London: Girls as young as three are picking up high heels from showrooms—a fashion trend that is prematurely sexualising children, warn parenting groups.
The trend was sparked after pictures of Suri Cruise— the three-year-old daughter of actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes—wearing sparkly heels came in print.
The kid is regularly photographed wearing high heels.
Asda, GapKids and Next are among the High Street brands that offer heels for young girls.
“Some of the shoes I have seen on sale look more suited to a lap-dancing club than the feet of a young girl,” the Telegraph quoted Justine Roberts of Mumsnet, the parenting forum, as saying.
“The items in question are prematurely sexualising young children. We are saying to retailers, ``Have a look at your range and ask yourselves if these items are appropriate. Some of the school shoes Tesco sells have got a two-inch heel. You shouldn’t have a high heel if your feet are developing.
“It’s not about being Mary Whitehouse. It’s about not sleepwalking into a world where this is normal.
“Young girls always want to dress up and emulate adults, and that’s fine. But when the bulk of the range on offer is like this, then it is making our children grow up too fast,” he added.
Mumsnet is running a campaign, Let Girls Be Girls, asking retailers to sign up to a code of practice and given an undertaking not to sell products which prematurely sexualise children.
Nicola Lamond of Netmums, another parenting group, said: “I went shopping with my daughter and was horrified by how many shoes came with a high heel in sizes to fit girls as young as three. These shoes will be harder to walk in than flat shoes so I``d be worried my child would injure themselves.”
Gregor McCoshim, a podiatrist, warned that young children should not wear heels.
“The fact children can wear these is worrying. Any heel above 2cm increases the risk of twisting an ankle. Wearing them can cause strains in the back which is a potential problem for their growth and development,” he said.