High-heeled shoes for babies spark online backlash

A photo from the Pee Wee Pumps Facebook page.
A photo from the Pee Wee Pumps Facebook page.PHOTO: FACEBOOK
Pictures of the fashion range posted online have led to criticism on social media sites.
Pictures of the fashion range posted online have led to criticism on social media sites.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/PEE WEE PUMPS

WASHINGTON - A US footwear company has come under fire online over its range of high-heeled shoes for babies, according to reports.

Consumers and campaign groups are outraged over the product line by Pee Wee Pumps, which it describes as "cool" and "diva defining".

The company makes soft shoes for infants.

Pictures of the high-heel fashion range posted online have led to criticism on social media sites, said the BBC.

The shoes, which have collapsible heels and pointed toes, are available for infants up to six months old, the British broadcaster reported.

In the latest post on the company's Facebook page, an infant in heels sits astride a miniature motorbike with the caption: "This little #Diva, defining cool posing in her #PeeWeePumps."

The image was criticised by a number of the site's users, who suggested it was "wrong" and "disgusting" to portray infants in such a way. It comes amid growing concern at what is seen as the sexualisation of children, the BBC said..

"This is not ok," wrote Melissa Balinski.

Another commenter, Jen, said that "promoting products for babies this way is just sick".

Other promotional images for Pee Wee Pumps products include babies wearing bead necklaces, sequin dresses and tutus.

The range of shoes, which features styles made from red satin and leopard-skin material, have repeatedly met mixed responses from Facebook users, said the BBC.

"I will definitely avoid this brand," wrote Barrow, commenting on a picture of a baby in "black pump classics".

"This is horrid," added user Flory.

“Makes me sick to my stomach, exploiting INFANTS......wow mothers are crazy,” Sienna Rose wrote.

But some users left positive comments, remarking how the shoes made the infants "look adorable".

"Too cute," wrote Latoyia.

The Pee Wee Pumps website displays a range of designs, labelled "Swanky", "Wild Child" and "Diva".

"She'll make a statement in this bold, red hue," reads the product description alongside a design labelled "Sassy".

According to the BBC, the company came under fire earlier this month (March 2017) from British campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes, which posted images of the product range for infants with the warning "beware, the photos are shocking".

"I will definitely avoid this brand," wrote Owen.

"That's disturbing. Even without the heels the pics would be not even remotely okay," wrote Eva.

Another user, Natasha, added to the campaign group's post: "Should be banned."

Pee Wee Pumps is based in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The founder, Michele Holbrook, wrote in a statement on the company website that her products "are not intended for walking, but rather to meet the current and ever-growing popular demand for 'high-fashion' in infant apparel".