Monday, January 31, 2011

NY Times Book Review: CINDERELLA ATE MY DAUGHTER

CINDERELLA ATE MY DAUGHTER
Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
By Peggy Orenstein

 
Is Pink Necessary?
By ANNIE MURPHY PAUL  Published: January 21, 2011
 
The "princess phase." So inevitable is this period in the maturation of girls today that it should qualify as an official developmental stage, worthy of an entry in Leach or Brazelton: first crawling, then walking, then the urgent desire to wear something pink and spark­ly. Whether we smile indulgently or roll our eyes at the drifts of tulle and chiffon that begin accumulating in our daughters' rooms around age 4, participation in these royal rituals has come to seem necessary, even natural.
 
Yet the princess phase, at least in its current hyper-feminine and highly commercial form, is anything but natural, or so Peggy Orenstein argues in "Cinderella Ate My Daughter." As she tells the story, in 2000 a Disney executive named Andy Mooney went to check out a "Disney on Ice" show and found himself "surrounded by little girls in princess costumes. Princess costumes that were — horrors! — homemade. How had such a massive branding opportunity been overlooked? The very next day he called together his team and they began working on what would become known in-house as 'Princess.' " Mooney's revelation yielded a bonanza for the company. There are now more than 26,000 Disney Princess items on the market; in 2009, Princess products generated sales of $4 billion.
 
Disney didn't have the tiara market to itself for long. Orenstein takes us on a tour of the princess industrial complex, its practices as coolly calculating as its products are soft and fluffy. She describes a toy fair, held at the Javits Center in New York, at which the merchandise for girls seems to come in only one color: pink jewelry boxes, pink vanity mirrors, pink telephones, pink hair dryers, pink fur stoles. "Is all this pink really necessary?" Orenstein finally asks a sales rep.
 
"Only if you want to make money," he replies.
 
 
full @ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/books/review/Paul-t.html

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