Sunday, August 3, 2008

What You Learn Reading Comments or ... I didn't know about the baby high heels


High heels for baby girls? Yikes!

On my post at BlogHer.com, SAHM to WAHM Takes More than Moxie, I read a comment from Chris who also writes at Momathon. She talked about juggling work while caring for children, but that's not what got me. I tend to visit the blogs of people who leave comments and when I went to Chris's blog as well as her BlogHer crosspostings, I read about high heels for baby girls. What!

On NBC's Bobbie's Beauty Bag with Bobbie Thomas, they covered this story under things that make you go hmmmm. According to Bobbie, the high-heel shoes from Heelarious do not hurt the baby. They're soft. However, she said, women are taking sides on whether the shoes, that are intended to be a joke, contribute to the sexualization of children. (The shoes sell for $35 at Heelarious.com.)

According to Bobbie, one commenter at her column said that her "gay husband" thought women shouldn't take this so personally since baby boys are given trucks and guns as infants and it doesn't automatically make them war-like. (No, the woman doesn't actually have a gay husband. The "my gay husband" thing is another pop culture trend, a term for a woman's gay male friend who tells her the truth about how she looks supposedly because he knows more about fashion.) On the shoe issue, it seems that people are saying "Oh, these high heel shoes are just a joke for home. You wouldn't take your baby girl out in public like that or to Grandma's house."

So, I ask, what's the joke, that one day your baby girl will grow up and fit a stereotype of womanhood or that by nature she'll be attracted to Manolos like the women on Sex and the City (a reference from Chris's post)? Is that the dream some people have of their little girls' future?

Like Chris at MomaThon, I see the humor and cuteness, but I also see that there's room for concern.

At some point, many little girls like to play dress-up and put on "mama's shoes," but that's what makes that moment adorable: the little girl chose to put on her mama's shoes. That moment is also one of those precious mini-passage rites. Why can't we wait for it and cherish it more if it comes?

Society is full of double standards. On the one hand we crucify a parent like the late Patsy Ramsey for dressing up JonBenet, her daughter, and putting that little girl in kiddie beauty pageants, and on the other we laugh at putting our baby girls in high heels while they're still in the crib.

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