Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Review and Giveaway

by 5 Minutes for Books

This week’s review and giveaway is written by 5 Minutes for Books staff reviewer Dawn.

Just like a moth to the streetlight, the cover of the book I was reading caught my daughter’s attention, and she was immediately lured in. The overwhelming pinkness, the wand in the little girl’s hand, and the actual glitter shimmering away on the cover instigated a high-pitched squeal of “Awwww! Your book is SOOOOO pretty!”

Oh, the irony.

In case you haven’t heard, Peggy Orenstein’s book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter is the new “it” parenting book, sparking stories and conversations from NPR to my local playground. Orenstein delves into the myriad of factors that have helped to create the current “girlie-girl culture” in which we parents find ourselves raising our daughters. Media and marketing moves that influence what our children are exposed to are explored, and Orenstein not only acts as a journalist who helps to unveil the facts, but also as a mother who is trying to find an comfortable (or least uncomfortable) path to navigate through this culture with her own daughter.

As I read this book- I should say devoured- I found that I couldn’t put my highlighter and pencil down, because my mind was exploding with reactions that needed to be recorded. (As a result, my copy has an entire volume of my own words in the margins. A bonus I figure, for anyone to whom I loan it.) In addition to being thought-provoking, Orenstein’s writing is professional but personal, factual yet comfortable to read. By the end of the book I felt like she was someone I’d love to chat with in the elementary school parking lot at pickup time. Orenstein doesn’t present herself as a having all the answers, but she does a fabulous job posing the questions that are worthy of our own individual considerations.

Of all the specific passages from the book that make incredible “sound bites” worth noting, this one is undoubtedly my favorite:

It would be disingenuous to claim that Disney Princess diapers or Ty Girlz or Hannah Montana or Twilight or the latest Shakira video or a Facebook account is inherently harmful. Each is, however, a cog in the round-the-clock, all-pervasive media machine aimed at our daughters– and at us– from womb to tomb; one that, again and again, presents femininity as performance, sexuality as performance, identity as performance, and each of those traits as available for a price. It tells girls that how you look is more important than how you feel. More than that, it tells them that how you look is how you feel, as well as who you are. 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 that there is nothing we can (or need) do about it is– what is the technical term again?– oh yes: a load of crap.

Seriously, how can you resist someone who penned that brilliance?

Cinderella Ate My Daughter is a must read book for any parent of a daughter, and is the latest entry on our 5 Star Reads list. Orenstein articulately voices the universal hopes parents have for their little girls, and she presents the wide variety of factors that challenge our girls’ healthy development. Regardless of whether or not you already have a solid pro or con position on the “princessy world” our girls are growing up in, this is a book worth reading.

We have three copies of Cinderella Ate My Daughter to give away! Leave one comment here to be entered, U.S. residents only, please. We’ll announce the winners on March 7.

Like books? Check out our current giveaways. Subscribe to our feed. Follow us @5M4B on Twitter.

5 Minutes for Books staff reviewer Dawn’s own four year old daughter is probably wearing all pink at this very moment, inspiring her very non-girlie-girl mother to shake her head in wonder. Parenting, books and lots of other randomness make up her blog, my thoughts exactly.



Email Author    |    Website About 5 Minutes for Books

5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer H February 21, 2011 at 2:18 am

Even if I don’t win this book I am going to go out and purchase it. Can’t wait to read it.

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2 Kimberly February 21, 2011 at 2:31 am

I would love to read this book. Orenstein was part of my “Gender in Education” curriculum in grad school. Now that I have a two year old daughter, I’d love to read Orwnstein’s thoughts on the princess culture that seems to pervade most preschool girls’s years.

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3 Rachel M February 21, 2011 at 7:20 am

This book sounds so interesting! I will definitely go out and purchase if I don’t win!

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4 Kristie February 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

This sounds like something I’d definitely be interested in reading having a 4 year old girl. Thank you for the chance to win!

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5 Jena February 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

I would LOVe this book. I have three daughters and think I really need this!

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6 Tonya February 21, 2011 at 9:14 am

I heard an interview with the author on NPR recently and would love to read this book — esp. since my 6 year old is enthralled with all things princess!

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7 MIndi February 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

I’ll comment because I am curious enough to read the book, would love to win it:)
I’m not sure I buy it just yet and my skepticism is, again, part of the reason I want to read it. I don’t deny that there is a princess culture (even an entitlement culture which irks me even more) but, here is the rub for me, why is it a crime for little girls to like sparkly things? I ask this because, I love sparkly things and I grew up about as far from a girlie culture as you can get. Two brothers, a neighborhood full of boys, no playgrounds- just woods but wow was I enchanted when I would find geodes in the forest. Anyone who teaches with me knows I put glitter in everythng. I’m wearing sparkly nail polish as I write this. I hope this is addressed in the book and I want to know more. I want to compare this too our fear of violent crimes- is there really a surge? Or are we just more aware of crime because of the Internet, constant news, papers, list serves? Is this really different from ads in the back of comic books back in the fifties? So many questions:)

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8 morninglightmama February 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hey Mindi- thanks for your comment, I appreciate your questions! I think you’ll be pleased to find that Orenstein does not demonize these types of interest that you mention, at all, but she’s more focused on what is represented by the products and media that’s marketed toward children… I’d love to know what you think if you do read the book!

