Monday, September 29, 2008

High heels for girl infants: taking sexualization too far

The company Heelarious is selling high-heels for parents to dress on their infants. I wrote this:

I'm guessing you don't mean to cause harm. I'm guessing you think this is cute. And high heels can be cute...on adult women. Young children - and now infants?!? - are going to have these supermodel cultural expectations placed on them at infancy?
Can't you just confine these things to adult and older teens? You know there is no freedom of choice for the infant. The parents would be dressing up their infant in minitiarized symbols of adult sexuality. This is troublesome for obvious reasons, but also because it's not in children's best interests to have these cultural symbols imposed on them, rather than letting them define themselves. We might think we are worshipping them when we call them "princess" and dress them as such. I myself love calling my girlfriend such pet names. But she's an accomplished adult and I openly respect and acknoedge these parts of her too. Your toy is hooking infants into a conformity before they have any other self-exploration, personal accomplishment, self-defition. Parents dressing up their infants in these sexual (or at least part-sexual) clothes? What parental behaviors are we encouraging?

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If you want to voice your opinion, tell them:

Heelarious

I learned about this on GPAC - the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition. Check their synopsis and list of others to call.

2 comments:

Sue said...

I heard about these and it made me so mad. I'm not sure there is a direct link between the sexualizing of girls and the pretty pink princess crap, but there might be. I disagree with, but can understand, wanting to dress your child in a glittery princess tank top. I have no idea what the people buying the ones that say tramp on them are thinking.

I guess both are attempts to stop looking at women and girls as people and start looking at them as objects again. And this princess thing is spreading to adults too. Disney sells princess wedding gowns.

And I'm glad that you call me pet names and respect me.

H4736 said...

It seems like the downside of "free choice". No one's forcing these parents to buy this stuff (except perhaps for peer pressure), but these parents who do ARE forcing their kids to wear them. Essentially any thing parents have their young children do is a forced act, though we accept some of these as good - such as school - and for these acts we don't use the word "force", we use "responsible parenting". I'm fine with that word choice. But buying these things is a form of force that is not justified.

I'm all for parents buying playful things for their kids. I'm all for parents letting their hair down, and just having fun with their kids. But there's always a line. And perhaps we liberals need to speak it more, while simultaneously defending free choice.

Free choice, with responsibility. It's something that women generally want when they have to deal with an unintended pregnacy. Anti-abortionists imagine all sorts negative motives in these women who choose abortion, but those who have counseled women - in non-coercive, non-misleading ways - KNOW that these women are trying to do the responsible thing for themselves, their would-be children, their OWN sense unborn life, their already-existing children or children of the future, and their own parents's/family's ability ot tsupport the child. Ultimately I think the woman alone should be the decider, and she must be free from excess social influence, even while trying to think about everything outside and around her which is what we would all do in such a situation.

Cold-hearted, abortion-loving murderers indeed. I don't think even women who are completely guilt-free about their abortions (they do exist, and I support them) really ENJOY abortions the way that anti-abortionists suggest.

My favorite argument with one of them:

He said states should decide and not be "forced" in a democracy. I said women would then be forced by the state to lose access to abortion help. He said these women could bus themselves to the next state. I said, isn't that a striction on women's individual freedom. He said:

"You might be into abortions, but I'm not"

Who is really "into abortions"? I'm into pizza and comics.