A Hot {{Pink}} Mess

Julie Dillon

That’s it. I’m pissed. 
A recent trip to Target’s toy section sent my brewing anger from simmer to boil. I was annoyed with pink sparkles and princesses then postal with intentional consumerism and early sexualization. The catalyst pictured here.

The details:

Just like every mom, I want my daughter to grow up to be successful and happy. Just like every feminist, I want my daughter fulfilled by whatever she wants. I don’t want her to feel bound by society’s rules. I hope she feels pleasure doing the work of a firefighter, teacher, bricklayer, lawyer, nurse, or counselor, etc. And, I want her to be able to freely choose.
Enter Cinderella. Along with Ken and Barbie, they are blowing my daughter’s possibilities up in sparkly smoke.
At least that is how I am feeling at the moment.
Combining my passion in healthy body image and my preschooler’s hopefulness, I anticipated the release of How Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein.  I started reading it last week and frankly, it is making angry.
I’m not angry at the author. My discontent is aimed at the industries promoting early sexualization and consumerism in the name of profits. I am only 20% into the book, and so far I have learned:
  • Pink toys and clothing started showering the market in the 1980s. I encourage you to rethink this commonly heard statement: “It is just part of her girly nature to prefer pink.” Before 1980, girls preferred more choices in the rainbow.
  • Disney started ramming the Princess Revolution down our consuming throats in 2000. Before then, girls played dress up in their mom’s closets. Now, they are privileged to have the full princess fantasy before they are out of diapers.
  • The term girl power use to promote empowerment. Now, girl power is a marketing tool aimed at tweens leaving princess la la land. It’s glittery pink message sparkles individualization yet the only options are through appearance. A prime example: the Target t-shirt pictured above found in the toy section. How dare they?
As I read more of Orenstein’s book, I imagine my thoughts may shift a bit. I would love to hear your thoughts about my current discontent. Further, I would enjoy hearing your experiences while reading Orenstein’s book.

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