Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Reebok Better-Ass Shoes: Are we this stupid?

February 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Body Image

I stumbled upon an article about Reebok’s Easy Tone Shoes on Jezebel.

While they immediately whined sexism, the objectification of woman, yada yada yada…I’m shrieking “FOUL!”

Time out ladies, WE are 100% at fault for these ads. Actually 110%.

Let’s get a grip on reality here – WE drive this market. WE always have, and WE always will, until we stop complaining about being treated like a piece of meat and instead start believing in our true life purpose which has nothing to do with the shape or size of our butt, breasts, or any other part of our bodies.

I know, I know, I am a “Body Image Activist.” I am supposed to have empathy, compassion, and an outpouring of wisdom for all of our emotional issues surrounding our female frames. Well today it ain’t happening. I’m not in the mood. Call it tough love, call it what ever the hell you want to, but the truth is that after four plus years of talk-talk-talking about this topic, I am not seeing much change. Are you?

When I turn the mirror to myself, I can tell you that, without a doubt, being a model at 16 years of age was a God’s greatest blessing. What appeared at the surface to be an eating-disordered-exercise-obsessed-brain-washing nightmare actually turned out to be my Golden Ticket (I’ll let you in on a little secret…models hate their butts too. And their thighs, and their breasts, and shoulders, knees, toes….. you get the drift). Even when we achieve that Perfect Body Award it is fleeting, gone in the snap of the fingers, and its all down hill from there baby). So what are you going to do? Wallow in it? Plastify it? Or deal with it?

I chose to deal. And it’s not a stretch to say it saved my life.

So, frankly sometimes I am just plan sick of women talking endlessly about how much they hate their bodies, pumping themselves with plastic with complete and total disregard for their health, and then pouting their out stretched lips to tell us how they have “no self confidence” and always felt like an “ugly duckling.” Please — get over yourself already.

Are we this self absorbed? (Ahhh… that would be yes).

Are we this unaware of the atrocities going on in the world? (Apparently so)

Do we watch the Haiti coverage while pumping at the gym worrying if we look fat in the mirror? (Admit it.)

WOMEN are responsible for giving marketing execs the food for thought on these sexist, demeaning products due to all our wishful thinking and neurotic disillusionment that a $75 bottle of potion, or that ab cruncher for just two small payments of $19.95, and now a pair of rubber-frickin-sneakers are FINALLY going give us the body we have put our lives on hold for.

So, let’s stop blaming the world shall we?

WE are so totally pathetic, that Reebok had the gall to publish this study on how and why their magical shoes will create buns of steel:

Reebok commissioned a study from the University of Delaware, which tested five women on a treadmill with electronic sensors on their muscles. Electrical activity in the butt muscles-representing muscle movement-was 28% greater for the EasyTone shoes than for a typical Reebok walking shoe used as a control. Electrical activity was 11% greater for the hamstring and calf muscles while wearing the EasyTones.

The test involved only 500 steps, and Reebok acknowledges that the effect may diminish as wearers get used to the shoes.

Electrical activity in the “butt” muscles (not gluteus-maximus, to hell with the anatomical terms, these broads perk up at the mere mention of a better b-u-t-t).

A 500 step test (I am thinking that took a total of two maybe 3 minutes? This is some serious science people).

My prediction? These shoes will sell like hell.

Everyone’s butts will stay the same and we’ll be flipping hysterically through our fashion rags trying to find the next scam we can spend another $100 bucks on.

I’ll leave you with the commercial spots, that if I didn’t know better would appear to be spoofs from SNL.

Rant over,


“These  shoes will ensure that “88% of men will be speechless, 76% of jealous, and 0% will know the reason is on your feet.”

“Make your boobs jealous!”


29 Responses to “Reebok Better-Ass Shoes: Are we this stupid?”
  1. Meems says:

    Nice way of discrediting the Jezebel article by immediately characterizing it as “whining.” I see nothing in that article that comes off as whiny. It’s a low blow to predispose your readers to seeing the article in a negative light.

