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A Tale of Two Pairs of Sneakers

 by Michele Yulo


Here we have two different pairs of sneakers. The ones on the left are Darth Vader designs--the eyes light up. Very cool. On the right, a pair in bright turquoise with streaks of fucshia--also cool. Does it matter who is wearing them? Both are awesome sneaks.

The ones on the left are my daughter's. She loves Star Wars and thinks Darth Vader is fierce. We found them at a discount department store. When she saw them, she had to have them. At first, we couldn't find them in her size--but she wouldn't give up until we finally found a pair that fit her.

The blue and pink ones on the right are being worn by my friend Lisa's son, Mason [Lisa has contributed to PFZ's blog previously.]. She emailed me to let me know how he came to pick out these shoes, as well as what happened when he wore them out the first time. Here's how it went down: 

"We went to Target to pick up a few things--not shoes. We passed the shoe department. He immediately grabbed a pair of pink and white sparkly Hello Kitty Ballet slipper/flats. He put them on and walked around in them and said that he loved them and wanted them because they were so beautiful. I didn't discourage him, but we talked about the practicality of those shoes. I didn't mention anything about them being for girls. I simply told him that they would fall off of his feet if he tried to run, jump, and play. Those shoes were more for sitting around--so when would he wear them? He wouldn't back down. I brought him to the other aisles with the shoes that were darker colors and had super heroes on them, etc. (the 'boy' aisle). He didn't like any of those shoes. He said they were boring. He did like a pair of sneakers that had Spiderman on them, but they were too big for him. So we went back to the girl aisle. He saw the blue and pink sneakers. He said he loved them and wanted to try them on. They fit perfectly. He said he could run and jump and play in those and they were beautiful. So we bought them. He wore them to the karate studio tonight. Two girls asked him why he was wearing girl shoes. His brother, Linden, immediately said: 'Those are not girls shoes--they are just shoes and anyone can wear whatever they want to wear.' Mason said, 'It's okay if they are girl shoes--I like girls.'"

While they were at the karate studio, several adults told Mason how cool his sneaks were. When they got home, his dad told him he thought the sneakers were fantastic. Seven-year-old Linden (one of PFZ's biggest fans) then told his mom that I should be told about this "shoe situation." He said that more people have to know that they don't have to wear a certain color or thing that says "boy" or "girl." He said that everyone can wear or do whatever they like. Indeed, that is the goal--to get the point where nobody asks a boy why he is wearing pink, or a girl why she likes to play with boy things. Until then, we will applaud parents who allow their children to be who they are, and give a high-five to kids who who won't be boxed in by labels.


Reader Comments (5)

Love this! I'm glad you were told about the "shoe situation," LOL, and that you have written about it. Fewer labels--more choices!

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori Day

Love it! My dad took my 3 year old son to get a bike helmet and he really wanted to get the Disney princess one...knowing how I feel about princesses in general, my dad gently steered him towards a clearly 'girl' helmet that my son loves with pink, purple, and blue swirls on it.

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertanya w.

I am so glad I found PFZ! I found you through Ines'! I look forward to becoming a part of this communty! Check out my site/twitter/fb if you can.

Matt aka g33kdad

April 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterG33kDad

OMG, Lisa is totally spot on about those ballerina shoes:

I didn't mention anything about them being for girls. I simply told him that they would fall off of his feet if he tried to run, jump, and play. Those shoes were more for sitting around--so when would he wear them?

Has anyone ever looked at how shoe design can be used to discourage girls from being as active as boys? Which is, btw, one reason why my little daughter does not own a single pair of ballerina slippers.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharlotte

As a kid I used to own a Mr.T kite and T-shirt, and also other items of Mr T and his A-Team. :)

Anyway, I think it's fine to wear "ballerina shoes" for special occasions, but not for physical activity. I have a few pairs myself as where I work we have to have a professional appearance, but I hate to wear high heels.

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

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