Friday, March 28, 2014

Orsenstein, Cinderella Ate My Daughter


This author, Orenstein, argues that the industry of Disney princesses has a bad gender behavioral influence on girls.  Orenstein first starts out with a personal experience, pertaining to her daughter's imitation of Snow White.  Her daughter, Daisy, was "lying on the ground, her arms folded corpselike across her chest, her lips pursed, her expression somber" (12).  Her daughter was imitating Snow White when she ate the poison apple and now was waiting for the right prince to kiss her and wake her.  Orenstein describes her distaste for Disney princesses and the message they send to little girls.  As a result of these messages, the dilemma girls face in general are- they can succeed in school, play sports, get jobs, be mothers, but in addition must also be concerned of their faces, weight, clothing, pleasing men, and etc.  Orenstein then goes on to describe other doll like figures, such as the American Girl.  Mothers in general are happy with the message these dolls bring, but to the girls they are not so much concerned with the story behind the dolls, but the clothes they can dress these dolls in and the play-sets they can buy.  I believe Orenstein is blaming these fictitious figures for the possible influence they lay on girls.  But in the end I don't think even Orenstein knows how much of children's behavior is "truly inborn and how much was learned" (53). 

Orenstein mentions a couple times in this article, that there are plenty of girls that even though they grew up on Disney princesses or other doll-like figures, they grew out of this stage and became doctors, lawyers, mother, and more.  I disagree with Orenstein that the blame for this gender inequality should be blamed on Disney princesses; I believe this inequality stems from our history.  Before women were considered "equal" to men, women were similar to these Disney princesses- waiting for a men to "save" them.  However, I would have liked to Orenstein to expand upon the topic of women now a days having to be accomplished, yet also be conscious of one's looks, and etc.  Similar to Orenstein, it is hard to measure how much of this social media has played an effect on girls, in terms of how it has shaped their life.  As seen by Christensen, we see the role these fictitious figures play on girls in terms of sexuality, race, and body image, but does it have that much of an effect on girls in what to pursue in the future?  Does it actually stop girls from wanting to become a doctor, to then just focus on beauty and wait for a man to marry her and take care of her?  I personally am skeptical of this amount of influence, as I grew up on Disney princesses, and don't believe these fictitious characters have influenced me in a negative way.