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Library Books Peggy Orenstein: Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
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Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

"Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture" by Peggy Orenstein.


Has anyone read this book?
I'm not near a copy, but am quite intrigued.
In particular, does anyone have a sense of how girliness today is different?

This continues the discussions of inoculation against gender stereotypes and of lipstick.

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The author comments [on Amazon]: "As a mom, I admit, I was initially tempted to give the new culture of pink and pretty a pass. There are already so many things to be vigilant about as a parent; my energy was stretched to its limit. So my daughter slept in a Cinderella gown for a few years. Girls will be girls, right?

They will—and that is exactly why we need to pay more, rather than less, attention to what’s happening in their world. According to the American Psychological Association, the emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness at ever-younger ages is increasing girls’ vulnerability to the pitfalls that most concern parents: eating disorders, negative body image, depression, risky sexual behavior. Yet here we are with nearly half of six-year-old girls regularly using lipstick or lip gloss. The percentage of eight- to twelve-year-old girls wearing eyeliner or mascara has doubled in the last TWO years (I ask you: shouldn’t the percentage of eight-year-olds wearing eyeliner be zero?). A researcher told me that when she asks teenage girls how a sexual experience felt to them they respond by telling her how they think they looked..."
Books Discussed
Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
by Peggy Orenstein

Hi Mia,
I have somewhat the wrong perspective (a male one) to really be able to go "all out" about this topic but a friend of mine has a Kindle-Version/PDF-Version of the book and forwarded it to me. Anybody who is interested can just write me an email ( too_awesome@live.de - the greatest email-address I ever had ^^)
I haven’t read the book so I’m struggling to get a sense of the direction from which the author is coming. What does sleeping in a Cinderella gown have to do with the sexualization of girls? The first has to do with the persistence of traditional gender stereotypes, the second –which IMO is far more pernicious- with the influence of marketing, consumerism and peer pressure on the formation of girls’ identities. It often seems that in the generalized anxiety about the state of girlhood a lot of different issues get tossed together somewhat indiscriminately, which isn’t analytically helpful.

I also want to point out that I think to some extent Orenstein and her publisher are peddling old wine in new bottles. My favorite book on this subject, Mary Pipher’s Reviving Orphelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, was first published in 1994 and covers much the same ground, though I admit that book came out about the time I was in high school and my own purely subjective perception is that things have gotten worse (or maybe that’s just my age talking  ;) ).  I can similarly recommend Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, which for me was like the Rosetta stone for decoding my own high school experience.

We should not neglect insight from the silver screen. Digging deep into the archives we can establish that high school sucked even in the ancient past (Heathers, 1988), that the only hope for a well adjusted daughter is for her to be homeschooled by her zoologist parents in Africa (Mean Girls, 2004), and that films that actually feature strong girl leads will bomb at the box office  (Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, 2008). I think the last one in particular should give us all pause.
Books Discussed
Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
by Mary Pipher
Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Real
by Rosalind Wiseman


In response to Emma Brock
I would hate to think that this all boils down to keeping young girls away from popular culture, television, and marketing, but perhaps that is part of it. My granddaughter, age 5, seems to have a lot of the power and identity issue sorted out already. She convinced her mother to make a dragon costume and has been a dragon for the past two Halloweens. As she points out, "dragons eat princesses." It may help that her father, a research biophysicist, does all the cooking and laundry and takes her kayaking and that her mother is a mosaic artist and a licensed contractor with her own truck and toolboxes. She spends time in both workplaces. My granddaughter likes pink well enough -- along with orange, purple, and a rather bilious shade of green. Perhaps the key here is not the "keeping away from" so much as the offering of something more interesting?
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Latest Post: January 3, 2012 at 10:53 PM
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