Cinderella Ate My Daughter
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Cinderella Ate My Daughter

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  8,779 ratings  ·  1,648 reviews
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.

Sweet and sassy 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 exhilarati...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by Harper
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Will Byrnes
UPDATED - 4/8/14 - see link at bottom

Once upon a time it was considered attractive for women to have some actual flesh on them; small boys wore pink dresses while little girls wore blue; childrens television shows were not designed specifically to sell toy lines, and manufacturers did not push pink-colored merchandise for a vast range of products to enhance their bottom lines. Pre-teen girls were not encouraged to dress like streetwalkers and bump and grind like exotic dancers. Surely girls were...more
Michelle
It was good but lacking. She skims over a lot of interesting questions and conflicts, but don't really explore a lot of other ones because of her feminist agenda (and I'm a feminist). This book also suffers from her white, liberal, and (relatively) rich guilt and blinders. There are quick fleeting mentions of race (the last chapter she talks about the Princess & the Frog, and I was frequenting face-palming and rubbing my temples, esp when she mention her biracial daughter), fat, and sexualit...more
Skylar Burris
Apr 28, 2011 Skylar Burris marked it as sampled-abandoned
Shelves: sociology
A condensed version of the thoughts I catalogue here appears in my article Are Pink Things and Princesses Oppressing Our Girls?. Since I’m planning to take my daughter to Disney World for the first time some time in the next year, it seemed like a good time to read this. Of course, even at seven, she’s still more interested in Winnie the Pooh than in princesses. But, sure, she loves to dress up in gowns and necklaces and tutus, to put on pretend makeup (allowed only on weekends, in time for was...more
Rowena
"We simply gave girls what they wanted." – Andy Mooney (Former Chairman of Disney Consumer Products)

This was a very insightful and interesting read, it was a very disturbing one as well. This book came about due to the fact that Orenstein gave birth to a baby girl and, as a result, a lot of things were on her mind about how she was going to raise a well-rounded girl, one who wasn’t obsessed with the (terrifying) princess culture and had a healthy self-esteem.

I don’t have any children but I d...more
Rhiannon
Apr 12, 2011 Rhiannon rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mommys, Daddys, Pre-School Teachers?
Recommended to Rhiannon by: The Feminist Readers Network on Goodreads
Here's the deal: The two stars - those are for me. To someone who has read a fair amount about children/gender and feminism in general, Orenstein does not offer anything new. If I was a new or future-mom, however, an average middle-class mom who hasn't read what could be considered a "feminist" book since college (or possibly never!), or just one who finds most children's toys essentially "harmless," I think this book could be a real eye-opener - I think it could easily deserve three or four sta...more
Lara
This one was just okay for me. While she does make some great points about postmodern girlhood, many of her views are just as reactionary as the ones she criticizes. I actually could not finish this one because I kept getting annoyed with her logic. For instance, she criticizes Barbies, American Girl dolls, and baby dolls as being too limiting in the way they portray gender. Then, she discusses buying her daughter toy guns and Thomas the Train gear. Is she not just pushing her daughter into the...more
Lit Bug
I find this much more difficult to review now than I initially thought - not because I am skeptical of its findings, but because, as Orenstein herself admits, it is a self-contradicting muddle - that claims to set women free as it manacles them.

For one, I was almost dizzy - living in the Third World, I had no idea what kind of life children have in the West (or at least the USA). Throughout the book, I couldn't help pausing to reflect into how different our lives are from the world that is portr...more
Cathy DuPont
Dec 02, 2012 Cathy DuPont rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dads and Moms
Recommended to Cathy by: Will Byrnes
Living in the Oldest City in the United States, St. Augustine certainly has its challenges, first being the high number of tourists to visit the area a valid 2 million a year.

In the past they were mostly middle class with St. Augustine being their destination. However, with that said, in the past 20 years or more the complexion of the tourist has changed significantly. And numbers will bear out that the city is no longer the destination point, it’s a ‘side trip’ after Disney World.

Once in the c...more
Katie
Is it just me or are nonfiction books of this type getting shorter and ending in an increasingly abrupt manner? I was startled when I hit the end of this most recent offering from Ms. Orenstein; with a good pinch of pages left I thought I had just reached the end of a chapter, only to see the rest of the bulk consisted merely of acknowledgements, notes, and so forth.

This sudden drop off only adds to my list of frustrations with this interesting, well-intentioned, yet flawed book. As the mother o...more
Coqueline
The book deals with the issue that is very dear to me, as mother of a 5 year old, who has begun to embrace pink and princesses.

