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Stride Rite: Shoes that peddle gender stereotypes

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The Daily Mail connected Stride Rite’s marketing to broader trends; for example, they cited research by Elizabeth Sweet, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, whose research suggests that gender segregating and stereotyping of toys is becoming worse with time–so much so that “the world of toys looks a lot more like 1952 than 2012.”

[The Christian Science Monitor editor's note: For it's part, Stride Rite responded to these concerns with the following statement, which focuses on their footwear but not their marketing strategies.

"Stride Rite Children’s Group develops footwear that is specifically designed to meet the needs of growing children while offering a broad assortment of products in a range of styles that are of interest for both girls and boys. We strongly believe that all kids should be active and we provide shoes that enable and encourage kids to play and use their imaginations. Our commitment to quality, style and “kid rite” innovation is at the forefront of our minds as we strive to provide options to all parents and children."]

Meanwhile, Jezebel offered a characteristically entertaining approach to the subject, writing:

This just in: being a child and taking steps to propel you from one area to another is a gendered act. Boys walk; girls sparkle and twirl and make princess wishes. Boys also crouch and pretend to shoot webs out of their hands, because that sort of thing is fun when you are a boy. (The only time that girls crouch is when they are picking up face-up pennies in their never ending quest to make a lot of wishes.)

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