Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-girl Culture

Orenstein, Peggy

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter
The author explores her own conflicting feelings as a mother as she protects her offspring and probes the roots and tendrils of the girlie-girl movement and concludes that parents who think through their values early on and set reasonable limits, encourage dialogue and skepticism, and are canny about the consumer culture can combat the 24/7 "media machine" aimed at girls and hold off the focus on beauty, materialism, and the color pink somewhat.

Publisher: New York, NY : HarperCollins, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0061711527
Characteristics: viii, 244 p. ;,24 cm.


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Dec 16, 2014
  • KindianaJones rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book was very well-balanced. The author gave us her personal experience based on being mama to a young girl, but she also presented us with facts. Orenstein made a good attempt to look at both sides of an issue. Cinderella... was very readable.

Jul 31, 2013
  • emmajtreat rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I felt about 1000% more empowered and 500%less naive after reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter. I learned a lot about psychology and modern marketing ploys. But even though Orenstein informs and brings up good points, I had a few issues with her book. First off, there was a lot more slut shaming than I expected, especially for a feminism book. I also felt like Orenstein wasn't super confident, and never really took a stance on anything. Overall, though, I really enjoyed the book. Cinderella Ate My Daughter would be a good book for anyone who plans on interacting with females in the next 10 years.

Apr 28, 2013
  • crankylibrarian rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As a mother who has worked hard to shield my daughter from the pernicious and omnipresent Disney, Miley, et al., I couldn't wait to read this. Orenstein makes some great points: that while girls and boys feel a strong need to express their gender identity when little, that identity need not be as hyper-sexualized and limiting as that based on Disney imagery; that gender based imaginative play is healthy, but play based on the rigid scripts of movies and tv shows is more limiting and less creative; and that media "princess" "girrrl" and "girlz" culture icons send conflicting messages about female sexuality: be innocent, yet desirable. While she may overreach occasionally, this is a thoughtful well argued cultural critique that any parent of a daughter should consider before buying into the Disney Princess juggernaut.

Mar 31, 2012
  • willow12 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I was honestly disappointed with this book. I had been anxious to read it since I heard so much about it, but it did not live up to my expectations. While Ornstein brought up some incredible points, the broad spectrum she covers and the focus on her own personal experiences and worries as a mother made this book, in my opinion, more of fluff psychology than anything else. She does bring up absolute gems and ideas that blew my mind, but she rushes on to her next personal antictode instead of expanding on these ideas. It is also very much a "crowd-pleaser," every time she comes close to making a strong point or stance she skirts away from the idea or waters it down. A few good points, but overall unfocused and unsatisfying.

Jan 30, 2012
  • PrimaGigi rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I dislike the color pink. I dislike the theory of color-coded gender binary. I dislike anyone telling me, I should act like a girl (when I am a woman) My reason for disliking pink is because of everyone else's preconceived notions of the color and bombarding it upon young girls on a daily basis. That this is the color of girl-girles (another term coined that I seriously hate). What exactly is a girl-girly? I am not a girl-girly apparently, as on many occasions I have been told this, because I am not frivolous nor into dressing-up. Yet, having the organs proves other wise. Or the fact that I have pictures to prove the former.

To the contrary; I love dressing-up and putting on make-up. I just don't enjoy being frivolous and ornate. I, thankfully grew-up before the princess craze hit my generation. I was interested in Dinosaurs and books, I did have barbies, and made them wild and naked (the clothing was cumbersome and awful). It worries me that my little sister has to now grow-up in this glittery world of mind-cavities. Not to say that wanting to be a princess is bad. My issue with the craze is that real princesses in history have been known to be progressive, political and warriors. Making them fierce queens. (EX. Elizabeth I, Mary I, Victoria, Catherine The Great,Pocahontas,Princess Kaiulani ...)

In this realm the princesses being presented to our young girls are nothing more then wasteful waifs. No fire or passion. No need to better the plight of their kingdoms (unless of course the plight can be summed up in song) Some of them aren't princess from a bloodline, but made so by marriage, which they wait upon. It's the Disney ideology of princesses that makes me so worrisome about allowing my sister to watch any of the movies that don't depict what it really means to have the weight of a country upon your shoulders.

Some of fears are brought up in the chapters, but it seems that the author is trying to come off as snarky and above it all. I would have enjoyed having a truly through look as to why such ideals and ideology are bigger then they should be. How my and this generation has now been imbued with them, how the children of the aughts have now step backwards into the chauvinist leanings.

I don't remember growing-up this way, I don't understand why now my generation has accepted this with open arms and frowns at me for questioning them about the damages in separating girls into categories at such young ages. That theory wasn't answered in this book. How one girl is deemed acceptable, therefore better because she happens to want to put on the dress-up clothing and the other is thrown the world of Tomboy, simply because she willing plays in the dirt. The two don't correlate. (Oh the gender-fucking you parents, so fear, yet you give your kids so willing over to with that word.)

