May 11, 2011 at 12:46 PM ET
How young is too young to shape up?
Or, to put it more bluntly, should 7-year-olds be worrying about firming their rear ends?
Plenty of parents are steamed about Skechers' "Shape-ups" sneakers for girls as young as 7. The company claims the shoe -- the adult version is hawked by spokeswoman Kim Kardashian -- tones legs and rears.
[A]ds for a glittery pink youth version are causing alarm with parents worried over the message they may send to young girls when it comes to body image.
The animated commercial shows a girl band playing a concert for a mass of screaming fans.
"Heidi's got new Shape-ups, got everything a girl wants. She's got the height, got the bounce, yes, she's looking good and having fun," one girl sings.
The slim, cartoon girls are chased by lethargic boys dressed as hot dogs, cupcakes and ice cream, a scenario that critics say creates a double standard for young girls and boys.
The company only makes Shape-ups for girls, not for boys. Grrrr.
Of course, there's also the whole question of whether "toning" shoes really work. "The American Council on Exercise last year dismissed the idea that shoes like Reebok's EasyTone and Skechers Shape-ups can enhance exercise or burn more calories," the Daily News reports. And the rounded soles of the shoes might cause ankle-twists for young runners, one podiatric surgeon warns.
Here's Kathie Lee and Hoda's take on the controversial shoe:
The ladies make a great point. Our daughters aren't getting their main body-image messages from television -- they get them from their moms. So if mom is constantly disparaging herself and bemoaning her flabby thighs, chances are daughter will start casting a critical eye on her own body. If mom exercises, eats well and loves her body, that's a way more powerful message than some shoe commercial. So we should all be healthy and be kind to ourselves -- if not for our sake, then for our kids.
What do you think of the Shape-ups shoes for girls?
Update: Skechers has pulled the "Shape-ups" sneakers for little girls from their website, but they're still being sold in stores.