#79 Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Orenstein, who has written about girls for nearly two decades (Schoolgirls), finds today’s pink and princess-obsessed girl culture grating when it threatens to lure her own young daughter, Daisy. In her quest to determine whether princess mania is merely a passing phase or a more sinister marketing plot with long-term negative impact, Orenstein travels to Disneyland, American Girl Place, the American International Toy Fair; visits a children’s beauty pageant; attends a Miley Cyrus concert; tools around the Internet; and interviews parents, historians, psychologists, marketers, and others. While she uncovers some disturbing news (such as the American Psychological Association’s assertion that the “girlie-girl” culture’s emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness can increase girls’ susceptibility to depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and risky sexual behavior), she also finds that locking one’s daughter away in a tower like a modern-day Rapunzel may not be necessary. Orenstein concludes that parents who think through their values early on and set reasonable limits, encourage dialogue and skepticism, and are canny about the consumer culture can combat the 24/7 “media machine” aimed at girls and hold off the focus on beauty, materialism, and the color pink somewhat. With insight and biting humor, the author explores her own conflicting feelings as a mother as she protects her offspring and probes the roots and tendrils of the girlie-girl movement. <source: Publishers Weekly>

Honestly, the book cover and the title are the reasons why I picked up this book. I thought it might be interesting to read since I have a 3-year-old girl plus one more on the way. Did I like this book? No. Is Orenstein entitled to her own opinion? Absolutely!

In many chapters the author annoyed the heck out of me with her a rather extreme “feminist” approach to everything “girl-hood” or “pink culture” and she contradicts herself often times by saying how “pink and princess are all ok and fine but her daughter shouldn’t be caught dead in it” kind of way. The facts and stats in her book are indeed interesting but I wouldn’t program my child to be proud of herself just because she’s not into pink and princesses but into trucks and cars. Why shouldn’t she be proud of her for simply who she is no matter what color that looks like? Also, I wouldn’t give my little girl a “reality check” by reading her very grisly and brutal original fairy tales of Grimm brothers so that she understands that fairy tales are not all that. And most definitely, I wouldn’t promote a premarital sex for my daughter under the name of “healthy sex life/experience.” Enough said.

I’m not saying all the pink and princess culture of today is all good. It’s truly disgusting sometimes how everything is so calculated and commercialized by marketing strategies. But we, the parents, are still in charge and control as far as our children are concerned and we should look into the parents before we blame the whole society for everything that is “wrong” with our children. Every generation worry about the next and I think our children will turn out just fine as many generations before that did as long as we, the parents, are responsible and wise.

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