Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Recommendation: Cinderella Ate My Daughter by

Last month I picked up a book with a catchy title, Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein   I thought it would be an interesting read, especially since my youngest child is female.  I was unprepared for how powerful Orenstein's book would be.  A journalistic exploration of what it means to be feminine in our current culture, it informs, angers, and astounds the reader.  I had no idea that between 2000 and 2005 the number of female college students opting to major in computer science dropped 70 percent!!!!

So, why I am writing about this book on my frugal blog?  Read it and you'll re-think mass produced consumer items for the children and or women in your life.  I have been anti-Disney since my son was born nearly 4 years ago. However, after reading this book that resolve is even stronger.  Is the company itself evil?  No.  But the end result is a generation of girls that associate feminine with an alarmingly narrow range: princesses, hearts, butterflies, and fairies.   And we have a generation of boys that classify anything pink as "for girls".  If real world jobs were classified the same way toys are in catalogs, federal law suits would be filed.

If you are a parent, aunt/uncle, grandparent or friend to a person under 12, read this book.  Once you reach the end Oreinstein offers tips on toy selection that embraces childhood without stripping it of creativity and forcing it into the narrow box of pink versus blue.

The Disney Princess empire got its start when the head of marketing saw little girls going to shows in homemade princess outfits.  Homemade!  Now is yields more than a $1 Billion a year in sales through sales for 4 or 5 princess lines.  You can embrace a child's interest in Medieval times by purchasing frilly items from local thrift stores, crafting swords out of empty diaper boxes, and making crowns.  You'll save a ton of money, re-use items otherwise bound for the dump, and ensure that some kids will actually have an imagination.

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