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Dolled Up: High Heels for Four Year Olds - from Monsoon

Back in March I wrote a post about products that sexualise our children, and shared a few thoughts and images of makeup, bras and slutty fairies that I had noticed being marketed towards my four year old daughter. If you are interested and want to know more about why I think 'stuff matters', please take a look at the original post:

Dolled Up: Products That Sexualise Our Children

You might also like to read this article about new research that shows that girls as young as 6 are associating tight and revealing clothes with popularity and already aspire to copy this look:

Huffington Post: Why Six Year Old Girls Want to be Sexy

Today in leading UK retailer Monsoon I discovered a whole range of high heeled shoes that start in a size 8, and would therefore fit my 4 year old daughter. Monsoon are a fairly 'conservative' shop; their clothes usually have a vintage and old fashioned feel, so it seems doubly surprising that they would choose to market products of this nature:

And, although they don't have a heel, I wasn't 100% convinced about my 4 year old wearing these, either:

Especially if she's got her Monsoon Children's bunny ears on...
has given herself a full manicure...

painted her nails according to the day of the week...

and is wearing her make-up...oh, sorry, 'Face Paint'

Monsoon, this stuff is for grown ups. Please cease to stock it, sign up to the BRC Responsible Retailers Guidelines, and let girls be girls, and women be sexy.

I was born in high heels and I've worn them ever since.
Helena Christensen

Sometimes you have to sacrifice your performance for high heels.
Gwen Stefani

Sometimes, when I'm alone, I put on six inch heels and wear nothing else and dance around in front of the mirror and do my little stripper dance.
Tori Spelling

To me, being grown-up meant smoking cigarettes, drinking cocktails, and dressing up in high heels and glamourous outfits.
Lorna Luft

What doctor does not need platform heels and dark black eyeliner to treat their patients?
Sarah Chalke

Put a pair of high heels on a fellow and just look what he was reduced to.
Celeste Bradley

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.
Faith Whittlesey

You put high heels on and you change.
Manolo Blahnik


  1. I don't understand why there is such a disconnect between girls wearing adult clothing and the adult's wearing it *in order to look sexy*.

    High heels are worn to look sexy. End of story. That is why they were invented in the first place.

    (from Wiki:
    Reasons for wearing high heels, which are almost exclusively aesthetic reasons, include:
    They change the angle of the foot with respect to the lower leg, which accentuates the appearance of calves.
    They change the wearer's posture, requiring a more upright carriage and altering the gait in what is considered a seductive fashion.
    They make the wearer appear taller.
    They make the legs appear longer.
    They make the foot appear smaller.
    They make the toes appear shorter.
    They make the arches of the feet higher and better defined.)

    How is a little girl supposed to live her life in shoes like that? How can someone say those shoes are cute?

    I have to constantly fight against this in my home, because high heeled shoes equal beautiful shoes in my daughters' minds, despite me not even owning a pair of my own! Blah.

    1. Thanks, that's a good quote! And great points. Yes, heels are all about sexy and just because these Monsoon ones are expensive and a bit more classy than the Bratz ones, doesn't make them ok!!!

    2. And, I might add, high heels impede a woman's ability to walk, making it harder for her to run away from anyone. High heels make it harder to walk, period.

  2. The fact that they are selling them must mean that there are idiots out there who actually buy them!!! Suri Cruise has a lot to answer for...

    1. Yes, and this was in my little provincial branch, so they are surely everywhere. And since I've written both the "Dolled Up" posts, quite a few people have said, 'Thanks, I really like that product, I think I'll get one!' (face palm) x

  3. Exactly what Raisin4cookies said! How exactly is making a 4 yr old more sexy or cute, in any way acceptable?!?

    1. Agreed Mel.
      Lovely blog by the way, and art work. I hope you keep at it! x

  4. I'm horrified that shoe manufacturers are doing this to such young girls! What sort of long term damage is this doing to their feet? 30 years ago a teacher solemnly warned me not to damage my teenage feet the way she had damaged hers. I shudder to think what putting a 4yo's soft foot bones in such an unnatural walking position is doing.