The book was a fast and enjoyable read, but lacking in conclusion, which make it sounds more like a compilation of blog posts than an actual book. I thoroughly enjoyed the parts where she went researching, getting professional insights and putting in historical context to the issue, but find it bewildering when she started to relate them to her own daughter and parenting...more
Jim
So here's the story. A bunch of people decided that it would be a good idea if they could sell some stuff to some girls, of which group Peggy Orenstein's daughter is a member. These people wanted to sell some really slutty toys and clothes and television programs and beauty pageants. Rather than take the hardline parent approach and say :"No slutty stuff for you", Peggy decided to write a book about it. That way she could warn the world about the slutification of womankind while filling her bank...more
Veronica
"How did you get through the princess stage?" That is in the top 5 questions I get asked by other moms, especially those I truly believe are turning to me as a feminist to guide them through the forest of pink. So it intrigued me to learn that even the famed Peggy Orenstein struggles with the princess phase.

Orenstein's book School Girls was pivotal in my growth as a young feminist. It detailed the trials of being a middle school girl with such genius that if she was a mom at my daughter's school...more
Fiona
When I finally managed to get hold of a copy of this very contemporary piece of non-fiction (this hardback book has very clearly been written for the U.S. market hence it is not available through my local library services) I was immediatly aghast at the hideously-pink and glittery dustjacket. I felt uncomfortable handling the book, which has led me to think a lot about why, and of course to carefully consider what 'girlie-girl' culture meant and means to me personally.

This book was voted as the...more
Chris
I don't have children, and I don't teach children. I picked up this book in part due to an interview on NPR and after seeing prostitots in the malls. I should also note I had Barbies when I was kid. They got trampled by thier horses a lot. But at least, during my childhood, Barbie could be a vet. I also don't understand why girls wear pants with the word 'juciy' written across the butt.

Peggy Orenstein's book is a good look at the effects and causes of girlie-girl culture. If you are a Twilight...more
Adrian
This is what Spencer calls "pop non-fiction", meaning that it's written in a way guaranteed to attract attention. The whole book read like it made sense, until you really started paying attention to what you were reading and realized that she's just stringing together sensational facts and not doing a whole lot of real research or thinking very logically. Yes, she interviewed experts and read articles (I think), but she also presents her own assumptions as fact, and her small sample sizes (i.e....more
Elise
2.5 stars. There was interesting information here, and I definitely agree that today's society focuses far too much on outward appearance.

And I am all for a decrease in materialism and consumerism and riding on the trends of the media.

However. I never really saw the link between playing princess and becoming a slutty Britney Spears.

As long as parents make an effort to teach that inward beauty is far more important than outward beauty, I see no harm in letting my daughter dress-up in princess dr...more
Meg
I appreciated that the author was honest about the fact that she was wrestling with some of the very same issues I am as the mother of a 3-year-old girl -- how to navigate the girlie-girl culture while keeping her a little girl with a smart head on her shoulders, a confident heart, and equipped for the "real" world. The author bashed just about everything out there, but ended with good advice.
page 192:
"...our role is not to keep the world at bay but to prepare our daughters so they can thrive wi...more
Antje
Yesterday I finished our Group read book and was really disapointed! I admit, I did have great expectations. In the 80s I was quite into the subject of gender specific socialisation and I thought, after so many years, there would not just be some better scientific studies availiable, I hoped for a change in every daay life as well!
Obviously I was wrong: Most of the studies on which Peggy Orenstein based her book, didn't reveal new results and everyday life has changed, but not to the better.
Thou...more
Ciara
an interesting look at how highly gendered girlie-girl culture is being marketed to increasingly younger girls. but in orenstein's quest to determine whether or not all things pink & princess-y hurt little girls, or whether there is a biological component to their attraction to pink & dolls & princesses, she takes on some pretty obvious targets. she criticizes bratz dolls for being too sexualized. she attends a high glitz little kid beauty pageant. she comments on how expensive ameri...more
Krista
Read. This.



Orenstein won me over whole-heartedly in this book when she ripped Bella Swan to shreds. Bella Swan is a twit to end all twits. Queen of the pathetic. Least of the lame. Why. Whywhywhywhywhywhywhy?



We have a lot to do, ladies. A long way to go. Still.
Kaethe
Well written, but...

I have reservations. I enjoyed reading the book enormously. Orenstein is funny, and she can turn a phrase. The downside is, her funniest phrases all have to do with girls looking slutty. If she isn't the one who coined "prosti-tot" she could have been.


