BOOK: Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From The Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
AUTHOR: Peggy Orenstein
AUTHOR: Peggy Orenstein
Fun Fact: Barbie was modeled after a German sex toy!
Orenstein’s exploration into the effects of growing up in the era of sexualized girlhood is both thoroughly researched and intensely personal. As a mother of a three year old daughter, Orenstein brings an understanding of just how hard it is to constantly be saying no to your daughters at an age when they are not cognitively developed enough to understand the complex reasoning behind your scorn for the “princess culture.” As a sociologist, she brings a methodology to her research which allows the reader to follow along with ease. The combination makes “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” highly readable and intensely fascinating.
The thread that binds the entire book together is the pervasiveness of this culture on girls and women: not just those under the age of ten. Orenstein looks into the world of toddler beauty queens and highlights the incentives that trick young girls into wanting to pursue that lifestyle. She looks intensively into what she calls the “princess culture” and demonstrates how Disney princesses have become a cult following even without the movies attached to them. These dolls and costumes sell off the shelves even before the actual movies are released. Proving that it’s the culture the kids are buying into – not the movie or storyline attached. Orenstein demonstrates how even the seemingly more philosophically advanced dolls such as the “American Girl” series characters are at the very base still eroded with the same message of looking good and behaving well. She explores the way in which boyness and girlness is learned implicitly by the age of six from peers and shows how that continues right up to high school with the advent of facebook, twitter and the like. And she ends with the confession that the majority of parental decisions in this arena fall into the category of picking ones battles – fight those which are most important to you while giving in a buying your screaming three year old a doll here and there.
I enjoyed Peggy Orenstein’s book thoroughly. She writes with wit, humor and honesty. She also writes with zero judgment – just a skeptical look into a pervasive phenomenon. I would highly recommend this to all – but especially to those parents of young girls.