"In her new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Orenstein documents her struggle to do just that: raise a daughter who is happy and self-confident amid a world that encourages little girls to engulf their rooms in pink chiffon and rhinestone tiaras. Yes, she’s talking about the princess complex—the little-girl love affair that starts with Cinderella and ends with sheets and toothbrushes and cups and tiaras and home décor and pint-size wedding gowns and myriad other products. And the ultrafeminine messages that come along with it."
more pressure than ever to be “perfect” (like a princess?)—not only to get straight A’s and excel academically, but to be beautiful, fashionable, and kind. And the more mainstream media girls consume, the more they worry about being pretty and sexy. One study, from the University of Minnesota, found that just seeing advertisements from one to three minutes can have a negative impact on girls’ self-esteem." That really shows you how much pressure is put on girls, especially young girls, to be perfect. Girls think they have to be smart, they have to be successful, but they have to be pretty and perfect and if they are not the most beautiful person according the standard of boys, or their "prince charming," then their is something "wrong" with them!
The toys that girls play with.... Barbies who have the "perfect" body, which is actually IMPOSSIBLE to have measurements like that, perfect hair, and the perfect Ken to be matched with... Or Bratz dolls like Orenstein mentioned who are wearing very provactive outfits... Its teaching girls that we are only valued for our appearance! I admire Orenstein's approach to give her own daughter different standards to live up to.
This piece reminds me a lot of different things I've heard about on TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras. There are so many young girls who are dressed like "princesses," but they are dressed so provactively. They even wear flippers because their baby teeth are found too "unattractive," and how can you possibly sexualize a little girl if she has baby teeth that are visible to the audience? There was one instance where a little girl was actually dressed in a prostitute costume, the one that Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman. I posted in my blog here.
Overall, I agree with Orenstein's view on how princesses affect little girls image of themselves. And I agree that the idea of princesses, like in TLC's show, is teaching girls how to be more provactive and overlysexualized when they are too young to even understand it yet.