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Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes
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Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  532 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2006)
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Rating details
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Nov 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
The stars for this book don’t really have to do with the fact that I liked the book. I really disliked reading it, but found the information within compelling enough to recommend reading it.

The authors of this book do a masterful job of showing the twisted path of marketing that molds, manipulates and addicts girls to a limited set of stereotypical images. They look at clothes and fashion, movies and TV programs, books and magazines, sports and hobbies. And in all of these areas, the terrible i
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: humans
I live near a street that has a store boasting the name "The Princess Store". It's filled with pink tutus, pink purses, pink glitter wands and the occassional purple dress. The target age, according to the size of all the big-skirted dresses and bejeweled leotards prominently displayed, is three to four-year-old. But really I would say the target age is 28 to 32 year-old mothers with SUV strollers.
I'm guilty of forgetting the world's relationship with gender schemas. I forget that parents don't
Skylar Burris
May 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sociology
While I agree to some extent with the authors’ diagnosis (marketers are sending wrong and/or limited messages to girls; there’s too much rubbish in popular culture; available clothes are too skanky; media puts girls into limited and stereotypical categories), I can’t say I got much out of their prescription. A condensed version of my concerns appears in my article Are Pink Things and Princesses Oppressing Our Girls? And Are Marketers Maliciously Molding Their Minds?, but I go into more (and mor ...more
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am wildly critical and keenly aware of the tactics employed by marketers, especially as it relates to women and girls. Though I sometimes found the book to be a little "all-or-nothing" at times, I appreciate the overall message as a whole.

I have felt the same frustrations, and made the same observations for years: the messages in the packaging of what it means to be a girl too often centers around boys and fashion, "mean girl" drama is normalized, "girl" toys either promote an interest in app
Nov 12, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have started reading this and I am not really sure why, but it is frustrating me. I think there is a feeling of being powerless over the media and businesses. And that if my daughter wears pink she is going to be weaker because of it. I am not sure if I am reacting defensively or what. Because naturally, I am not a big fan of Marketers and their schemes...The tone of the book really grates on me though.

Couldn't finish is our bathroom. Steve and I will read snippets of it and get angr
Aug 17, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: unfinished
I didn't realize this is from 2006. Bratz dolls? I'm not so sure I'll get through this.
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it
The authors, both female, annoyed me on the very first page when they announced "we write this book not as academics, but as mothers and counselors..." Blargh. No self-respecting male academic would make such a disclaimer. Much of the book's main argument could have been made in a single chapter, but I actually found the repetitiveness of their conclusions about each aspect of girl culture - clothes, books, movies, sports, etc to be illuminating. I also appreciated their concrete suggestions for ...more
Juliann Whicker
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
How to have morality without having morality. Arbitrary morality is a pet peeve of mine. "This is bad and this is good, let's ignore the fact that the root is the same with only differentiation being the degree of badness."

On the other hand, it's an important topic that someone should address.
Jul 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Unless you're a parent who is really out of touch with popular culture, nothing in this book is going to come as much of a surprise.

I put the book down after the first 100 pages because I became really bored with it.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The way to do this is not to prohibit, lay down the law, or tell them that their budding sexuality is unacceptable or makes them a target for violence. The way to do this is to understand why they are wearing what they're wearing and have meaningful conversations about the various influences that affect these choices, as well as about a culture that sends them a heavy dose of mixed messages about sexuality." (Lamb, 48)
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is written for moms, but as a daughter, it helps me identify a lot of what I grew up seeing. The content is a little outdated but relevant enough to keep up with. I love the authors' understanding of girls' developmental needs. It aims to keep parents informed and active in their daughters' lives without being overly protective.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Lots of great information and an in depth perspective on the marketing directed to girls. The books looks into dress, media, music and overall negative stereotypes related to women.

Here are a few thoughts I wanted to remember from the book:

What does it suggest to your girl when you dress her in the latest fashions [such as frilly skirts or dressy shirts]? It suggests that her play clothes no longer work for school as boys play clothes do, that play is circumscribed part of her life. It says sch
Carol Mann Agency
"Be prepared to be shocked and saddened as you come to see the world of sex, shopping, media, body-fat, and self-esteem through the wide eyes of today's American girls. Be prepared, also, to find invaluable guidance and insight from authors Sharon Lamb and Lyn Brown who know our daughters from inside out. This is a must-read for parents and teachers who want to steer girls away from marketing schemes that distort female power and authority, and towards true self-acceptance and authentic empowerm ...more
May 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a well-reasoned assessment of images of girlhood in advertising and pop culture. I particularly liked that the antithesis of the "girly-girl," the riot GRRL or sassy girl, is just another marketing stereotype. The authors are thorough, and give some nice advice on how to have conversations about stereotyping without (we hope) being overbearing. For every trip to the mall to turn into a lecture on advertising and gender would be wearying for parent and child alike, but I think that kids b ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it liked it
This was pretty eye opening. And it made me feel a little neurotic about all of the things Gemma consumes (media wise) on a daily basis. It has certainly gotten me asking questions like, "Why do you think they only have boys playing with that toy? Wouldn't you enjoy it too?" and "Isn't it great that the girls got to save the boy in this cartoon? I bet you could have saved him from that trouble." I have always avoided clothing that say "diva" and "princess" and the like, and I feel like Gemma is ...more
Apr 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
This book is written by two counselors who work with teenage girls and their psychological problems. They do a lot with marketing and the images it forces girls into. I liked the simple, direct characterizations and the psychological approach to marketing and how my daughter is already being socially indoctrinated, but got scared stupid when they started talking about all the scary things that could start happening in a few years. I did NOT like the no-win situation that feminists often put wome ...more
Clover  Youngblood
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism
My opinion on this research is mixed. One one hand, the research wasn't groundbreaking or original, it didn't offer any new perspectives on what is an ancient problem since the first daughter was born. Women, on the outside, represent everything pure and wholesome to a man, to society in general. But in reality, women are much more powerful than men because of sex. Sex is not a weapon per se, all though it can be, but woman are born with something that men want, and the fact that they can't alwa ...more
Linnea Arneson
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
For all the talk about stereotypes, it pretty much fit the stereotype of a feminist book. Not that you can have too many feminist books, but this book didn't really bring anything fresh to the table. I found it hypercritical. Okay, there's a lot to criticize about the portrayal of women in the media, but it's kind of frustrating when they give all this examples of what not to do with very few examples of what is actually good. Like, I'm supposed to dislike Mulan for "Honor to us all" and "I'll m ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This very thorough book points out the continual stereotyping of girls in all kinds of media and life. We are guilty of exposing girls to narrow perceptions of who they can be, perceptions that are often hypocritical.

