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Book Review: Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein


Book: Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

Author: Peggy Orenstein

Genre: Nonfiction

Subject(s): Girls, psychology, femininity

My Review and Thoughts: As most people know, the color pink is synonymous with being a girl. Peggy Orenstein, journalist and now mother, was quite concerned with her young daughter's infatuation with Disney princesses and all things girlie and pink. She wondered, is this obsession with the ultra-feminine hurting our daughters? Does the fact that girls' products are manufactured with the subjects of shopping, make up, and being a princess prevent girls from exploring other avenues that might be more accessible to boys? And does the color pink and all things princess really help keep our girls young and innocent? Or will it trap them into a world where their entire existence is based on looks and sexuality?

Orenstein decided to investigate through different routes and avenues, from talking to psychologists and child development experts about the differences of boys and girls in play, to experiencing the world of beauty pageant and inspecting the world of Disney starlets. After searching through Barbies, Bratz, and American Girl dolls and what they signify, the answers she was searching for turned out to be much more complex than she had ever imagined. She learns that though the color pink and all it symbolizes isn't necessarily bad on a girl's psyche, or even her growth development, but certain aspects of it and they way society views women, sexuality, and empowerment can determine how girlie culture can influence how girls come to view themselves and others in today's world. Orenstein proves that the world isn't just black and white: it's tinted with shades of pink, for better or worse.

Should You Read It? Orenstein writes a compelling and fascinating book, that hit incredibly close to me, as a woman and now as an aunt with an infant niece. The book touches on everything from the marketing of girls products, the origins of fairy tales, to the era of Disney stars developing into women and that loss of innocence and scandals that always occur. Though published in 2011, the book already touches on Miley Cyrus' departure from the Disney Channel, but I wonder how interesting a new book from Orenstein about Cyrus' exploits from 2011 to now would be from Orenstein's standpoint (also, her opinions on today's fad of slut-shaming). Cinderella also briefly explores the effect of girls online and sexting, though she has another book, Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, which is exclusively about that topic.

I personally found this book incredibly thought-provoking and educational. Orenstein is an avid feminist and it shines through her work, where she is not judgmental about girlie culture but instead just concerned (with her young daughter in mind) about the long term effects that looms large in today's world. It made me reexamine the way I put myself out in the world; am I doing it for myself or for how others views me? I highly recommend this book to just about everyone, but mostly for women, whether they are mothers or just girls trying to figure out (or change) how this new culture has molded and shaped girls.

What did you think of this book? Agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird!