Friday, February 22, 2013

Quick Review: "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" by Peggy Orenstein

From Goodreads: The acclaimed author of the groundbreaking bestseller Schoolgirls reveals the dark side of pink and pretty: the rise of the girlie-girl, she warns, is not that innocent.

Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source,the source of female empowerment. And commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.

But, realistically, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-size wedding gown or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway, especially given girls' successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualization, or prime them for it? Could today's little princess become tomorrow's sexting teen? And what if she does? Would that make her in charge of her sexuality, ;or an unwitting captive to it?

Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland
and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. She dissected the science, created an online avatar, and parsed the original fairy tales. The stakes turn out to be higher than she - or we - ever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable; yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents can effectively counterbalance its influence in their daughters' lives.

My Thoughts:  I have heard a lot about this book and after finding out that we are having a little girl, I figured it was high time that I read it.  I was very intrigued by the premise but I feel like a lot of what is discussed in the book is not new information.  There was very little in it that I had not already heard so I was a little sad about that as I was expecting some fresh new insights.

I also felt like the author made some broad generalizations about her topics.  While I completely agree with much of what she had to say, it seemed like she took one situation and made it seem like that happened to everyone and that everyone deals with the same issues in the same way.  I didn't really buy it.  It also seemed to me that her point got lost in the stories she told.  She told these elaborate tales of experiences she had with other mothers and by the time the story was over I couldn't remember what the point she was originally trying to make was.  

In the end, I am glad that I read this book but I definitely was let down a little.  It was a decent read but I was really expecting so much more from it.  3 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I read this one too and thought it was decent but not something I loved. It did mostly ring true to me though. As a mom of a three year old daughter I was surprised for how early it all started. I never dreamed I have a daughter who would claim that pink and purple were her best colors and talk endlessly of princesses even though she has never seen a disney movie.


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