Orenstein.What’s Wrong With Cinderella

And perhaps thats a good thing the ideal solution but

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Unformatted text preview: iding down a zip line on parasols, nav igating an obstacle course of tires in their stilettos, slithering on their bellies under barbed wire, then using their telekinetic powers to make a climbing wall burst into flames. “I f y ou can stand up to really mean people,” an announcer intoned, “may be y ou hav e what it takes to be a princess.” Now here were some girls who had grit as well as grace. I lov ed Princess Peach ev en as I recognized that there was no way she could run in those heels, that her peachiness did nothing to upset the apple cart of ex pectation: she may hav e been athletic, smart and strong, but she was also adorable. May be she’s what those once- unisex , postfeminist parents are shooting for: the melding of old and new standards. And perhaps that’s a good thing, the ideal solution. But what to make, then, of the y oung women in the Girls I nc. surv ey ? I t doesn’t seem to be “hav ing it all” that’s getting to them; it’s the pressure to be it all. I n telling our girls they can be any thing, we hav e inadv ertently demanded that they be ev ery thing. T o ev ery one. All the time. No wonder the report was titled “T he Supergirl Dilemma.” T he princess as superhero is not irrelev ant. Some scholars I spoke with say that giv en its post9/ 1 1 timing, princess mania is a response to a newly dangerous world. “Historically , princess worship has emerged during periods of uncertainty and profound social change,” observ es Miriam Forman- Brunell, a historian at the Univ ersity of Missouri- Kansas City . Francis Hodgson Burnett’s original“Little Princess” was published at a time of rapid urbanization, immigration and pov erty ; Shirley T emple’s film v ersion was a hit during the Great Depression. “T he original folk tales themselv es,” Forman- Brunell say s, “spring from mediev al and early modern European culture that faced all kinds of economic and demographic and social upheav al — famine, war, disease, terror of wolv es. Girls play sav ior during times...
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