    By the way, marketing goes both way. To some extent you’re right that advertising is consumer driven, but with a new product like this (though it’s not actually all that new), the retailer’s challenge is to make us think we need their product. Tapping into the already present cultural push for physical perfection makes perfect, if sexist, sense. Do you see a single ad for these leg/butt toning shoes aimed directly at men? I haven’t.

  2. Somebody's Mother says:

    Thanks for this post Mama V! You said things that I have been learning over the past couple of years that I’m just now getting to a place where I can articulate them. I spent years wallowing in the self-pity of my body isn’t perfect; focused on what I thought other people were thinking about me/saying about me. Through a whole lot of small things that happened without my realizing it, I’m finally in a place where my body image is just that. Mine. Not dictated by the media, what men say, what other women say or even what my past says. Do I think I’m perfect? Not by a long shot. But most days I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. Nobody treats me better than I treat myself. No matter what I look like, somebody will always have something negative to say about it. Today I choose not to listen to them. They are no longer in charge of my life. I am. Go me!

  3. Kat says:

    What the hell, this is one stupid shoe, and i can tell people will buy it anyways. *facepalm*

  4. .C. says:

    Hey MamaV,

    I haven’t been around for a while because for some reason the open forum on your other site hasnt’ been working, but I thought I would weigh in here. Actually, I think I have seen something similar to these shoes already. I believe that Victoria’s Secret has a flip flop style sandal designed to do something similar.


  5. Regina T says:

    We are 100% at fault for these ads???? I beg to differ. If you are saying that it’s our fault we buy the products hawked to us, both literally and figuratively, by misguided ads and commercials, then I undoubtedly agree. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. I’m down with that…and I certainly do that in my REAL life. When an ad pisses me off, offends me, or otherwise lies to me I DON’T BUY THE PRODUCT.

    BUT…..if you’re saying that women wallowing in self pity and loathing of their imperfect bodies is entirely their own doing, then I have to disagree here. I do not want to bang the privilege drum again, but there is more in play here than you are acknowledging. Most women and girls are groomed in a certain way from birth. We have set in stone ideas of how girls are supposed to act, think, and behave….often by men or female proxies of men. We are spoonfed the Kool-aid so copiously and naturally that it takes an epiphany in life, sometimes many of them, before we realize (as you did) that it’s an impossible standard to achieve and we’re not going to fall for it any longer.

    Even the LEAST privileged man oftentimes feels he has the freedom to do as he pleases with women. Here is the perfect example and a true story for you: My 24 year old beautiful daughter. An Operating Room Registered Nurse with no shortage of smarts, loads of confidence, who also happens to have large (DD) breasts……was walking to her bus after a long day of work in a very busy state hospital operating room in Seattle. She rounds the corner block to see a homeless man (i.e. least privileged man) stagger out of the alley reaking of urine and alcohol. He sees her and approaches her with his mouth agape asking if he can suckle at her breasts. When she rightly tells him to get the fuck away from her, he’s OFFENDED and calls her a bitch. This was not a lone incident. A decade of this type of behavior has caused my smart as hell daughter to loathe her breasts. Even with a Mom like me repeatedly telling her to embrace what she has and love herself…even with the successes she’s had in life…even with a husband who loves her just as she is…..she STILL wants breast reduction surgery so that she won’t have to deal with ogres like this the rest of her life.

    We are TAUGHT we aren’t good enough/need to change/must look great at all times and at all costs or we will be ridiculed, ignored, deprived, and not taken seriously. Men often view women as sexual candy. Women see that in men’s depictions of women, their sexual demands of women, their criticisms of women who don’t conform to their ideal, etc. etc. etc. Since men have the majority of the power, many women feel they need to seek that ideal put forth by men in order to have a successful existance.

    You say you are tired of women hating their bodies and feeling like an “ugly duckling” and I agree with you. On an even playing field, that would be appropriate, but the field is not even and control over the quality of your life often lies in the hands of others. How many female photographers took your picture during your modeling days? How many female advertising executives headed up the campaign? How about female fashion designers who’s clothes you wore on the runway? I dare to say they were probably rare. Sure, lots of women there, but how many were actually running the show and receiving credit for it?