I'm the mother of two girls, so I share her concerns about how popular culture in the US might be affecting girls. A valid consideration for every parent, not just those who make their living reporting on girls. On the other ha...more
Tracy
I loved this book. Orenstein's combination of research with memoir is very effective. It was easy to connect with her on a personal level (and believe me, I did, seeing as we share many of the same anxieties about raising daughters), but every story that Orenstein starts as an intimate tale of parenting she then backs up with solid facts and studies. Some readers might be disappointed that this book offers little in the way of solutions to the problems posed, but that is not what this is about....more
Taylor
Much like the Disney Princesses , there wasn't a whole lot of depth to this book. It felt like a paper I might have written early on in college-- not heavily enough researched and with far too much jumping to conclusions. Orenstein herself doesn't really know where she stands, and her constant back and forth is not only annoying, it weakens her argument. Princess culture is destroying our children and families and we must take a stand... or is it not? Not being absolute is one thing, but making...more
Helynne
Author Peggy Orenstein’s four-year-old daughter Daisy loved to wear engineers’ overalls with the complementing bandana and hat until a boy on the playground yelled to her, “Girls don’t like trains!” After that, Daisy jettisoned the engineer garb and went off and running with the Disney princesses, Barbies, the color pink, and all the other trappings of what Orenstein calls “the new girlie-girlie culture.” “And what was the first thing that culture told [my daughter] about being a girl?” the auth...more
Elizabeth
This book gets high marks for being both immensely thought-provoking and very readable. The author discusses her own attempts to fight the good fight (against culture) in raising her daughter--particularly how and why the pink-princess-girlie-girly culture might be detrimental to young girls. The book has caused me to question some of the decisions I am making in raising Catherine, particularly in regard to media influence, the ways in which I have promoted narcissism/consumerism, and the ways i...more
emi Bevacqua
I had unrealistically high expectations for this book. I agreed so whole-heartedly with its premise and have so much else in common with the author: we were born in the 60s, we worked in NYC and moved to California, we both had infertility issues and now she has a daughter and I have daughters.

I found it entertaining but nowhere near as educational as I had hoped. To be fair, I think all the learning bits came out months earlier in a media blitz. From reading the book I did learn plenty of inte...more
E
When I was growing up, I had a hard time remembering that McDonald's and Disney were not the same company. I still have a hard time remembering that. Both aggressively market products few can spend their entire lives resisting because their advertising budgets are unrivaled and because they have mastered the recipes for broad appeal. Both are aggressively exported to other countries, representing all that is optimistic, colorful, unsubtle and unhealthy about America. Both are harmless in small d...more
Louise
Peggy Orenstein shows the difficulties of raising strong independent girls in today's consumer culture. She shows how this works in general and in her own household.

First she explores "the princess" which every three year old girl magically wants to be. Sleeping Beauty cleans for the dwarfs and sleeps; Cinderella cleans for her step family and is beautiful. Princess status is a reward for beauty. Princesses are not team players; they don't have be because they merely wait until their rescue. Dis...more
Gretchen
I was very surprised to reach the end of this book. According to my Kindle, I was only at 60%!

I picked this one up after hearing the author on NPR. As a Mom of an 11 yearold daughter, I've seen the rise of the princess culture, and am currently in the wonderful(and awful) phase of tween-hood. I understood from the radio interview that the book would be a review of the new phases of childhood for girls, along with the author's personal experiences as a mom trying to guide her child through these...more
willaful
A lively, witty, sometimes insightful book but ultimately somewhat disappointing. I sympathized with Orenstein's personal conflicts about "girlie-girl culture," even at second hand (I have a son, but I know my mom went through many of the same issues with my sister and I) and appreciated her personal reflections:

“I am hardly one to judge other mothers’ choices: my own behavior has been hypocritical, inconsistent, even reactionary.”

“I felt as though Ty Girls had me over a barrel, a barrel to whos...more
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Peggy Orenstein is the author, most recently, of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Her previous books include The New York Times best-selling memoir, Waiting for Daisy; Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Kids, Love and Life in a Half-Changed World; and the best-selling SchoolGirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap. A contributing writ...more
More about Peggy Orenstein...
Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, and Life in a Half-Changed World Women On Work, Love, Children And Life When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made

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“But it is Bella, not the supernaturals she falls in with, who is the true horror show here, at least as a female role model.” 17 likes
“There is only one princess in the Disney tales, one girl who gets to be exalted. Princesses may confide in a sympathetic mouse or teacup, but they do not have girlfriends. God forbid Snow White should give Sleeping Beauty a little support. Let's review: princesses avoid female bonding. Their goals are to be saved by a prince, get married, and be taken care of the rest of their lives.” 7 likes
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