Monday, January 31, 2011

Cinderella Ate My Daugther

I heard an interview with the author of a book that just came out, Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daugter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Girly-Girl Culture. It piqued my interest enough that I have it on hold at the library and a friend of mine and I are going to read it together, as we both had boys first, then our little girl. We both are concerned that we may not know what we're doing--ha, ha!

After hearing the radio interview, I read an article about the book and cites studies to give evidence that the push for little girls to grow up and be women before they're ready is definitely happening these days. What affect does having every accessory be pink have on a child? (And isn't it interesting that in world history pink has longer been associated with being a masculine color and blue was considered more "soft" and "feminine?") What does having a manicure/pedicure birthday at six do do a little girl? Anything? Is this all being blown out of proportion?

Even though the majority of little girls these days are obsessed with being a princess/fairy/ballerina, this is not the only option. There does not have to be two defined paths: one boy, and one girl. In the article it names one study "that shows that encouraging boys and girls to play together will broaden their interests and abilities. Orenstein's conclusion? That while it makes economic sense for the toy industry to create gender-specific toys, it makes parenting sense to keep the toy color spectrum broad and to schedule co-ed play dates."

My guess is that many of things talked about in this book are not ground-breaking. I'm sure that they are observations that many of us have already made, but the reason I'd like to read it is because it might help start a conversation about the choices Kevin and I make concerning Meredith, and on what path that might lead her. I stress about all my kids, but as many know, I have been particularly worried about rearing a daughter. It's not easy to be a girl at many stages of the game. I am not sure that the world we live in now is any easier than when I was a little girl.

I plan to post again on this book after I read it. Have you read it or heard anything about it? Do you have any thoughts in general about raising children in this product-driven society?

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