    Needless to say, it’s not so cut and dry as telling women to stop hating their bodies and seeking perfection. We all should be doing that. But it’s not so easy to do when we are bombarded from birth about what is deemed desirable. When those with the power stop over-valuing, over-rewarding bodily perfection, then it will be a possiblity. Until then, we should keep focusing the spotlight on the misguided and messed up ideals ABOUT OUR OWN BODIES that those in power put out there and really love ourselves.

  6. love2eatinpa says:

    yes, women will buy these shoes because everyone is looking for the quick fix, the magic pill. the $100 will be easily justified. it’s much easier than going to the gym and eating properly, right?

    • cggirl says:

      Well also plenty of people do hit the gym and eat properly but are still not happy with thei butts because we aren’t all genetically predisposed to whatever butt is considered ideal, and because anybody cab find fault with any butt if they are in that mindset…

  7. Shelly says:

    I wish it was as simple as saying get over it. But it isnt.. How any times a day are we subjected to ads of this sort (sometimes not even realizing it). And for those who suffer from eating disorders, it isnt as easy to just shut it off. There are lots of psych issues that factor into being predisopsed to body size, calories, numbers.

    But for the majority without eating disorders, it isnt as simple as shutting it off either. And why should people. Most believe that being thin and beautiful will get them somewhere in life or something they want. Unfortuantely, it usually does (attention, respect from friends who admire willpower, etc)

    I am not sure how to go about changing a bunch of people with ideas they have held onto for years (possibly since birth). It almost seems impossible.

  8. McLauren84 says:

    Hmm, this is an interesting question. On the one hand, I see your point that many woman are feeding the monster with their money. But as some commenters mentioned, issues like this do seem to point to a viscous cycle–media tells women they should be ashamed of their “imperfect bodies,” women buy products the media tells them will make them look better. I think it’s a little much to expect the average woman to be able to distill all these messages into the clear objective of avoiding these types of products. You have to remember that most women don’t have the level of knowledge regarding body image that is found among women in communities like WATRD. This level of discussion and distillation is somewhat absent from most of mainstream culture. I think it’s a little harsh to bash women for supporting these types of messages when it’s all many women have ever known.

    • lissa10279 says:

      You make a REALLY good point, McLauren84 … ” This level of discussion and distillation is somewhat absent from most of mainstream culture. I think it’s a little harsh to bash women for supporting these types of messages when it’s all many women have ever known.” — Well-said. I don’t have the answers, but hopefully we can continue to engage with more and more women as our community expands.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ok, ummm.. I’m a little confused here. MV, I don’t know what was going on with you when you wrote this, but I have to say, in your posts both on here and on MV, your opinions switch from one extreme to another and becoming so erratic that it’s hard to just figure you out and where you stand.

    Based on this post, it seems like you are finally starting to get it through your head that advertisers really don’t give a shit about whether their fitness or beauty products improve your boobs, butt, abs, or skin. Something me and others have been trying to tell you for months, and that your going after them as in the Diesel Campaign and the photo shopping isn’t going to do squat. However, you said that you felt as a woman compelled to speak out to them about it. Here, you seem angry that it isn’t changing- again, something we have all tried to tell you that it probably never will, but, now, you are saying we are responsible for that? Not only that, but based on your other posts on MV, like in the Demi Moore Ad, you go off on the advertisers and say that photo shopping is the reason that young girls and society have disordered eating and body image issues and it’s all their fault. And now because you are pissed a huge money making industry where you disagree with the messages behind their campaigns isn’t going to change for you, now blame women for feeling negatively about their bodies because some may be influenced by these advertiser’s messages? Which is it?

    I really don’t think that’s fair. I find the patterns of your reactions to many things you write about to be very hypocritical. And while you are certainly free to write about what you want, do you understand my point here? I am not a fan of plastic surgery, over-exercising, excessive beauty spending, etc. And while I definitely think the media plays a role in promoting the pressures of being thin, things like body dysmorphia, distorted body image, disordered eating, etc, are not just as cut and dry as you put. it. I am so glad you just got over it. But if getting over it were as simple as you put it, I wouldn’t be reading about stories on line when I research the latest news about treatments in ED’s and how recovering from them can take so long, that there are waitlists for beds in hospitals all throughout the UK and the United States.

