April: Pink is Out! Real Women Aren't Always Princesses

I just finished, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein. This book looks at how marketers and seemingly benevolent "toy manufacturers" are cranking out images and concepts that formulate negative concepts in young girls (pre-school to pre-teens) minds. I couldn't understand why my daughter-in-law and son didn't want anything "pink" or "princess" items for my granddaughter.  Oh yes, it was a difficult pill to swallow, but I honored it and didn't argue.  After reading this book, I now understand how pink has become more than a color. It is marketing "blitz krieg."

Is "Prince Charming" really necessary for happiness? Does one need to be recognized for his or her looks and not for deeds? If we want to make a difference, we must be vigilant to the forces that are trying to manipulate our children's images of themselves. We as women have fought for years not to be classified by a "look," but to be recognized for our achievements and accreditations.  

We are capable of being studious, great homemakers, amazing tailors, phenomenal with numbers, artists with flair, athletic, etc.?  How long have we wanted to be more than a "pretty face,"  "a great outfit," or " a sexy body?" Well, look at what you are doing for your daughter, granddaughter, and fellow women around you. Are you helping them becoming a better person or are you just reinforcing the marketers vision of what a "woman wants or needs" to be a productive and fulfilled woman?  "Pretty Woman" is not a real woman. 

Can a young girl only get attention from her family and peers by acting as a princess? We are not talking "dress up" using thrift shop dresses, hats, and mom's old shoes in the box in the corner. We are talking elaborate costly costumes, kiddie makeup, and personal grooming items.

What about pre-teen girls gyrating to music that has blatantly sexual content? We are talking about 5-10 year olds. Recently, a  current pop culture singer stated she appreciated the younger fans, but her product was never intended for that young of an audience. Mom, Dad, are you on duty?

Youngsters need role models to let them know they don't have to wait for a fairy godmother to come along and make them beautiful or handsome. They don't have to rub a magic lamp to get what they want. The adults in a child's life need to help he or she understand you need work for the things you need and sometimes you get even the things you want. They should also be taught that life isn't fair. Yes! Life isn't fair.  That doesn't mean it won't hurt, but it does mean that they need help in learning how to cope with what isn't fair and how to go about fixing it, (if it's possible).

You can begin to "chip away at the marketeers who paint unreachable images. The next time you have a conversation with a female (of any age).  Avoid the conversational openers "Oh you look lovely today" or “Your hair looks great!'  Start with "Tell me everything about what you have been doing" or "Have you been following your passion?"
    Encourage her to talk about the things she is doing instead what she can't do. 
    Talk about her dreams. 
    Discuss with her what is keeping her from accomplishing them.
    Ask her what is her plan to achieve her dream. 

It is when we are busy doing what makes us happy that we are fulfilled. The best thing women can do for civilization and the future is to teach each other to be better human beings.  When we start supporting each other in developing our strengths and accomplishing our goals, we become real women. Real women contribute to society by modeling behaviors for our children and others in our circles.  


Jennifer Desha said…
Well said, but I have to admit that I felt the author didn't make a compelling case for the link between "pink/princess" and low self-image, sexual risk-taking etc. I suppose it's hard to prove that link scientifically, but she alluded to a slippery slope without convincingly describing the cause and effect relationship. The author seemed ambivalent about the choices she had made in raising her own daughter who had come to shun girls who were into pink/princess. I read the book expecting to come out convinced that I need to avoid all things pink/princess, but instead I just think you need to keep a close eye on your child's attitude and development and make adjustments where necessary. For me, the pink/princess battle isn't worth fighting as long as these things are kept in moderation. Thanks for the discussion!
Sharon said…
As a Mom of an eight year old daughter, this is a very real concern. Also check out the movie Miss Representation, which also talks about this subject.


I'll will definately check out this book. Thanks!

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