Friday, February 18, 2011

Cinderella Ate My Daughter

I found this book while searching online for princess books in my library.  It’s called Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein.  Apparently it’s a feminist’s view of our culture today and what it’s doing to girls.  The description sounds like it’s a very negative book.  I read through a lot of the reviews on Goodreads and everyone seems to love it.  I finally found one critical review.  The person said that while she agreed with most of the opinions in the book she felt like the author was writing about her experiences as a mother from the 70’s.  Interesting.  I kind of want to read this book even though I’m sure it will make me angry all the way through and I’ll finish and want to throw it at the wall. 

The reason why I was looking for princess books is because I’m throwing Gwen a princess themed birthday party.  I wanted to have some great picture books for the girls to look at while we recapped the stories so they understood the games inspired by certain princesses.  The description of this book alone makes me feel guilty for being such a cliché and having a princess themed party for my soon to be 3 year old. 

But you know me, I’m a go against the grain kind of girl.  I guess I want it all.  I want the girlie girl who is full of confidence and self worth and doesn’t give a flying fig what anyone else thinks of her and her interests.  So far I think that’s exactly who Gwen is.  One review of the book mentioned a part where the author’s daughter was teased for playing with trains.  Guess what!  Gwen loves trains and it was totally her idea.  My boys don’t have trains and really they couldn’t care less but somehow Gwen developed this obsession with trains.  So we got her a train set for her birthday last year.  She loves it.  Now her dad is getting into model railroading and is building a pretty elaborate set in the garage.  Gwen couldn’t be happier about it. 

I think what I find sad about the limited information I have of this scene in the book is that the author allowed her daughter to feel bad about playing with trains to the point that the girl stopped playing.  Come on!  An entire book freaking out about the pink brainwashing of girls and the evils of Disney princesses!  Let your daughter be who she is.  People probably think I’m raising a diva and forcing her to be girly.  So not true.  The only thing I forced her to do is get her hair done every day and I started that from day one.  She wore a headband until she had enough hair to do something with and as soon as she could sit up I was pulling her hair up into tiny pigtails.  Honestly, my friends wish they had done the same with their little girls because now hairstyling is a huge fight.  Gwen is used to getting her hair done and she’ll even sit for me to braid it. 

I bought Gwen one play dress when she was a year old and she loved it so much she wanted to wear it every day and she wants to wear skirts every day.  Nature vs. Nurture?  I think she came hardwired to be who she is.  She loves shopping, which I have developed a small taste for since she’s so fun to take with.  She loves to help me buy clothes and told me that one of my shirts was not pretty because it didn’t have flowers.  I bought it anyway because it looked good on me and while I value Gwen’s opinion, she’s 2. 

I value “vanity.”  I don’t think that people should be so vain they’re shallow.  I just think people should take care of themselves and look like they care.  Toddlers & Tiaras makes me sick and I imagine the bulk of this book’s diatribe is a generalization that all mothers of girls are the Toddlers & Tiaras type.  I think I need to get on the waiting list for this book because I need a good liberal feminist book to really get my brain going.  Who knows, my first impressions based on Goodreads reviews could be completely wrong.  It’s worth checking out to form my own opinion. 

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