Dear Stride Rite,
Today, I walked by your store on California Street in San Francisco, and I was saddened by how differently you market shoes to girls and boys. What’s with your gender stereotyping? I don’t get it. Aren’t girls and boys feet pretty similar? Don’t all kids need shoes where they can be active? Please tell me why Stride Rite markets shoes to little kids as if girls and boys are completely different species. As author Rebecca Hains writes, according to Stride Rite, girls are pretty and boys are active. This kind of gender stereotyping limits all kids.
Here’s the huge poster selling shoes to girls in the window of the San Francisco store.
According to Stride Rite, girls like pink, purple, sparkles, and princesses.
Here’s your poster selling shoes to boys.
Boys are powerful. They like orange, blue, red, yellow, and black.
The shoes displayed below the girl poster are also– surprise, surprise– pink, purple and sparkly. The shoes displayed below the boy poster feature Spider-Man and Captain America shoes.
Where are the female superheroes at Stride Rite? Not on the socks you sell. Those are my daughter’s hands in the picture. She was looking for Wonder Woman.
Apparently, Wonder Woman isn’t one of the world’s greatest superheroes. Isn’t she a member of the Justice League? Where’d she go? What about Black Widow? Why has she gone missing from the Avengers Assemble? And while we’re looking for MIA powerful females, where’s Leia with her lightsaber? Why isn’t she part of the Stride Rite Star Wars shoes marketing plan?
Here are my three daughters ages 4, 7, and 10 wearing Stride Rite shoes.
Unfortunately, we will no longer be shopping at Stride Rite.The way you guide girls to one side of your store and boys to the other is manipulative and destructive. My youngest child chose her orange shoes from the “boy” side, but every year, my kids get more influenced by marketing such as yours. Their choices become more limited as they repeatedly see that girls are supposed to be so radically different than boys, only wear certain colors, and behave in a certain “feminine” way. For as long as I can, I hope to protect my kids from learning that boys are valued for what they do, while girls are valued for how they appear. That means not shopping at Stride Rite.
Please go to Stride Rite’s Facebook page to tell them to stop gender stereotyping.
Update: On Reel Girl’s Facebook page, Lizards and Lullabies posted this email just received from Stride Rite. Guess they’re working hard to snag back to school shoppers. Makes sense, that’s why my family went shoe shopping.
I couldn’t click on the commercial link so I went to You Tube. Ugh, it’s really awful. As one commenter Tweets:
wish like a princess? They’ve found a way to make a princess EVEN MORE passive!
Here’s the ad:
Update: This comment, posted on Pigtail Pals Facebook page, makes me so frustrated. Diana got way more than a confused look from the sales associate when her daughter dared to step beyond gender limits at Stride Rite:
And one more thing, while I’m here. All that “pretty,” shiny stuff on girl’s shoes gets scuffed up and falls off pretty fast. When it does, parents are likely to buy kids new shoes, which is great for business and also, creating lifetime consumers. Check out this post: Are girl’s shoes designed to disintegrate?