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Book Review: Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein


Harper

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,
Emily


Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

I Wrote a Few Short Stories and Figured I May Not Be the Best Writer, But Bless Me, I Try!





For as long I can remember, I've always loved reading.

In second grade, my teacher had each of us keep a list of all of the books we had read that year. At the end of the year, came one of the proudest moments of my younger years. My teacher was giving out awards to my class and she awarded me with reading the most books in a school year- 200 books! It still boggles my mind that I read that many in one year, but then I remembered that kids' books are much shorter and there could be dozens of books in a series (Babysitters Club Little Sister, Sweet Valley Twins, anyone?). Also, I keep forgetting that children don't have to work. Ah, that's where the times goes now!

As an avid reader as I have proven above, books have transported me to different places and the people who write them are geniuses. How can a person compose sentences that will take you to faraway or make believe places and introduce you to incredibly real or fantastical characters? Only special people are able to write a book to transport you back in time or to another world. I've always devoured books and their magnificent stories, but as merely a reader, could I also produce my own work to captivate others?

Almost as much as I love reading, I also love anything in the horror genre. Mostly in the supernatural, ghosts, exorcism sub genre, less so in the slasher sense. I get extremely excited when a new horror movies pops up in the theaters or on Netflix. I will see it even if I know it's going to be a dud, because even if it's a crappy horror movie, I need my ghostly fix!

Watching all of these terrible horror movies and shaking my head at the wasted potential of all of these could be fantastic story lines and characters, an idea popped in my head: what if I wrote my own horror stories, ones that I knew wouldn't be crappy?

This idea also came from the fact that horror novels to my taste are very hard to come by. It doesn't seem like a lot of traditional ghost stories are very "in" right now, unless they try to make the ghost a love interest in a paranormal book series that are popular at the moment (no offense to paranormal romance fans out there!). So last year, I sat down at my laptop, put my fingers to keyboard keys and wrote my very first horror short story, the Widow's Walk.

From there, the ideas just flowed and I wrote a few more stories. My stories varied in their styles and writings. Some had to do with ghosts, one with a mysterious pumpkin patch on Halloween, and another about a supernatural creature who steals childrens' souls (I know, I know. I'm weird). I got incredibly inspired and thought, "what if I actually wrote a book?" And also: "are my stories even that good?" To test out these theories, I signed up on Wattpad (well, I rejoined. I had actually made an account a year or two before and then promptly forgot that I had) to see what others might think of my writing.

Going in, I had no idea that Wattpad was a community all to itself. You had to make a cover for your story/book, you had to advertise your work, leave comments and vote on others' stories to get them to do the same for you, and so much more! One very kind soul reached out to me and offered to make me a cover for one of my stories, Mr. Tallman (Most likely because I have no idea how to use Photoshop so all of the covers I've made for myself look incredibly amateur).

But the most interesting I've learned about Wattpad is is that there are some very good writers out there. As in, WAY better than I ever will be. As in, they've been offered deals with publishers, because publishers noticed how good their writing and stories are. It's incredibly impressive and inspiring and also very frustrating because as much as I love writing, I know that I'm never going to be half as good as some of these writers on Wattpad.

And then I think about my favorite books and their professional authors. Can the words in my stories truly flow, like Libba Bray's do? Would they make others laugh with their wit, like Lemony Snicket? Would they transport kids to a magical world, like JK Rowling? Would they horrify a generation of people, like William Peter Blatty? Or will they truly make everyone's eyes tear up with the beauty and tragedy of the world, like F. Scott Fitzgerald?

In all honesty, no, I don't think my will ever do those things. The world of publishing is tough and I don't know if my little stories would ever catch anyone's eye. They may never make a big impact on the world or on anyone's specific world, but you know what? I like writing these stories. I like knowing that I created a world, a story, characters, a creepy situation or a scary entity. I love writing something that I know I'd love to read as a story in a published book.

And so what if my stories on Wattpad aren't at the top of the horror chart? The people who have read and commented on them have liked my stories and that's so gratifying to hear that my stories don't completely suck.  So I'm going to continue to write the stories I like, because it's a fun hobby and it satisfies my creative side and my spooky twisted side, as well. It's also nice writing just for me, and not for a deadline, editor, or even a specific audience. It takes the pressure off and just lets my creativity (and obvious dark ideas) flow.

