At the end of March, I will bid farewell to my twenties and celebrate my 30th birthday in style. My husband has planned an amazing trip to Disney World, which means I will enjoy this milestone the same way I did my 6th birthday and many since.
However, this trip will be a little different from the rest. After reading Peggy Orenstein's newest book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, I'm not sure I can ever look at those Disney princesses in quite the same way.
Orenstein is a contributing editor to The New York Times Magazine and author of numerous books including her popular SchoolGirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap. Her newest is an exploration into the cultural tsunami of princesses, pink, and glitter that has now come to define American girlhood. Not to be mistaken as a guide on parenting, this book is just what its subtitle implies. Orenstein has gone into the trenches of Disney marketing, Miley Cyrus concerts, child beauty pageants, and American Girl stores for an insider perspective. Along the way, she consulted with child psychologists and child development experts to discern the implications of this new trend. Her findings are compelling.
For instance, Orenstein deconstructs the Disney machine that hooks young girls early on with its Princess line of products (a marketing device launched in 2000), later transitioning girls to the "real life" princesses of Hilary, Miley and Selena. All of this is orchestrated under the assumption that children are safe with Disney, that this princess world enables parents to shield their kids from the darker edges of culture and stave off the onset of early sexualization.
This plan, unfortunately, backfires. After ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more