The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Forget Sexualising Teens, Now You Can Sexualise Your Newborn!

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 12, 2008

While I usually look askance, to a certain extent, at the “sexualising our kids” debate (a lot of it is Australian Family Association-led hot air), there are times when I have to agree to file things in the “yep, that’s fucked up” file – like Heelarious’ high heels for babies, for example:

They sold their first shoes 14 weeks ago and haven’t looked back. “Oh yeah, it draws attention,” Jenelle Kulaas said. “People see them and are like, ‘Those are hilarious’.”

The booties are only made for children up to 6 months old, and the heel is squishy for safety reasons.

The shoes are the brainchild of Washington woman Britta Bacon, who thought up the idea and the brand name, “Heelarious” on her daughter’s fourth birthday.

The shoes are described as “extremely funny, completely soft shoes for babies 0-6 months designed to look like high heels.”

“That’s kind of all I could think about at her birthday party and came home and registered the website, and called Hayden,” Bacon said.

Supporters of this incredibly naff product will no doubt cry “It’s a joke, get a sense of humour!” (already boxes of the booties are being shipped to the Emmys to include in goodie bags, evidently). But I fail to see the gag.

Of all fashion and clothing items, one could argue that the high heel is – along with perhaps the corset and, if you want to go there, the bra – one of the most contentious points in discussions of gender conditioning and the perceived oppression of women. Added to that is the fact that, really, high heels are designed with sex appeal in mind and you have one unbelievably icky proposition. It’s not heelarious at all, really.

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7 Responses to “Forget Sexualising Teens, Now You Can Sexualise Your Newborn!”

  1. Mel Campbell said

    Yeah, I totally agree. I wrote about this for the September jmag, contrasting it with this – let me just quote:

    “The ‘heelarity’ springs from the absurd vision of babies sashaying in adult shoes, but while a ridiculous wig is playful by definition, these heels have the same tawdry subtext as tween G-strings: they seem more like they’re training babies to become adult sex objects. And that’s one kind of innocence that it’s not funny to violate.”

  2. Clem Bastow said

    Spot on. It’s so creepy, and it’s amazing that the women (mothers!) behind it seem so oblivious to this fact.

  3. Hannah said

    The shoes are described as “extremely funny”?

    I’ve obviously missed the joke here.

  4. Mel Campbell said

    That’s because you’re a Humourless Feminist™, Hannah!
    :-)

    (I put that emoticon in so you would know that even though I am a feminist, I have a sense of humour.)

  5. mscate said

    i thought they were a joke, but they really exist-yuck. What’s next, nipple tassles?

  6. hannahcolman said

    Oh, hang on! I think I just got it! It’s funny because they’re squishy? Because they’re tiiiiiiny!! And tiny baby shoes are so cute and funny especially when they have squishy HEEEEEELS. OMG ROFL, I geddit now.

    Mel, can I join your LOLFEMINIST gang now plz?! :D :D :D

    Also, Cate, don’t give these people any ideas!!

  7. […] in such a ridiculously sexualised way? She should have door-to-door denial sales parties with those high-heels-for-newborns […]

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