    1. Weirdly and by coincidence Emma, my mum is a Chiropodist who specialises in gait analysis! So I am hoping to get a comment on this from her and paste it here later! But it doesn't really take an expert to see that wearing such shoes at a very young age is going to impact on the whole skeletal system.
      Thanks for your comment x

  5. I was going to say the same as Emma B. Women do their feet enough damage with heels. I can only imagine the ill-effects of beginning with heels in childhood when your feet are still developing. That, together with the sexualisation, and shame, shame, shame, Monsoon!

    1. Oh where is my Mum?! C'mon mum, it's your chance to shine!

      Yes - bad on 2 levels, physical and mental. What is good about them, we might ask instead? What justifies the heel???


  6. In 2008 I was looking for pretty white ballerina style shoes for my then 15 month old daughter to wear with her flower girl dress at my brother's wedding. I was appalled to find that most of the shoes I found had a little heel on them - for a 1 year old for goodness sake!!!! I mean, most have only just learned to walk. Yes, I know it was only for a special occasion and she was only going to wear them for a few hours. But I refused to buy into that insanity. I did find some pretty flats eventually... She's now 5 and still FAAAR away from owning a pair of heels. I now understand my mum. I used to think she was so uptight because she refused to buy me heels as a tween. Now I get it and am thankful for her common sense.

    1. My mum made me wait for a lot of things like ear piercing, certain ways of dressing, made it all the more exciting and rewarding to reach those mile stones and feel I was finally becoming a grown up! I'm beginning to understand my mum more and more these days...!


  7. While I am usually found siding with all of the above in my concerns about the sexualisation of children, I feel obliged to confess that my 8yo has had a pair of these very 'heels' for dressing up. I don't see them as sexual, she (and I) saw them as dance shoes because of their resemblance to ballroom dancing shoes.
    She was not allowed to wear them out of the house, they were for dressing up/play only, and she is allowed to dress up in my shoes and clothes as I did as a child.

    I am in full agreement that, for the most part, heels are for adults and I certainly feel that feet and legs are precious so I would not want my children to be wearing damaging footwear until they are old enough to make an informed decision of their own.

    I have to say though that I would be most displeased at the thought of her wearing the other shoes pictured in the post, the feathered, thong sandals. For me, those are much more sexualised.

    This raises the question for me, are heels the real problem here? Or is it a wider design concern?

    1. First of all that's a very brave confession so thank you for your honesty!

      I think there are a mixture of concerns. The physical, although, as you say, they could be limited to 'just for play' which would limit the physical damage. The message they carry that we need to aspire to look good and even suffer in the process worries me more I think. Yes - when we are teens or grown ups we might give focus to our appearance but I just don't think this should be on the radar of a 4 year old! To me this feels like an infringement of their liberty, their human right to be free, to scramble up banks, to eat what they want, and not to even KNOW about 'judgement' of others regarding skin, hair, clothes, etc...that will all come later!

      So no, it's not heels per se that worry me, just any product that tells little girls that their looks are important!


  8. Just went to check out school shoes before taking my 6 year old. Even start-rite do not do a single pair of girls' shoes which are not open, have withdrawn all their traditional styles in favour of more pointed versions with hideous bows and patent leather, and introduced a new range for older girls called 'Angry Angelz' which are flimsy ballet flats barely more solid than the crap you could buy in Asda. I could cry.

    1. And weirdly, in the promo film for Angry Angels shoes, all the girls dance in bare feet! Very confusing, although at least they are all flat shoes and not what I would call sexualised, even if they are s**t quality as you suggest!

      As my eldest daughter starts school in September, I am dreading the 'shoe envy' that is bound to occur! I am sure that is when she will start to hate me, for about 20 years, then she might come round (see Alex's comment above!)

      Thanks for your input x


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