Girlie-Girl Culture At Home

Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter covers a ton of ground on the current state of childhood, gender, and consumerism. For all of her adventures at Toy Fair, American Girl Place, beauty pageants, and Miley Cyrus concerts, Orenstein doesn't address how her daughter's princess love informs choices within their home; we never get a glimpse inside of Daisy's room or toy box.

What Orenstein does address are the ways in which very young children are being taught what constitutes beautiful, powerful, and girlie. The book is its most compelling at its most ambivalent, Orenstein rushing through LAX with her daughter, denying her plea for Ty Girlz.

It began to dawn on me that I had been caught in a cunningly laid trap: I was attempting to offer Daisy more choices--a broader view of her possibilities, her femininity--by repeatedly saying no to her every request. What were the odds that was going to work? Even the forbidden-fruit argument I so often hear seemed a scam: it still forced me to buy something I did not even want her to know about in the hope that it would quench her desire rather than stoke it, that she would, as Disney's Andy Mooney had said, "pass through the phase" rather than internalize it (earning his company a tidy profit in the meanwhile). (Orenstein, 87-8)

At Apartment Therapy we often applaud kids' rooms that manage to pull off pink in a way that's inoffensive to parents or use glitter to subtle effect, but what if a little girl wants a room that's pink, sparkly, girlie, princessy, heavily branded, or downright garish? Readers often question the choice of themes for a child's room, suggesting that they should be allowed to grow into their own interests. What if their parents bristle at those interests?

Did you read Cinderella Ate My Daughter? How are you all navigating these issues in your home?

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