 I'm going to consider any stories I put on Wattpad as published, therefore I'm going to check off "write a book and have it published" on my checklist. Just putting my stories on the internet when I hadn't even showed a friend my own stories was brave in and of itself. I'm a proud mama author showing off her little baby stories. Of horror. And death. (Do I have more issues than I let on? Oh, who cares I just love anything spooky! The more ghosts, the better!)


-Emily

PS. And if you would like to read any of my stories, here is the link to my Wattpad profile. Leave me a comment and vote if you like any of my stories! Or comment here, if you'd like! I'm always looking for feedback.

(Wattpad is free if you would like to sign up with your e-mail or even your Facebook. It's a great place to find new books and discover new authors!)

I Got My First Tattoo! (Shh...Don't Tell My Parents)




As a millennial (I label myself that very hesitantly), I've wanted a tattoo for years. With all of the tattoo shows that were so popular in the mid to late 2000's (Miami Ink, LA Ink, etc) and then with all of the emo bands I was into (yes, I was an emo kid. Want proof? My favorite band was From First to Last. Never heard of them? THEN YOU PROBABLY WEREN'T AN EMO KID), it was pretty much a right of passage to get a tattoo. A tattoo meant you were progressive, alternative, and most of all, bad ass.

But guess what: even though I wanted to get a tattoo for years and years and years, I never did get one. Why, you may ask?

Well, for one, I never could decide exactly on what I wanted. For a while I wanted a small tattoo on my wrist. A broken heart, perhaps? (Cause I'm totally a heartbreaker) A nautical star? (Traditional, classic) A huge chest tattoo of a bat? (Dear God, I don't know what I was thinking with that one)

Obviously, it was a damn good thing that I didn't get a tattoo when I was younger. Because I had no idea what the hell I wanted.

Fast forward to December 2015. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and moved back in with my parents (remember that story from my last blog post?), I was feeling restless from the post-breakup blues. I was through wallowing but I wanted to do something reckless and just for me. Something to show myself that life goes on and I'm moving forward. It was time. Time for me to get a tattoo.

So one Thursday, I decided that that night was the night. I stopped at an ATM, got out some cash, and drove over to my nearest tattoo shop (please note that I did research before I picked a tattoo shop. I looked at various shops on Yelp! and picked one that had some of the best reviews. Don't go to a random tattoo shop! Do your research!). Of course, before I went in I had to text my friends and let them know what I was doing. Also, I needed the encouragement. They were very supportive and said "go, go do it!" There was no going back now. I confessed my plans and now I had to do it.

My tattoo artist was very nice though in my nervousness/anxiety as soon as he said his name, I automatically forgot it. It was either Johnny, Jimmy, or possibly Jamie. Something that started with a J and ended in a hard E sound. J, as I will call him here, took the time to explain what he was doing and warned me that it might hurt, but everyone has a different pain tolerance. I told him that as a cat person, I've had my fair share of cat scratches, and he replied: "Oh yeah. You'll be fine."

And I was. It barely hurt. It felt more like a deep vibration with a slight sting than anything else. Cat scratches are MUCH worse. Five minutes later, I was done and I had my very first tattoo! It was a little anticlimactic but I was thrilled that I had finally gotten a tattoo.

Want to know what exactly it was? As anyone who has ever read my blog knows, I absolutely love Harry Potter. I first read it when I was younger and the story has stuck with me through the years. I wanted to honor my love of it, so what better way than with a tattoo? So I decided on the three stars on both sides of each page of the American versions of the Harry Potter books. Here's a picture for reference:


For my first tattoo, I wanted to go small (I didn't know what my pain tolerance was but obviously since I'm a crazy cat lady I was more prepared than I thought) and I wanted a place where it could hidden and not on permanent display (even thought it is, in fact, very permanent). I therefore concluded that near my left collar bone/shoulder would be the perfect place. Here's the proof!


