Dawn'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
Jan 19, 12

bookshelves: 2011, knowledge-nf
Read from July 14 to 17, 2011

I wanted to love it, but I barely liked it.

The author has been writing about girls and girl culture, but has seen that her advise isn't always that easy to take now that she is mother to a young girl herself. She intersperses personal observations and anecdotes about her daughter with facts, expert opinions, and her own musings and ideas about the "new" girl culture. The book travels in a roughly chronological fashion starting off with babies (is gender identification innate or learned?), then travels through princesses, pageants, barbies, Hannah Montana, Twilight, Britney Spears, facebook, and sexting.

Surprisingly, the author has made peace with a lot of the above topics. If you were expecting it to be a full on hate of all things girly-girl, you would be disappointed. She hasn't banned all princess stuff (it would be impossible anyway), just tries to nudge her daughter in the direction of Mulan and Pocahontas instead of Cinderella. She's also not Barbie averse, especially after her encounters with bratz and their ilk. I found these chapters interesting, I liked the mix of scientific studies, historical facts, and Daisy stories.

However, once the Hannah Montana stuff starts, I thought the book started going downhill. After JUST telling us, "hey it's really different when it's your own kid," she starts in on topics that are beyond her daughter's age, offering opinions and advice that she doesn't have personal experience with. Let's see if she's impressed with her daughter's nerve after she sends her first sext! She decides that maybe child beauty pageants aren't too bad because one of the girls has a sad back story. No mention of the bizzaro swim suit competitions and sexualized dance moves that the six-year-olds are doing. She's also (maybe) okay with Twilight because even though Bella is willing to give up her very soul for her boyfriend, it shows girls that even if they are average in every way, they can still find hot vampire love.

Bella isn't all that pretty, and still can find love, which is great! Because we want girls who aren't pretty (or maybe don't think they're pretty?) to still have high self esteem. But also, we shouldn't stress looks too much. Don't tell your daughter she's pretty all the time, but make sure you do it when she's sweaty after a softball game. Oh, but also, this generation of kids is narcissistic and think too highly of themselves. Confused?

Thankfully I wasn't really reading the book for advice. I just thought it sounded interesting. I have 5 girl cousins ages 4-9 who all went through a princess stage - some more than others. Two of them were adopted from another country (at around 3 years), and they definitely acclimated to the princess crap extremely quickly. I was not surprised that Daisy came home from preschool with princess stories.

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Reading Progress

07/17/2011 page 100

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