    You preach all the time about people with ED and body image issues to get professional help, especially on your other site. Now, you come out and say, if we feel bad about ourselves and or bodies, struggle with dieting and eating, and are influenced by these products (I’m not, but I can see how many people could be), it’s our fault and we should just get over it? What kind of message do you think this sends to your readers? I’m sorry but, WTF? I’d also like to remind you, today is the official start of National Eating Disorders Week. As someone who runs around promoting herself as an activist, voice of reason, and a leader in the Body image/ED community, I think this post is pretty insensitive, callous, and very out of line. I wish you would think a little bit about how you come across sometimes before you let your temper get the best of you because it’s coming across like you are contradicting yourself on a number of levels. I am not trying to attack you, but I’d be curious to know if anyone else shares how I am perceiving mixed messages she is sending being a follower of both her sites, or is it just me?

  10. ronisweigh says:

    Here’s the thing I think we forget. No matter what the popular standard of beauty is (skinny, curvy, short, tall, fat, big ass, small ass, whatever) people will strive for it. This is not new news and will not go away any time soon. Our specious is wired for it.

  11. bloowillbooks says:

    I really liked this post. I do understand that advertisers are required to generate a market. They do this by ensuring the target demographic feel inadequate and insecure. Once we feel that way, we’ll buy anything to make ourselves feel better. However, being thoughtful, aware (read ‘wary’ on my own part) consumers, means understanding this about advertising and knowing that the insecurities sold to us are not real.

    What worries me about this is that people presume that a desire to achieve one particular look might be wired into our “species”. Our species has always been comprised of multitudes of people from all over the world. Some black, some white, some tall, some short, some skinny and so on and so forth.

    In marketing the same advertisement to a global community (which is what so many advertisers do)…and bearing in mind that many countries are now very multicultural with regard to population demographics, then we’re selling what is by and large a eurocentric idea of perfection to a group of people who are not all european.

    I’d like to see more emphasis on health equalling beauty rather than arbitrary issues like weight, height and skin colour/tone being equated with beauty. That’d be nice!

    • ronisweigh says:

      bloowillbooks – I agree. All over the world are many different cultures and it is scary that we market a dominate culture globally. What I was saying (although I can’t spell 🙂 was that people, no matter the culture, most strive to be attractive to possible mates. Whatever that attractiveness entails in that particular culture.

      These advertisers are feeding off that innate desire. I’m not saying it’s right or that I agree with it I’m just saying it’s been happening for a LONG time.

      This is why I’d rather empower women to see through this bull shit then rant about the ads and say it is out fault.

      Again, just my opinion.

      • Meems says:

        But what potential mates find attractive and what culture tells us should be attractive don’t always line up. As much as western culture tells me that I should be tall and blond and thin, I’m always going to be short and brunette and curvy. I look nothing like a model, and yet – somehow – plenty of men find me attractive.

        I’d rather empower women to see through this bull shit then rant about the ads and say it is out fault.

        Regardless, I totally agree with this. 🙂

      • bloowillbooks says:

        Huh…I think we’re actually agreeing with one another. So in answer to the question this blog title poses, what we’re saying is “No…we’re not (all) this stupid.” The aim of the game is not to change human nature, it’s to heighten people’s awareness of the marketing ploys…yes?

        • ronisweigh says:

          Yes. I agree we agree. LOL I was just in a mood that day and when I saw this…

          What worries me about this is that people presume that a desire to achieve one particular look might be wired into our “species”.

          I didn’t quite get what you were saying. It is wired in us to get a mate as it is with all creatures. I mean, peacocks aren’t flaunting those feathers for no reason at all.

          And yes it is to heighten peoples awareness but to say it is our fault is a stretch.

          • bloowillbooks says:

            Unlike other species, homo sapiens express different physical traits according to the differing locations in which they evolved. For example an African human looks different from a British human. Being that there are as many different ‘looks’ for a human as there are environs, there should also be that many different concepts of ‘beautiful’ (indeed, this WAS actually the case until only fairly recently). Sadly, the globalisation of beauty is making it such that Asian women are paying for operations to have their eyes made more round, naturally dark skinned women are buying bleaching creams for their skins and so on.

