Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

I always think it's cool when I can really connect with an author who would normally be on a completely different page than I am.  Peggy Orenstein is as up front with her liberal tendencies as I am with my conservative leanings.  But if anything could bring us together it is feminism.  In this book (which is really more feminism-lite), Orenstein explores the impact that the girlie-girl culture is having on American children.  She examines everything from traditional fairytales to kiddie pageants to the sexualization of pre-teens.

Writing
Superb.  The reason I call it femism-lite is that much of is based on anecdotal evidence provided by the author.  She takes a trip to a Miley Cyrcus concert and speaks of her own experiences raising her daughter.  However, this makes the book (and the author's spot-on message) accessible to a much wider audience.  It's not bogged down with heavy theory and research, which is suitable for what the book is trying to accomplish. 

Entertainment Value
I couldn't put it down.  Because it is so accessible, you can breeze right through it.  It's not a very long book, but it certainly packs a punch.  It made me deeply consider long-held ideas about being a woman and raising children, especially daughters.  And it did so in a compulsively readable manner.  The fact that much of the book is anecdotal really lends it to fast reading, but the theory and thought behind those anecdotes still comes through.  I think this is a great introduction to some feminist theories for those who, like me, aren't ready for deep textbook-style theory. 

Overall:
This one gets a strong recommendation from me.  I think any parent of a daughter should read it, as well as anyone who is interested in a starting out point for basic gender ideas.  It'll definitely make you think.  It's inspired some discussion among the girls on my book club, especially related to marketing for young girls.  A particular example that we've been discussing is that of the new girl-themed Legos.  When I was little, we were Lego-crazed.  All of our Legos looked the same and were packaged the same.  But now there are "girl" Legos, packaged in lavender boxes and with less building/more accessories.  I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated I was so see these in the store.  This is exactly the kind of issue examined in the book - it's a must-read!

7 comments:

  1. This book!! I did my first draft of my review this week. And...I still sounded a lot like OMG! OMG!

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  2. I saw this book on the nest board and I'll probably read it someday because it does sound interesting. Just wanted to point out though that girl themed legos aren't anything "new," I totally had them when I was a kid and I loved them.

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  3. Great review - you have convinced me to read the book!

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  4. LOL at Jennie.

    You know, it's really nice to read about studies and statistics, but anecdotes stick with you so much longer!

    So glad you loved it. Thanks for being on the tour!

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  5. I keep seeing rave reviews of this one - I'll have to pick it up soon!

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  6. Sounds like a good read, and maybe a bit like Female Chauvinist Pigs? (if you've not read it, I think you would like it).

    Although, as a child in the early 1990s, I had a pink box of Lego...

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  7. Given my daughter's Internet identity you know I'm dying to read this!

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