Friday, March 25, 2011

Cinderella ate My Daughter

I don't particularly care for parenting how-to books.  They always leave me feeling really inadequate.  Amy Chua's 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.


Steph said...

OK, I have to read this one!

Steph said...

Esme - another friend told me about this interview with the author on the Diane Rehm show:

Ellie said...

i read the transcript from the interview Stephanie posted on FB this morning. this is a great response to her book. i love how you say her main points so simply (including "tween slut") and turn off the TV and go outside. i think miss T is a lucky girl.

Esmerelda said...

Just listened to Peggy, thanks Steph. I forgot all about the toddler beauty pageant part of the book too. now that is just wrong.