            Peacocks on the other hand look the same no matter what part of the world they inhabit (there is a longwinded reason for this but we won’t go into that), therefore, they all use the same mating dances and displays, they can afford (biologically speaking) to have a single view of attractiveness because all peacocks look the same.

  12. anonymous says:

    Bloowillbrooks, you are correct, but my point is that MV is being hypocritical and not defining her positions. One day, the media is a bad influence and responsible for all negtive body image. The next, it’s all our fault. If you read her other site, you would see what I am referring to. These dumb ass ads are of no mind to me, nor do they influence me, but when she promotes herself as an activist, she can’t throw the cart both ways. Do you understand my position? Or does no one see what I am getting at?

  13. bloowillbooks says:

    I can see what you’re saying. There is always the debate between whether the media constructs reality or whether it just responds to the demands of society. I think there is a bit of both involved they’re intricately and intrinsically linked, so for one to change, something about the other has to change. It’s like a ratings concept. If we hate a program, the best thing we can do is turn it off. When the ratings plummet, the show’s taken off (this of course occurs only in a perfect world where everybody has the same taste). The worst thing that can happen is that we all get up in arms and start talking about it (as we are now) because as far as the media is concerned, any talk, even negative stuff, gets people watching. They don’t care why we watch, just as long as we do! That said. I’m going to stop talking about the silly shoe!

  14. anonymous says:

    I sometimes wonder if she knows darn well she’s being hypocritcal and harsh and just does so to create a reaction to get people fired up.

    I can see that being an appropriate angle to take in some posts- but to blame women for their body image issues and call it their fault- well, I’m sorry, but that’s just plain wrong. Especially from an eating disorder and body image activist during of ALL WEEKS… Ed awareness week. Way to go MV!

  15. supernaut says:

    I find it highly interesting that MamaV always has to point out her days as a highly paid model, no matter what she is ranting about. Then has to tell everyone how much “tough love” she has for ED survivors, but refuses to create a safe place for them in this blog….even though the rest of the world ISN’T.

    And to stop whining about…..inequality? Examples of the patriarchy in motion? Women buying into the their own oppression?

    Way to go!….. with the status quo.

    I don’t feel that WATRD is all that much into body acceptance / feminism / making the world a safer happier place for women, but I’d love to be proven wrong. I think the seeds are there.

    It’s not “whining” to point out the patriarchal imbalance in the system that keeps women on an inequal status to men. If we don’t discuss it, then we cannot understand it – thereby buying into our own inequality and oppression.

    And yeah, sometimes, it can be about the shoes. It all ADDS UP and needs to be discussed and dissected, b/c I am sure that there is someone who doesn’t “get it” and only see women as “whining” and to “get over it” when in reality they are themselves buying into the oppression.

    Gee, that sounds sooooo familiar. Hey, let’s blame the blame the oppressed game. It’s fun! No one wins!

    Maybe by reading the Jezebel article someone might make the connection.

    And if you tell me that “we’ve come a long way” and that there is no need for feminism, well, I just came from a meeting with another executive who told me (unasked) that she doesn’t in “all that nonsense”. Ironic considering that she prolly has her position due to the opportunities that feminism has opened for her. Gee, the radical notion that women are people too.

  16. Lacey says:

    Great article! The reason these companies can still come up with ridiculous ideas is because woman are so brainwashed to believe that they have to be perfect, we will literally try almost anything. If these manufacturers can think of anything to ‘improve’ (or atleast convince people that it can improve) a person’s body image, they will produce it, and pathetic woman will buy it. My regular $20 tennis shoes from the factory shoe outlet work just fine for me.

  17. Sophile says:

    The bottom line is that anyone who understands anything about the human body can see through this ****. Turning this into a ‘PC rant’ is almost as ignorant as actually thinking the shoes will work. NEWSFLASH: burning an extra 2,3 or 4 calories PER DAY will not tighten anything (except your wallet from unnecessary purchases).

    P.S. I’m running a contest – “That’s right, you could OWN the Brooklyn bridge, if you’re the highest bidder.” Any takers?

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