Yeah so, earlier today on NPR, Diane Rehm interviewed author Peggy Orenstein about her new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture.
When I heard the title, I almost ran my car off the road.
I can’t say anything about the book because I haven’t read it; what intrigued me was the discussion they had about some of the negative effects of the “hyper-feminine, commercialized world of young girls,” (New York Times). It sort of validated every suspicion I’ve ever had.
A lot of parents called in to talk about how they were hesitant to encourage what I’ll call “overly princessy” behavior in their little girls. One mom even said she refused to let her 8-year-old attend a spa/makeover-themed birthday party.
Stating the obvious:
- Girls can be pressured to grow up too quickly.
- There are not many options out there for little girls who don’t want to wear pink. The author noted there are currently 26,000 Disney Princess items on the market; in 2009, Princess products generated sales of $4 billion.
- All pink, all princess, all the time, can alienate girls from boys their age, and girls who have no interaction with boys when they are very young are more likely to have unhealthy relationships with men as adults (so the author stated).
- The whole princess/pink thing is a marketing tool and should not be taken seriously by anyone.
Before you go all I-am-a-princess-and-there’s-nothing-wrong-with-that on me, I am not bashing any little girl who wants to wear pink and be a princess; I’m just saying there needs to be a balance. As Orenstein said, it’s not one thing or another, but the cumulative effects one should be mindful of.
Was I ever a princess for Halloween? Sure. Was I also a car-wreck victim? You betcha. Did I play with dolls? Yes I did. Did I also play “My Little Pony Burn Unit” with the neighbor boy? Hell yeah.
I also think – and this is just my opinion, not something from the show – that the princess mentality contributes to the misconception that every story has a happy ending. I think it also creates a false sense of entitlement and an attitude of “me, me, me.”
My advice? Take that Barbie doll and set it on fire.
Somewhat related: I encourage you all to read Carl Hiaasen’s Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World; about the relentless success of the Disney machine to gobble up real estate and natural resources, control the press and manipulate local government.