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I’m With Stupid – March 31, 2017

by Todd Hartley

Before we get too far into this, I want to warn you all that what you are about to read may shock and offend you. At least, I hope it does. But if you have delicate sensibilities and want to bail out now, I won’t take it personally.

For the rest of you, I’m going to relate the tale of the happenstance that may well have shredded the last of my hope for humanity.

Here’s my routine most weeks when it comes to looking for something to write about, for no particular reason: First I go to the BBC News website and click on “Also in the News.” If I don’t find a compelling headline there, I move on to other websites’ “Odd News” pages. If that doesn’t work, I just make stuff up.

This week, however, I didn’t need to go any further than the BBC News homepage, because there, sitting in headline position No. 6, two spots behind “Pilot dies on American Airlines flight,” was the following headline: “Outrage over high-heeled shoes for babies.” The subhead read, “A U.S. company that makes footwear for infants described as ‘diva defining’ is labeled ‘disgusting.'”

Obviously, there’s no way I could pass by something like that, so I clicked on the link, fully expecting to read that some idiot had designed high heels for toddlers just learning to walk and that bigger idiots were actually buying them.

I wish I could tell you that was the case. I really do. Because then the outrage would make sense and the positioning of the headline might be justified. But the BBC meant it when they referred to “infants” in the subhead. The “disgusting” shoes in question are tiny, soft booties for babies up to 6 months old. They’re basically just little photo props for people who want to dress their babies up and take pictures.

The company that makes them, Pee Wee Pumps, posted images of babies wearing the shoes on its Facebook page, and the outrage began. According to the BBC, visitors to the company’s site called the shoes “sick,” “horrid,” “wrong” and “not OK.” Others suggested that the shoes should be banned and the owners and employees of Pee Wee Pumps should be sent to prison.

Earlier this month, the company received criticism from an activist group in the U.K. named Let Clothes Be Clothes. The group posted a link to Pee Wee Pumps’ website on its own Facebook page with the warning “beware, the photos are shocking,” and group members went berserk.

“What the F-wording F-word!” wrote one user (she used the real F-word). Another wrote, “Jesus wept. There are no words.” In all, there were hundreds of comments from people who just had to let everyone know how offended they were.

Naturally, I was curious to see what sort of people would get so worked up over infant booties, so I clicked on the “About” link on the Let Clothes Be Clothes Facebook page. Basically, it’s a group of English people who are “calling for an end to gender stereotypes used in the design & marketing of children’s clothing.”

Seriously? I’m not even sure I get it. Do they want every article of kids clothing to be completely asexual? Or are they suggesting that people should buy both boys and girls clothes regardless of the gender of their child?

One thing I know they’re suggesting, based on numerous comments likening Pee Wee Pumps to shoes that “prostitutes” would wear, is that Let Clothes Be Clothes evidently thinks that women who wear high heels are prostitutes. How does that feel, virtually every woman in the Western world?

As you might imagine, faith-in-humanity wise, I’m dismayed by the fact that some people like to dress their babies up in high heels and strew their sexualized pictures all over social media. And, of course, I’m saddened that people could be so angry about boys and girls clothes that they would form an activist group about it.

But what really bums me out is that, at heart, this is nothing more than a tale of a company making a product and some people not liking it and expressing their opinions about it on Facebook. It happens literally millions of times a day.

And yet, the BBC, one of the most respected news organizations in the world, had it on the front page of its website, like it freaking mattered, or something. Evidently, this is what passes for news these days.

I have no words. Well, no more words, anyway.

Todd Hartley is just glad it wasn’t yet another story about Donald Trump.

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