Pee Wee Pumps, a U.S. brand that specializes in “fashion shoes” for babies from zero to six months, has been causing controversy on the social networks by launching a line of heels for babies. The images show girls who can’t even crawl yet, wearing high heels. With the justification that they are suitable and cushioned, Pee We Pumps announces the heels for babies with phrases like “Indispensable in any woman’s closet”, “basic black” and “your princess will be the most beautiful”.
Baby Jumping: Innocent Play or Early Adulthation?
Many internet users disapproved of the launch of the brand, which received a shower of criticism on their social networks. Most of them accuse Pe Wee Pumps of sexualizing girls early. In response, the company justified itself with a note stating that it manufactures mothers’ shoes for babies: “Fashion mothers love to dress their girls in the most beautiful clothes and are always looking for the perfect shoe to complete the whole look. Now they’ve found it! Our shoes are just like Mommy’s favorite pair of shoes, but in miniature. Pee Wee Pumps will be your daughter’s first fashion piece,” says the text on the brand’s page.
For some time now, the process of early adultization of girls has been studied by pedagogues and researchers from all over the world. The phenomenon, which is shown through increasingly young girls interested in makeup and adult clothing, for example, is a controversial topic and divides opinions. In Brazil, Professor Cristhiane Ferreguett, of the University of the State of Bahia, recently published her doctoral thesis “Dialogical relations in children’s magazines: a process of adultization of girls”, defended at PUC-RS in 2014.
To defend her thesis, the teacher analyzed the special edition for girls from six to eleven years old of a children’s magazine. She found that the advertising discourse employed by the magazine induces adultery. In an article on the Rebrinc (Rede Brasileira Infância e Consumo) website, she says: “the reports of the magazine analyzed seem to be a kind of behavior guide for the consumption of products that children do not need to consume. False needs that replace authentic human relations and values and promote the belief that our identity is founded on the goods we possess or consume”. In another passage, he states that “Children with child behavior consume less and therefore advertising and media ask girls to dress like an adult woman, wear makeup and other products.
The early adultization of girls is a controversial issue that generates many disagreements. Although Pe Wee Pumps is receiving a lot of criticism in its networks, it also has its supporters: many mothers access the brand’s pages to say that they like the products very much, and that the polemic is an exaggeration; after all, they are just good-humored shoes for babies.
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