time to be targeted for their weight throughout their lives,” Change.org says in a message on its website, urging people to sign a petition to discontinue the product. “By not only marketing a shoe line to young girls, but also not even having an equivalent for boys Skechers is sending a clear message to girls and women: you're never too young to start hating your body.
“This is unacceptable. Both in theory and practice, this product is offensive and potentially harmful to girls everywhere. Tell Skechers to let kids be kids, and stop body policing young girls!”
Skechers does not currently have a Shape-up line for boys, but does offer a Shape-up line for both men and women. Additionally, Skechers reps have been quick to point out that the smallest size available for the new Skechers Shape-ups for Girls is a size 2, an average size for a seven-year-old girl, not a preschooler.
Some, however, land on the other side of the controversy, feeling that the product and campaign are an attempt to get kids moving and have fun doing it. The commercial does not, for example, encourage girls to “tone,” as their grown-up counterpart does. Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, said the company is trying to send a positive message about fitness.
"The whole message behind Shape-ups is to get moving, get exercise, and get fit," Armato told the New York Daily News in a statement. "This is the same messaging being used by the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, which is aimed specifically at children."
Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb recently gave their view on the shoes on NBCs Today Show: It is the parents of the children, not television, who are likely the greatest influences on their children’s body images.
Not sure what you think? Watch the commercial for yourself and decide which side of the fence you land on:
Skechers Commercial: YouTube.com