Way back in September 2009, The Sticky Egg posed the question:
Do little girls really love pink?
Or are pink — and purple, too — foisted upon girls from birth by a conspiracy of retailers?
I didn’t have the answer then, and I don’t now. But I have found a book that attempts to shed some light on the subject.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, by Peggy Orenstein, the author of Schoolgirls, looks at the ‘dark side of pretty in pink.’
The author has a young daughter herself, so she didn’t depend on numbers or academia to support her hypothesis. She hit the streets, visiting Disneyland, the international toy fair, American Girl Place, Pottery Barn Kids, and kiddie beauty pageants. She examined everything from science to the original fairy tales.
Some of her findings are disturbing. For example, the American Psychological Association asserts that the “girlie-girl” culture — with its emphasis on beauty and little girl sexiness — can make girls more susceptible to depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and risky sexual behavior.
Puts a lot of pressure on the princesses, doesn’t it?
But Orenstein also concludes that hiding our little girls away and dressing them in shades of gray isn’t the answer, either. Parents can fight the ‘media machine’ the old-fashioned way.
Be clear on your own values. Set reasonable limits. Encourage discussion with and skepticism in your children, especially when the focus is on beauty. And limit the color pink.
(Okay. That last one is mine.)