Orenstein.What’s Wrong With Cinderella

Last winter the first chapter book designed to

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Unformatted text preview: iffe said. “I ’d nev er heard of it. So I said they could, but they ’d hav e to spend their own money if they bought any thing.” She looked around. “Some of this stuff is innocuous,” she observ ed, then leaned toward me, ey es wide and stage- whispered: “But ... a lot of it is horrible. I t makes them look like little prostitutes. I t’s crazy . T hey ’re babies!” As we debated the line between friv olous fun and JonBenét, McAuliffe’s daughter Rory came dashing up, pigtails haphazard, glasses askew. “T hey hav e the best pocketbooks here,” she said breathlessly , brandishing a clutch with the words “Girlie Girl” stamped on it. “Please, can I hav e one? I t has sequins!” “Y ou see that?” McAuliffe asked, gesturing at the bag. “What am I supposed to say ?” On my way out of the mall, I popped into the “ ’tween” mecca Hot T opic, where a display of T inker Bell items caught my ey e. T inker Bell, whose image racks up an annual $400 million in retail sales with no particular effort on Disney ’s part, is poised to wreak v engeance on the Princess line that once ex pelled her. Last winter, the first chapter book designed to introduce girls to T ink and her Pix ie Hollow pals spent 1 8 weeks on T he New Y ork T imes children’s bestseller list. I n a direct- to- DVD now under production, she will speak for the first time, v oiced by the actress Brittany Murphy . Nex t y ear, Disney Fairies will be rolled out in earnest. Aimed at 6- to 9- y ear- old girls, the line will catch them just as they outgrow Princess. T heir colors will be lav ender, green, turquoise — any thing but the Princess’s soon- to- be- baby ish pink. T o appeal to that older child, Disney ex ecutiv es said, the Fairies will hav e more “attitude” and “sass” than the Princesses. What, I wondered, did that entail? I ’d seen some of the T inker Bell merchandise that Disney sells at its theme parks: T - shirts reading, “Spoiled to Perfection,” “Mood Subject to Change Without Notice” and “T inker Bell: Prettier T han a Princess.” At Hot T opic, that edge was ev en sharper: magnets, clocks, light- switch plates and panties featured “Dark T ink,” described as “the bad girl side of Miss Bell that Walt nev er saw.” Girl power, indeed. A few day s later, I picked my daughter up from preschool. She came tearing ov er in a fullskirted frock with a gold bodice, a beaded crown perched sideway s on her head. “Look, Mommy , I ’m Ariel!” she crowed. referring to Disney ’s Little Mermaid. T hen she stopped and furrowed her brow. “Mommy , do y ou like Ariel?” I considered her for a moment. May be Princess is the first salv o in what will become a lifelong struggle ov er her body image, a Hundred Y ears’ War of dieting, plucking, painting and perpetual dissatisfaction with the results. Or may be it isn’t. I ’ll nev er really know. I n the end, it’s not the Princesses that really bother me any way . T hey ’re just a trigger for the bigger question of how, ov er the y ears, I can help my daughter with the contradictions she will inev itably face as a girl, the dissonance that is as endemic as ev er to growing up female. May be the best I can hope for is that her generation will get a little further with the solutions than we did. For now, I kneeled down on the floor and gav e my daughter a hug. She smiled happily . “But, Mommy ?” she added. “When I grow up, I ’m still going to be a fireman.” Peggy O renstein is a contributing writer for th e m agazine. Her book “Waiting for Daisy : A Tale of Two Continents, Th ree R eligions, Five I nfertility Doctors, An O scar, An Atom ic Bom b, A R om antic N igh t and O ne Wom an’s Q uest to Becom e a Moth er” will be publish ed in February by Bloom sbury ....
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This document was uploaded on 02/17/2014 for the course ENG 101 at Roosevelt.

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