I wanted the hierarchies answered, torn down and rearranged. I wanted a serious commentary on the overload of princess culture. Yes, girls are screwed-up for not knowing realities of what being born or married into that life-style entails. Their all getting Marie Antoinette and not Elizabeth I (all girls should be lead to Elizabeth I at the tender ages of 8-12) I was hoping against hope, Peggy would lead me to the land of Milk and Honey. That if asked, why I do I so dash the indulgence of parents in whom allow their daughters to revel in these things. I wanted to be able to point to this book as proof my rabid rage is not unfounded, but truly that their own idiocy is killing the mind of their children.

Nothing was really talked about, nothing truly throughly questioned. American Girl makes you broke, Disney is the devil and everything is pink. Well, I guess I shouldn't complain if the ideas weren't actually fleshed out more the book would have spanned into four volumes. I guess one woman is an island... It's just me and my buddy Wilson and his pink tiara crown, mocking me....

Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Peggy Orenstein writes a book that is interesting and easy to read. It's perfect for those who have yet to read anything on the subject and she provides research in a accessible way. Full of annecdotes of her experiences "on the front lines," and stories this book's conclusion maybe a little surprising to some.

Sep 19, 2011
  • Camerashy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A fascinating read. Mandatory reading for anyone with a little girl. Orenstein has a knack for mixing humour into some seriously shocking material.

Aug 02, 2011
  • suetrav rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I was slightly disappointed with this book. Certainly nothing new covered by the author but it was a light and easy read.

Jul 24, 2011

Recommended by Jerilyn

Jun 11, 2011
  • Sarsypants rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I was so happy when I found out someone had written a book on this topic. And I very much appreciate the issues raised and discussed in this book. However, I found the author's style a little heavy handed. Heavily biased opinions reside right next to scientific research in various passages. I wish there was more research and less opinion and personal anecdotes.

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Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

P 186-87

Going all Amish on your middle school or high school daughter, however, is another story…. So haranging your twelve-year-old when she tears it up to “What I wa-wa-want is what you wa-wa-want. Give it to me baby, like boom boom boom” is not going to reach her. However; open-minded, respectful conversation about the song’s underlying message (while acknowledging it is a catchy beat) very well might… the point is not so much to raise children who are cynical about the media as one who are sceptical.

Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

P 186

Pointing out inaccurate or unrealistic portrayals of women to younger grade school children – ages five to eight – does seem to be effective, when done judiciously: talking to little girls about body image and dieting, for example, can actually introduce them to disordered eating behaviour rather than inoculating them against it.

Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

P 142
Catherine Steiner-Adair, the director of eating disorders education and prevention at the Klarman Eating Disorders Centre at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts.

“ ‘You’re beautiful’ is not something you want to say over and over to your daughter, because it’s not something that you want her to think is important. That said there are times when it is important to say it: when she’s messy or sweaty, when she’s not dressed up so that she gets a sense that there is something naturally beautiful about her as a person. To say, ‘I love you so much. Everything about you is beautiful to me – you are beautiful to me’ That way you’re not just objectifying her body.”

Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Although my body and I have reached if not peace, then at least a sense of détente, “fat” remains how I experience anger, dissatisfaction, disappointment. I feel “fat” if I can’t master a task at work. I feel “fat” if I can’t please those I love. “Fat is how I blame myself for my failures. “Fat” is how I express my anxieties. A psychologist once told me, “Fat is not a feeling.” If only it were that simple. As for so many women, the pathology of self-loathing is permanently ingrained in me. I can give in to it, I can modify it, I can react against it with practiced self-acceptance, but I cannot eradicate it. It frustrates me to consider what else I might have done with the years of mental energy I have wasted on this single, senseless issue. {snip} Yet over-emphasizing a girl’s looks is clearly hazardous – and that emphasis is pervasive. How to find the sweet spot?

Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

P 183

Meanwhile, the notion that we parents are sold, that are children are “growing up faster” that previous generations, that they are more mature and sophisticated in their tastes, more savvy in their consumption, and there is nothing we can (or need) to do about it is – what is the technical term again? – oh yes: a load of crap. Today’s three year-olds are no better than their predecessors at recognizing when their desires are manipulated by grown-ups. Today’s six-year-olds don’t get the subtext of their sexy pirate costumes. Today’s eight-year-olds don’t understand that ads are designed to sell them something. And today’s fourteen-year-olds are still desperate for approval from their friends – all 622 of them.

Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Page 85

Consider the trend toward academically accelerated preschool: at best, young children who are drilled on letters and numbers show no later advantage compared with those in play-based programs. In some cases, by high school their outcomes are worse…. Girls pushed to be sexy too soon can’t understand what they’re doing. And that, Hinshaw argues, is the point: The do not – and may never – learn to connect their performance to erotic feelings or intimacy. They learn how to act desirable but not how to desire, undermining rather than promoting healthy sexuality.

Oct 07, 2011
  • dprodrig rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

page 58

…. [is the difference between boys and girls] more like Canadians and Americans: mostly alike except for some weird little quirks, such as how they pronounce the word “about”?


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