Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Perhaps Sketchers should shape up

Companies marketing "adult" products to young girls is nothing new (Abercrombie Kids' thongs, "sexy" Halloween costumes for tots, etc.), but something especially irks me about the new Sketchers Shape-ups for girls commercial. It's the sloppy and misguided use of "girl power."

What exactly is going on in the scene where the trim and happy girl is being chased by slovenly boys dressed in ice cream cone, cupcake and hot dog outfits? Girls rule and boys drool? Or skinny girls rule and fat girls drool over junk food? All of the above?

Girl power used to mean hairy armpits, burning bras and the rejection of oppressive norms. Then marketers got a hold of it and are trying to convince a younger generation that it means attaining the very same unattainable beauty standards the feminist movement tore down.

I think it's messed up that Sketchers is marketing Shape-ups to girls (and if you agree I encourage you to sign this petition). But I'm not going to deny there's a market for them (that's unfortunately probably a lot more profitable than Shape-ups for boys). What pisses me off more is that the campaign mixes the girl power message with another that tells girls as young as seven that they need to shape up.

I buy beauty products and am probably a little too obsessed with going to the gym... I also consider myself a feminist. I'm pretty sure the latter is in spite of, not because of, the former.
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