Monday, March 31, 2014

Cinderella Ate My Daughter

This reading by Peggy Orenstein (2011) was a very interesting read.  Orenstein made a lot of strong points about young girls idolizing Disney Princesses and how it may have an effect on their lives.  She tells her readers about the popular Disney Princess line that began in the year 2000 and how much it has blown up since then among girls ages 2-6.  Orenstein met and spoke with the man who came up with this billion dollar idea, Andy Mooney, who also made some good points that she quoted in her writing.

"We simply gave girls what they wanted, although I don't think any of us grasped how much they wanted this.  I wish I could sit here and take credit for having some grand scheme to develop this, but all we did was envision a little girl's room and think about how she could live out the princess fantasy." (Mooney, pg. 15)  I like how he said this because I think he is right - these are young girls with imaginations and I think that they are allowed to know the stories of the Disney Princesses, since these characters were created for young children to watch.  Although it has been noticed that the majority of the Disney Princesses are thin, beautiful, have perfect hair, and they tell similar stories about finding true love, I think that it's okay for her 3 year old daughter to pretend that she is Snow White because she is using her imagination and just being a kid.  It does not necessarily mean that she will grow up and worry about her self-image.  However, I do agree with Orenstein when she gives her opinion about how society has changed the way we view these Princesses.

I also liked Mooney's point about girls and boys passing through their phases of wanting to be their favorite character or Disney Princess.  I believe that it is normal and healthy for young children to imagine themselves as whatever they would like to be and we should let them have their fun with it.  I loved all of the Disney Princess movies when I was younger and I did not grow up expecting to become a Princess living in a fairy tale world.  Maybe that's because my parents never called me "Princess" - society is not the only thing that has an impact on these young girls idolizing Disney Princesses, it's also how these girls are raised at home.

I thought that Orenstein's eye-opening writing taught her readers to be aware of what these Disney stories are teaching girls.  I think that girls at young ages pretending to be their favorite Disney Princess is harmless as long as the parents are not encouraging her or teaching her that she needs to find her Prince Charming in order for her life to end up perfect.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Five Sources

Teen Pop Stars

Fashion in the 1980s

Music Influence on Fashion & Society

'Tiger Beat' Covers Throughout the Years

Do Celebrities Shape Kids' Values?

Influence of Pop Music on Teens in the U.S.

A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence

In this study done by Rebecca Raby, there are discussions about today's generation of teenage girls.  Raby looks at how much adolescent girls have changed over time in comparison to their grandmothers' generation.  The things that society sees as "normal" for teenage girls to be doing are very different today than they were back then.  She looks at five discourses of adolescence - which are storm, becoming, at-risk, social problem, and pleasurable consumption.

"Except perhaps for childhood, adolescence is one of the times of life that is most overdetermined, in that it is strongly perceived to be an age that comes with certain key traits.  These traits are applied to all teenagers." (pg. 430)  This statement is true because society is full of judgments about teens and people have a certain way of viewing and labeling them.  They are seen as moody, hormonal, rebellious, and lazy.

"Adolescence is discursively framed as a stage that seems to require a degree of self-reflection, it is also marginalized and often laced with current, popular concern about adolescents as dangerous, ungoverned and in need of control." (pg. 430)  People see the adolescent years as a time of feeling lost and not knowing who you are.  Self-reflection is important in teenage years, since the next stage of your life is all about making decisions about who you want to be.

I think that Raby did a nice job with her research on teenage girls and how they are viewed by society.  Expectations from adults for teenagers have changed due to different sources of media and due to how they are raised in today's world.  It was interesting to me to learn about how things have changed over time and to realize how much the media has to do with it.

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

Talking Points - Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

I found this article, 'Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us' by Linda Christensen to be very interesting.  It opened my eyes to a subject that I had never actually realized, especially as a child watching Disney movies and cartoons.  Christensen argued that stereotypes are taught at such a young age, without it even being noticed.  She explains to her audience that older cartoons and movies made for children send messages about race, roles of women and men, and cultural stereotypes.  She refers to these messages as a "secret education" since these TV shows, movies, and books that children watch and read are teaching them about the roles of society.
Christensen argues that cartoons, Disney movies, and children's books have the most influence on a child's life, since these are the things that they do most often.  Disney movies, such as Peter Pan, portray different kinds of stereotypes that children pick up on.  I thought it was interesting when Christensen talked about certain characters in older movies or cartoons, such as the "evil" stepparents, servants were people "of color", and women were portrayed as very sexual human beings.  Now that I think back on it, I remember all of the Disney Princesses being sexualized, and all of those stories are about the Princesses finding their true love in order to be happy.  Christensen argues that it is not right to teach girls at a young age that a man is the only thing that will make a woman fully happy, and that the goal in life is to find someone to marry.
Christensen explains that children's cartoons, movies, and books portray an image of what society should be like, which gives children the thought that certain genders and races have specific roles that they should play in society.  I thought that the author did a great job with teaching her audience more about what we are showing to children and how we can make them realize that what they see in the media is not reality.

- Jennifer Crandall