I have been wanting to write a post about this book for a few days (since I finished reading it) but I just haven't had time to sit down and write what I really want to say. I have a post brewing about feminism (or post-feminism) and it's impact on the generation that came after... Needless to say, it would just take too much intellectual energy right now and that is energy that is in short supply. Some day, I will offend you with my opinions on all of that.
In the meantime, let me say, this is a book worth reading. I have very mixed feelings about the princess culture that has emerged and the desire of certain little girls to live in pink (and, as you can see from the photos around here, my daughter is definitely a princess-in-training). More significantly for me, I am profoundly uncomfortable with Disney and other corporations trying to mould my daughter into the perfect consumer. I wasn't sure I was going to like this book, as I don't feel comfortable with the message that girls should avoid all of this and that they should all be dressed like little androgonous robots and that they should be forced to be "tough" but I felt that Peggy Orenstein managed to achieve superb balance. She highlighted the dangers of total acceptance of this culture as being unavoidable and natural while also acknowledging that girls do have a natural bent towards certain things (and in degrees, not all girls embrace this to the same degree).
I loved this quote from page 183 "Meanwhile, the notion that we parents are sold, that our children are "growing up faster" than previous generations, that they are more mature and sophisticated in their tastes, more savvy in their consumption and there is nothing we can (or need) to do about it is - what is the technical term again?- oh yes: a load of crap. Today's three-year-olds are no better than their predecessors at recognizing when their desires are manipulated by grown-ups. Today's six-year olds don't get the subtext of their sexy pirate costumes. Today's eight-year-olds don't understand that ads are designed to sell them something."
I'll try to have something more intelligent to say on the book in a few days but seriously, if you are raising girls and care about the message that you give them about their value, this is worth a look.