Tiger Mother and Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella were both on the hot reads list this winter and surprise! Both were parenting books of sorts.
I'll save Amy Chua for another day, but I just managed to read Orenstein's new book about the princess and pink craze that is sweeping through girlhood these days. Of course I have an interest in this topic as I am raising a daughter myself and upon finding out that I would be raising a girl, I proclaimed that I would raise her to be a warrior princess.
I was thinking of the idea that it was okay to be a girlie-girl but that she would also be strong and tough and fight battles. You know, like princess Leia.
Orenstein does a great job of dissecting the new girlie-girl culture of princesses and pinkness and as these girls get older, the whole tween slut craze. Her book is a journalist's account of the troubles of consumer culture for girls. By the end, any parent raising a girl will be damned if they do and damned if they don't. Celebrate girl culture and you are reinforcing stereotypes like the mermaid who gives up her voice to be with the prince or the princess who waits around to be kissed and saved. Blah! But if we come down to hard against the feminine play, we tell our girls it's bad to be girls--reject what is feminine. That really isn't great either.
After a thorough examination of horrendous role models for girls, the pink toy craze, the disney princess phenomenon and the dearth of female superheroes, Ms Orenstein concludes it is basically best to turn off the TV and go outside and take a walk with your daughters.
I think Miss T and I will take our light sabers.