Cinderella Ate My Daughter
Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
By Peggy Orenstein
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061711527, 256pp.)
Publication Date: February 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The acclaimed author of the groundbreaking bestseller Schoolgirls reveals the dark side of pink and pretty: the rise of the girlie-girl, she warns, is not that innocent.
Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a sourcethe sourceof female empowerment. And commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.
But, realistically, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-size wedding gown or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anywayespecially given girls' successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualizationor prime them for it? Could today's little princess become tomorrow's sexting teen? And what if she does? Would that make her in charge of her sexualityor an unwitting captive to it?
Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. She dissected the science, created an online avatar, and parsed the original fairy tales. The stakes turn out to be higher than sheor weever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniableyet armed with awareness and recognition, parents can effectively counterbalance its influence in their daughters' lives.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter is a must-read for anyone who cares about girls, and for parents helping their daughters navigate the rocky road to adulthood.
Peggy Orenstein is the author of the New York Times bestseller Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother and Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, she has been published in, among others, USA Today; Vogue; Parenting; O, The Oprah Magazine; Salon; and The New Yorker. Orenstein lives in Northern California with her husband and their daughter, Daisy.
“Orenstein has played a defining role in giving voice to this generation of girls and women…. At times this book brings tears to your eyes—tears of frustration with today’s girl-culture and also of relief because somebody finally gets it—and is speaking out on behalf of our daughters.”
-Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety
“Reading Cinderella is like hanging out with a straight-talking, hilarious friend; taking a fascinating seminar on 21st century girlhood; and discovering a compendium of wise (but never preachy) advice on raising girls. A must-read for any parent trying to stay sane in a media saturated world.”
-Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl
“I wish I’d had Peggy Orenstein’s thought-provoking, wise, and entertaining new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, to comfort me and to help me navigate the Pepto Bismol pink aisles of the toy store and the cotton candy pink channels of the TV dial. Every mother needs to read this.”
-Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother
“[Peggy Orenstein’s] addictively readable book manages, somehow, to be simultaneously warm and chilling”
-Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women