Is this a case of fashion going too far, or the internet being oversensitive? Pee Wee Pumps, a U.S. company, is selling baby heels to use as a prop at photo shoots.
Despite being in operation since 2014, the backlash has only just kicked off due to the company’s promo shots being shared on the U.K.-based Facebook group, Let Clothes Be Clothes, which aims to end gender stereotyping in the design and marketing of children’s clothing.
“Apart from the tremendously worrying sexualization of children such products contribute to, I don't even want to know the effects these shoes would have on small, developing feet,” commented disgruntled Facebook user Silvia Jasmin.
“Do they realize that the reason heeled shoes are perceived as sexy is because the heel forces the wearer to walk with their chest/buttocks out for balance?” added Rebecca Williams.
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However, Pee Wee Pumps owner Michele Holbrook said that the U.K. parents have taken her business idea out of context. The shoes are made from soft cotton with a bendable heel and fixed to the foot by a Velcro strap. They are not intended or designed for walking.
“This isn’t the first time that the U.K. has had a problem--they turn it into something it’s not; it’s a photo prop,” she told Footwear News.
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She added the shoes only range in sizes up to six months “when babies start to crawl,” so they are not even made for a foot that will be pounding the pavement.
“They look at it like you’re sexualizing babies,” she told the publication. “That’s their opinion if they want to take it, but they are intended as a photo prop.”
This isn’t the first time Michele’s business idea has received a tsunami of hate. Last May, her website traffic spiked when pictures of infants wearing her product were circulated online and once again criticized for sexualizing children. However, Michele isn't concerned. She believes "there’s no such thing as bad publicity," which has opened her up to bigger--even famous--clients.
One thing is for sure: these baby pumps have caused quite a stir!
This post was written by Amber Manto. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.