Friday, February 18, 2011

Orenstein on "princess culture"

Journalist, author and mother Peggy Orenstein recently published a new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. The book presents a critique of today's "princess culture" that is contributing to the hypersexualization of young girls.

I haven't read the book, but would like to. I'm increasingly disturbed by the was corporations profit from the hypersexualization of girls, who they target practically from the moment they are born.

Here's a link to an interview with Orenstein about her new book that recently appeared in the Globe and Mail:

I'd be interested in hearing others' thoughts on the interview. It's good overall, but there were a couple parts that made me go "huh?", such as her assertion that preschool toy choices are based on "sex differences". Also, Orenstein states that "for most of us, sex is permanent" and kids attach themselves to gender stereotypes because "they think [their sex] could switch". Is this true, or is it the author's projection? Do kids conform to gender roles because they are afraid of sexual or gender ambiguity, or because this is something our society fears? A sharper analysis of the social construction of gender (including a discussion of the difference between sex and gender, which the author seems to conflate) would be useful here.


  1. I haven't read the interview yet, but I will! This is how I feel often with my daughter. I'm a feminist, and my daughter has been a huge fan of Disney princesses. Now, she's more into the Disney girls like Miley and Selena. I try to use the opportunities to talk to her about it. She usually rolls her eyes and says "I know mom." Glad someone is looking at this!

  2. It seems as if the hypersexualization of girls and women comes as one of the huge backlashes against women's equality and feminism. In order to take action, we must first do the critical analysis. From where I sit, it seems that capitalism has stolen our bodies and is selling them back to us--and especially to men and boys--to make huge profits. And this is pervasive. One way to start would be critically examining the media images, discovering who is making profit from this, and strategizing how to make these people pay attention. Targetting one of the worst offenders with a public boycott or something similar might get their attention.