Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cinderella Ate My Daughter - Peggy Orenstein

Cinderella Ate My Daughter
Title: Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
Author: Peggy Orenstein
Publication Date: 1/25/2011
Pages: 245
Genre: Nonfiction
How I Found It: I can't remember
Date Completed: 1/29/17

Summary: The explosion of pink and princesses is seemingly inescapable for parents of little girls. Orenstein explores what led us to this cultural moment and how parents can and should deal with the intense cultural pressures.

What I Thought: It may seem odd for someone who is not a parent to be so interested in a book that really is directed toward that group. I don't have kids, yet I found myself riveted to Orenstein's exploration of how parents of daughters navigate our modern princesses obsession.

I think I found this book especially interested because I grew up with one sister and no brothers. Though the princess culture was not yet in full force during our 90s childhood (Disney rolled out that marketing machine in the early 2000s), we did a lot of stereotypical "girl things." We had American Girl dolls (which Orenstein spends a chapter discussing), Polly Pockets, Barbies (another chapter), and lots of paper dolls. We loved it all, but I've never spent a lot of time thinking about how my adoration of Kitchen Littles may have influences my perception of gender roles as an adult. I'd venture to guess that the gender roles displayed in the home did more in that regard, but our toys did reinforce those stereotypes in some ways. Of course, I also loved Legos, so it's not like we were restricted to dolls and dress-up. I think my parents just got us what we were interested in. After all, my sister was obsessed with cash registers as a child and that hardly fits into any gender stereotype. 

As I said, I'm not a parent. I am, however, very interested in how our culture reinforces or rejects gender roles and stereotypes. This book is really an in-depth exploration of that specifically in regard to young girls. 

This book is part of my 2018 TBR Challenge!
Honestly, I just want you all to read it so we can discuss Orenstein's ideas. Overall, I resonated with what she had to say. As the new mother of a daughter, she obviously feels conflicted about allowing her daughter to engage in what's popular but also wants to protect her from harmful messaging about beauty and self-worth. It's a fascinating read and gave me a lot to think about. Plus, Orenstein is an engaging writer and so the book doesn't feel overly academic. Instead, it feels like a conversation with a good friend who is trying to juggle the demands of modern parenthood. 

Quote I Loved: There were a lot, but I listened to this as an audio book, so I didn't write any of them down.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: If I ever have a daughter, yes.

A Reduced Review: A fascinating, engaging read about how modern parents of daughters navigate our modern princess obsession. 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read this book, but it reminds me of one I read a couple of years ago and really enjoyed--have you read The Princess Problem? The author talks about the effects of princess culture and also includes a lot of tips for parents/teachers to help kids critically engage with the stereotypes that fill children's media and toys. So interesting!

    (I wrote a quick review of the book in this roundup post: