Everyone knows that the standards out there for women’s beauty are hard to live up to. So raising a daughter in this world full of media conveying the “ideal” beauty standard in so many upfront and subtle ways is bound to be difficult. I know how I feel now, how I felt growing up, always wishing you could change something about yourself, be it weight or physical features. I’m sure most women out there at one time or another has asked the question, “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”. Most of us probably start thinking about our physical aspects before anything else. (Unless maybe in a job interview..) Why wish to be smarter, kinder, or more adventurous when we could be thinner or have a smaller nose?
That’s why when the subject of a new book came up titled “Cinderella ate my Daughter” at a meetup with some fellow mom’s, it caught my interest. When I next stopped into the book store, I ended up looking it up and reading into it a little before deciding to take my own copy of this eye popping pink book home for myself. The author, Peggy Orenstein, has written books about girls before, their self-esteem and the confidence gap. (“Schoolgirls” being very popular) This book though came into being when she had her own daughter and noticing a vast invasion of all things pink and pretty, and it all begins with a princess.
To me, Peggy is a wonderful, funny and insightful author. She starts off by real life experiences that have set her down the path of learning all there is to know about the princesses and all things pink, usually with a funny undertone. She points out things I never would have known and even opened my eyes to things I just didn’t see anything wrong with before. I’ve learned a lot of surprising things about how the story book princesses (Disney or Brother Grimm version), Seasame Street, American girl dolls, superheros, and technology can call shape how our daughters look and feel about themselves.
Not to say that all she does is spout negatives about everything out there in any shade of pink, but she did make me realize I was a bit desensitized to it. There is a difference between nature and nurture, and she ends the book talking about compromise, discussions with our daughters about the things they are bombarded with everyday and most of all, awareness.
I wanted to give my take on the book because I know it’s created a bit of a debate between the mom’s I know and I really do think it’s worth a read if you have a kid, boy or girl. While it may be awhile until I’m faced with the issues this book raises awareness of, (self-esteem, materialism, premature sexualization) it will be sooner then I ever thought, and I’m glad I’m now just a bit better prepared.