Amy's Reviews > Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
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's review
Apr 13, 11

liked it
bookshelves: library-book
Read from April 10 to 12, 2011

I wanted to like this book more than I did.

Orenstein touched on the 'new' girlie-girl culture and its possible affect on our daughters. She covered Disney princesses, beauty pageants for little girls, Barbies and Bratz dolls, and Disney's ‘good girls gone bad’ such as Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Miley Cyrus. While I found the subject matter interesting, Orenstein's neurotic worrying and vacillating regarding her daughter's choices of clothes, dolls, playmates and television in regard to its 'femininity factor' became wearying.

Denying a child's sexual nature is pointless and detrimental. I got the feeling Orenstein would have been happy to have her daughter do just that to avoid succumbing to any feminine stereotype - as if being feminine in any way was a sign of weakness. I was left wondering if the tutus, glitter, and makeup would have lost their menace if it had been a son requesting them.

Raising a well-balanced girl is the best defense against the marketing ploys focused on turning our daughters into vapid, helpless, 'pretty, pretty' princesses looking for men to 'rescue them'. My daughter loved fairy tales and Disney movies, but she wasn't fixated on the princess tales. She loved The Great Mouse Detective, The Aristocats, and The Lion King, as well. She did dress up for Halloween as more than one Disney princess (Mulan and Jasmine are the two I recall), but she also dressed up as Princess Amadala one year - not your stereotypical passive princess by any means, and when she was older, she chose Bellatrix LeStrange and Columbia (RHPS) as 'role models'. On any given Christmas, her list might have had the latest Barbie or Barbie accessory, but it also had a 'Squiggly Bug Maker' and some weird substance marketed by Nickelodeon.

Yes, it's worrisome that girls are being sexualized younger and younger, but that's not Disney's or any other conglomerate's fault. You can market something to death, but it's not going to succeed unless someone is willing to buy it. The disturbing trend is less in the girls wanting the product as it is their parents allowing them to have it. Parenting in the face of the new age of flashy marketing is difficult, it's true, but no one said it was going to be easy.

Orenstein has a point worth considering. More and more girls are dissatisfied with their appearance, but I worry that she's finger-pointing in the wrong direction. If parents aren't involved enough, encouraging their daughters’ individual strengths and validating them for what really counts (brains, creativity, personality, etc.), then they’ll be more susceptible to the sort of marketing ploy that says, "Look this way to get attention".

Worrying that there's too much tulle in your daughter's closet is missing the forest for the trees. There’s no shame in being feminine, in liking the color pink, ‘sparkly’ things, or ‘pretty’ clothes. The shame is when a girl grows up to feel that what she's wearing and what she looks like defines her more than her character.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Angela (new)

Angela This sounds like a book I need to send to my sister-in-law.

Sunne This sounds really interesting.

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