Hot on the heels of the Tiger Mom controversy comes Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of New Girlie-Girl Culture. After reading an excerpt online and an article in the New York Times, I started to feel defensive. Is Ms. Orenstein igniting an assault on pretty in pink, little girl bedrooms? Is princess decor too sugar and spice and everything nice?
Orenstein explains that in raising her daughter, the marketing of all things pink and princesses put her “at war with a culture that emphasized physical appearance to her daughter over pride, strength, resilience and intelligence.”
While I don’t have a daughter, I was a little girl once upon a time. My childhood bedroom was painted a lovely shade of dust rose with a dust rose comforter and matching floral sheets on a four poster bed with frilly canopy. I took ballet classes and loved my recital costumes. Every Halloween I wanted to be a princess. Fairy princess. Princess Leia. Princess Diana. (I was no TLC tiara terror, although I love that show.) Then one day my old school girlie-girl self experienced a head-on collision with college women’s studies classes. I’ve come to terms with that. And that was almost 20 years ago.
So in today’s post-feminism world, can’t our little girls enjoy powerfully pink bedrooms, tea parties and princes costumes? Or is dust rose still damaging?