My problem with the book is while the authors said that they realized that girls could be stereotypical in some ways, I am not sure I believed them. They spend to much space exposing the dangers of pink, housework, babysitting, and even art as stereotypes. As a result, the few sent
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, sociology
When I read Pink Think (will be reviewed here also) I kept thinking I'd like to see something written along those lines for our own time, to show how much "pink think" has not gone away. This is that book. I spent much of my time rolling my eyes and groaning while reading it.
My own daughter is only 19 months old, but I know quite well that "pink think" will remain alive and well as she grows up. It was interesting to read this -- written in 2004 or thereabouts -- and think about my own experienc
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents, business students, media professionals
While the book made some good points, and was an interesting read that brought questions to my mind; its research and examples were not the best.

When one is using pop culture as reference, people will know the subjects of your research. It truly hurts one's points when it is clear that some of the examples you are citing are flat-out incorrect. People watch horror movies, they read popular books, and there are times in this book that even when they are accurately using a reference, it feels like
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gender
I have never seen a book so desperately in need of a revised edition.

I mean this in the best possible way. Drs. Lamb and Brown present a comprehensive and well-researched case against the current state of American culture as it's marketed to girls, pointing out how it has mutated the ideals of the equality movements of the 60s and 70s into a subtly manipulative and restrictive system. The authors balance science and storytelling, referencing numerous studies and illustrating their points with an
Christina Mortellaro
I think that it provides some critical insight on how marketers have influenced my generation since this book was written when my age group was in that targeted "tween" era. I remember most of the bits and pieces of this pop culture and how my mom never really let me partake in them. Looking back now, I see that it was for the best.

There are aspects of this that I did not agree with or I thought were too extreme. A girl's favorite color can be pink and she can love ballet without sacrificing he
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
As a mother of two very young daughters, this book certainly opened my eyes a bit. I appreciated the emphasis on finding ways to discuss these issues with our daughters and become partners in criticism, rather than on the mom taking on the role of forbidder.

As with all books in the parenting genre, you have to read through a lot of anecdotal evidence and author rambling to get to the dirt. I enjoyed the authors' use of sarcasm. I appreciated the recommended book list as it's rare to find a reall
Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I think one of the more challenging aspects of the book is it assumes parents are already up to their necks in ignorance. I had a really hard time with most of the tone because of, what I perceived as, the assumption my daughters had succumbed or were, without fail, going to succumb to marketing schemes and stereotypes. One of the more valuable points in the book are the conversation starters and the short list of references to look into in regards to books/movies/etc. I would not just assume al ...more
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I am sort of torn on this book. I really like the information presented and have been reading other books in this same genre. Since I've read a couple of similar books to this in the recent past, I'm pretty sure that's why I found it sort of difficult to read through. It was much drier than the other books.

I do like the information that was presented and agree that the media and large corporations are really messing people up, especially girls. I have started to really notice things more after
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone who interacts with children. Packaging Girlhood is not a novel you can read in an afternoon. With loads of information and talking points, it took me much longer than usual to finish because I gave myself time to digest. Marketers are constantly telling our daughters how they should look and act, and it limits them. From the pink, sparkly, dolls, spoiled, princess, sassy, to the slightly older sexy, drama queen, love to shop, addicted to boys, girls are taught from ...more
Kate Davis
Nothing too surprising here, and after reading the first chapter anyone can pretty much tell what the others will say. What is really useful though was the lists of movies and books that have strong female figures. These can be hard to come by, and their list is really quite good (although sadly not sorted by age range). Disappointing was that there was no list of music, just a three artists mentioned at the end - what message is that sending girl musicians? That they're alone on that frontier?

Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings. It was really well-researched with a lot of information, which is a strength, but that led to the book being at times repetitive. I feel like Peggy Orenstein did it better with Cinderella Ate My Daughter by being more succinct, and also using a less cute-sy tone, but at the same time, there were things I learned here that I would not have known about. I had no idea about the marketing built into Neopets, or the catalog novels that various stores sell. So it was good for th ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overall, this is a wonderful book for all the reasons that everyone else has said. It exposes the corporate sleaze that aims to keep women and girls doe-eyed and superficial so we will continue to buy shit. My critique is that is is very focused on white women, on the images marketed to them. While she does mention a few issues such as multi-ethic Bratz and "That's So Raven", overall, the book could have used a stronger look at how the marketing in this country not only harms white girls with se ...more
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