Notice the left of the picture, with my very red skin. That was after I peeled off the industrial strength tape J put over the gauze. He recommended that I take a shower and then try to peel it off. I did and it still hurt like hell. Worth it though!

I love my tattoo. It's simple, but meaningful. Sometimes it seems huge on me and other times, it looks so small. I'm so happy I got it and it's true what they say about getting a tattoo: once you get one, you want another one. And another. And another. I haven't gotten anymore yet, but I'm certainly thinking about my next one! Will it be another HP tattoo? Who knows?


-Emily

A Much Delayed Update (Over a Year!)




Me oh my, how time does fly! I can't believe it's been over a YEAR since I last updated this blog. But that's not to say that things haven't happened or that I haven't checked a thing or two off of my bucket/adventure/life list.

I'll start off by coming clean: I wasn't sure for a while if I was going to continue with this blog. I still wanted to travel and have adventures but I wasn't sure if keeping this blog was a good idea. Life was getting crazy and moving forward so quickly, that keeping up with the blog seemed too daunting.

Around the time that I last updated my blog (over a year ago! Geez! I still can't get over that), I was in a new relationship. I've been in relationships before, but this was my first serious one. To make a very long story short, we moved in together, moved OUT of the first apartment due to a roach problem (I think I now have some sort of post traumatic disorder because whenever I see a bug, I automatically think DANGER DANGER ROACH ALERT, even if it's just a fly), moved into a new place, and in December we broke up. I moved back in with my parents (as any self-respecting, newly single 27 year old person does) and here I am.

I'm not here to paint a sob story about my last relationship or my ex for that matter, but in short: he was a great guy but it didn't work out, it wasn't right, and in my opinion, it moved way too fast. There are so many things, good and bad, that were in that relationship and I'm grateful for all of those experiences.

In the beginning of the relationship, it felt like I found myself. I had finally moved out, with my very own grown up place, living with my boyfriend, finally feeling happy and confident. But as the relationship continued, I came to realize that it wasn't the right one for me and as I grew more sad and depressed in my confusion if I should stay in the relationship or end it, I lost myself. Instead of focusing on my own growth and happiness, I focused too much on the relationship, him, and trying to make it work. I've always said that it's okay to be selfish sometimes. I just didn't take that advice for myself.

A lot of soul searching later, plus endless talks with my friends and family, we broke up and I moved out (and back in with my parents. Hey mom and dad!). I'm slowly beginning to get my life back together. Was/am I being selfish? Possibly. No, definitely. But sometimes you have to be selfish. Sometimes you have to put yourself first. It may hurt the person you were with at the time, but in the long run, it's worse for you. That's what I tell people and that's what I'm finally telling myself. Being selfish in this instance isn't a bad thing. It's focusing on yourself and your own happiness and well-being. And that's exactly what I'm doing now.

Which now comes back to this blog. I neglected this blog because I was busy trying to be a good adult and save money to pay rent, bills, etc. Which is what I'm still doing now, but I'm also trying to set aside some money for my adventures and travels. Sadly having fun usually costs money but I want to experience more in life again and I think saving money for travel is a high priority to my growth as a person. That is why I am recommitting to this blog and my long disregarded bucket list.

My blog may not be updated as often as it used to be (minus this year plus dry spell!) but I'm going to promise to try to live and have lots of adventures and cross more things off of my list! I'm on the search for a new career and while that will most likely take up a lot of my time, I think achieving my goals is equally as important.

Also, there may be some slight revisions to my list. Maybe I'll cross out a few things and rewrite more achievable goals. Because right now it'd be pretty difficult to spend the night in an ice hotel (though I still totally want to!). I was initially picking extreme, grand adventurous goals but I've learned this past year that the little achievements can be just as rewarding as the grandiose ones. Even the small, little things in my past relationship I've been able to cross off of my mental bucket/adventure list. Everything is an adventure in life and shapes the way you see and experience things.

I actually like the fact that my blog is evolving. Because it shows that I'm evolving as a person. Hopefully for the better. So please, come along with me on the second version of my adventures and blog! Emily 2.0, if you will!

Thanks so much to whoever has come along on this journey with me so far ♥
-Emily