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.

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