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Cinderella Ate My Daughter and Why Is This a Problem

You know how some weeks, you're like "But do I have anything VALUABLE to contribute to the blogging community?", and then you decide you don't and then you sit and listen to Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used to Know' 43 times while eating chocolate chip granola? And then you realize that it's your blog and really it doesn't have to be valuable, and if you want to post this, you can:


I got like a quarter of the way through Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter before the library's eBook system stole it back, and part of the reason it was taking so long is IT IS THOUGHT-PROVOKING. Because while I might disagree with some of her conclusions, she's bringing up some good things to ponder. Kind of like Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth, which was kind of like "Yeah, well, we shouldn't put such an emphasis on virginity and what is it really and dudes are unfair about it," ALL OF WHICH ARE VALID, but I was expecting something more like "Here is my own opinion on why you should or should not sleep around," instead of "SOCIETY IS TOTALLY UNFAIR TO LADIES." Which, again, yeah it is. But she kind of ignored the main thing I thought it'd be about.

Annnnyway. So with Cinderella Ate My Daughter (which has an awesome cover, btw), Orenstein's all "I was all up on my high horse about how people should raise their daughters to be awesome and feministy AND THEN I WAS HAVING A DAUGHTER NOES" and her daughter gets all up in Disney Princess culture, and Orenstein decides to investigate whether this is a natural tendency, or wrought by environment or what. And it basically causes a lot of navel-gazing and calls to your mother.

Because the girlhood Orenstein discusses involves little girls almost inevitably embracing the color pink and all things princessy. I grew up with two older brothers, and I remember hating pink. Environmental factors had a definite impact on me, but they caused me to do things like go as Jason Voorhees for Halloween in third grade:

She made me promise to be a fairy the next year

But even with my brother-influence (I now have three of those, btw), I played with Barbies and My Little Ponies and reveled in Pretty, Pretty Princess, which is basically the worst game ("collect all the jewelry first and you get to put the crown on your head and say 'pretty, pretty princess'!"), and, good Lord, Mall Madness -- which my cousins and I still play at Thanksgiving. I was confused by her American Girl commentary, because she essentially says "Moms are lured in by the promise of old timey values instilled in their children, and the little girls just care about the dresses," which is PATENTLY FALSE, because I remember raving to my mother about Felicity saving the colonists after the British tried to steal their gunpowder or something. While riding her trusty steed Penny. Damn, Felicity's awesome.

But there are definitely broader trends at work, and they're dangerous. Do toys need to be color-coded? No no no. That being said, the pink Polly Pocket clamshell case was pretty badass. But I grew up playing with my brothers' toys, and it gave me much more to talk about with boys in grade school (when they weren't busy distributing cooties). Should we maybe not let our daughters wear nail polish and lip gloss when they're under 10? Again, this is a duh for me, but my mom didn't allow makeup until 16. So a lot of the things discussed in this book, I was kind of like "Um, well, yeah. What kind of idiot parent would allow that?" Apparently it's a lot of them.

I'm gonna close with Feminist Frequency's awesome vid on LEGO and their remarkably insulting campaign for girls (you guys play with LEGOs growing up? yeah? did they need to be pink? no they did not):


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