Peggy Orenstein sets out to examine the effects of Princess culture on today's girls in this well-researched, balanced, and wryly humorous book. She began this project when she noticed that most of the little girls in her daughter's class were princess mad, specifically, Disney princess mad. This book appealed to me because, like Orenstein, I've often wondered what the long-term results of exposure to the girlie-girl cult will have on women. So many girls are given such mixed views on the nature of femininity and sexuality that there is bound to be fall-out as Orenstein shows us with her chapter on "real" Disney princesses Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus. There are also chapters discussing beauty pageants, Barbie and other toys for girls, superheroes, fairy tales and social networking. Every aspect of the insidious message that marketers are peddling to girls is covered and dissected. Orenstein's honesty in admitting her own ambivalent feelings and inconsistent enforcement of her beliefs with her own daughter, Daisy, reflects the views of most parents. Many of the parents Orenstein interviewed expressed their desire for their daughters to feel beautiful and attractive, yet they didn't want their girls to feel that that is all they are good for. What is the solution? Orenstein does not offer one here. She cites research and provides examples of what might work, but, really, this cultural message is so entrenched in our society that there is no easy solution to be had. Each parent has to face the issue in their own way, and some parents, of course, don't see it as an issue at all. If you are interested in the way that girls are raised, this thought-provoking book will provide reflection on what you can do to combat the negative effects of our image and brand conscious society.
I received this ARC courtesy of HarperCollins through NetGalley. This book will be released on January 25, 2011.