A new ad campaign by Skechers takes its popular Shape-Up sneaker and markets it to girls. Skechers' line of "Shape-Up" sneakers was originally targeted solely to women but now includes men's and girls' versions. It promises to burn calories, improve posture, and tone your legs and butt - "all without stepping foot in a gym!" Conspicuously missing from the lineup are boys' Shape-Ups, which only add to the controversy over what, exactly, Shape-Ups are about.

You may recall the Skechers Superbowl commercial with spokesmodel Kim Kardashian in a steamy scene with her "trainer." Complete with sweating, panting, and gratuitous body close-ups, Kardashian coyly tells her trainer that they have to "break up." Flipping her hair and pointing her famous rear at the bewildered "trainer," she looks him up and down and says, "it's not someone, it's something" while kicking her foot behind her so her new Shape-Up can point, well, at her behind.

Although Skechers claims its Shape-Ups are about being healthy, that's not exactly what Kardashian's ad appearance portrays. The message seems to be that thanks to Shape-Ups, her butt looks great, men drool over her, and she doesn't even have to work hard for it. This advertising sells the message that a woman's body is made for adoration and that every woman should want to get into steamy-sex shape with as little work as possible. Unfortunately, there's nothing new about that. Remember Suzanne Somers' "thank you Thighmaster" ads in the early 90s?

And now Skechers brings that same message to girls in shoe sizes that would fit a 7-year-old. In the commercial for girls' Shape-Ups, an enthusiastic cartoon named Heidi sings in front of her adoring fans, "Heidi's got new Shape-Ups, has everything a girl wants, ...

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