Saturday, September 13, 2008

Get 'Em Young

I am not a shopper (Gene Wolfe once called me a "closet man" because of my dislike of shopping for clothes). My children are grown, and they were boys, so I'm out of touch with fashions for little girls. They just don't enter my consciousness -- until now.

A pair of mothers have started a business that makes high heels for female babies and toddlers. There are six styles, each looking like something Carrie Bradshaw might have worn on Sex and the City. The heels are "squishy," which means they retract if a child actually tries to walk on them. Each pair cost $35. You can view them at

Now, I am a feminist but not a radical feminist. When I gave my GOH speech at Wiscon, I wore lipstick and a pink dress. About four times a year I put on high heels (the Nebulas, the Hugos, the odd party or wedding), much in the same spirit that I might wear a bustier or a sword or a floor-length cape (which I actually own one of): fun, flirty, not real life. Nonetheless, the idea of inculcating -- and that's what it is -- tiny girls with the idea that they are born to wear high heels makes my stomach turn. In heels, you are effectively handicapped. You can't run, you can't lift anything heavy. At the end of the evening, your feet hurt. At the end of lifetime, they're deformed. Is this really the message we want to send to girls?

What are these maternal entrepreneurs -- and their customers -- thinking of?


Cameron Lewis said...

I suspect there's very little thought involved beyond "look, a new way to bilk idiots out of their money!" **stampede**

Steven Francis Murphy said...

Next they'll be binding feet.

As a former grunt, I'm often horrified at the things women to do their feet.

S. F. Murphy

Ann said...

Why don't they just bind the babies feet like the Chinese used to do?

g d townshende said...

The new tennis shoes I bought make me feel like my own feet have been bound (they didn't feel like that in the store, when I tried them on). Either they need to be stretched a little, so they fit better, or I need to get shoes that fit better. Given how these have made me feel (especially during my recent trip to NYC), I can't imagine why a woman would do something similar... deliberately.

James A. Ritchie said...

I think putting kids in heels of any kind is stupid, but I'd be a liar if I said I didn't like the way a woman looks in high heels. On the right woman, with good legs, high heels are just plain sexy.

But if the shoe hurts, don't wear it. Seems to me a woman should know this.

I do wonder how much of a part design plays. The most comfortable thing I've ever worn was a pair of custom made cowboy boots with three inch riding heels. But they made a mold of my foot, built the boots around the mold, and such boots are comfortable all day long.

Librarian D.O.A. said...

Little girls from about age three up might appreciate these, depending on their personality (full Princess Mode types) but a baby just learning to walk or younger is just being forced into mommy's idea of what a little girl can and should be.

Luke said...

My first reaction was that this was atrocious. But if they're actually squishy and comfortable as claimed, then they seem stupid but not necessarily evil.