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9 morninglightmama February 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Oh, I should have signed my comment– this is Dawn, the 5M4B reviewer who wrote this review! Thanks again!

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10 Dara February 21, 2011 at 9:34 am

This book in on my MUST READ list as I am getting ready to bring a daughter into the world…and because I diligently returned/exchanged every item of clothing she got with the word “Princess” on it.

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11 MaryBeth February 21, 2011 at 9:39 am

As a mother of 4 little girls I suppose this book is a must read.

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12 Alison S. February 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

We’re expecting our second child. If it’s a girl, I would love this book for myself, if not, I would love to pass it on to my sister in law for her daughter.

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13 monica February 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

hope I win!

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14 Lisa Brown February 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

This book sounds like just what I need! I have a 2-year-old boy, and am expecting a little girl in June. This book couldn’t have come at a better time! :)

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15 Holly February 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I would love to read this one.

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16 Jessica February 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Oooh, please pick me, lords of fate!

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17 Daniel M February 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

bet my niece would like it

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18 Tracy Robertson February 21, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I have recently heard of this book before and it sounds so interesting! I would love to read it and learn more about the princess culture that claiming all women, from our daughters to our mothers.

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19 JoannaTopazT February 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I have a daughter who is fully embracing the princess phase and would love to win this book.

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20 carole February 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm

would love to read this
carole
gram122@comcast.net

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21 Barbara Manatee February 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm

sounds like an interesting read! My daughter is 4 and quite the girly girl already, despite having 2 brothers!

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22 Funkidivagirl February 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I have this book on my “to read” list already; I would love to win a copy!

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23 Carrie at In the Hammock Blog February 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I am so interested in reading this one! Thanks so much for the contest!!

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24 Katrina - February 22, 2011 at 1:24 am

This sounds like a must read!

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25 Terra Heck February 22, 2011 at 4:45 am

I’d like to read this book. Thanks.
partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

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26 Vilmarys February 22, 2011 at 8:35 am

I would love to win this! Thanks :)

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27 betty February 22, 2011 at 9:58 am

would love to win the book

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28 Idaho Jill February 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

I have an almost 4 year old daughter – I would love to read this, thanks!

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29 Staci A February 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

It sounds like a fabulous book! I would love to read it!

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30 Vickie Couturier February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I have 4 daughters an 3 grandaughters so this would be very welcomed book here

vlbelk(at)hotmail.com

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31 Jessica T February 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

This is my life! Please!

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32 Deborah February 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I don’t mean to be offensive but I really like “dress up” and don’t want to tell a kid what they should “dress up” as.

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33 morninglightmama February 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Deborah, I don’t think you’re being offensive at all, and honestly, that’s not the message Orenstein is giving with her book, whatsoever. If anything, it’s the companies making some great money off the huge number of dress up products on the market that are making the decisions for girls. If left to her own devices, my own daughter is thrilled to dress up in “non-licensed-character” fancy clothes than the $25 Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty dress we could buy at Target. :)

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34 Dorothy February 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

This books sounds fascinating. The more I hear about it, the more I want to read it.

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35 Linda Kish February 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Sounds like an interesting book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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36 Mandy February 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I want this book so badly!! :)

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37 Jill February 23, 2011 at 1:04 am

I would LOVE this book!!!

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38 Lina Diaz February 23, 2011 at 2:04 am

I first learned about Orenstein and her book when I read an interview on parents magazine and got to say it made me so happy to finally find someone that agreed with me about the pink/girlie-girl/princess fad that is affecting little girls nowdays. I have a 4 month old daughter and during my whole pregnancy I pretty much had to ask everyone around me to keep the princess title and wardrobe away from my unborn baby, and usually the response was like saying “you’re not normal”. the battle still continues, and is getting harder, so I definitely need to read this book asap to add some more powerful points to my ongoing battle. Lol

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39 Lina Diaz February 23, 2011 at 6:01 am

Ohh! And by the way I forgot to say to Dawn that I wish the giveaway book was her own copy so I could have the extra bonus of all her side notes! ;)

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40 morninglightmama February 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

HA! Well, Lina, a friend has my copy right now, and she was already giggling when I passed it to her, because it seemed like many a highlighter went to an early demise in the reading of the book! :)
-Dawn, 5M4B

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41 Natalia February 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I would like to win this book

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42 LaVonne
Twitter:
February 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I just read about this book in a magazine and thought it looked good. Thanks for sharing more.

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43 Tracey February 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

As the mom of 2 girls, I would love to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

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44 Peggy February 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I have the book, loved it and have been recommending it to everyone… my copy has a waiting list! If i win a book, I’ll give it to one of my friends to read and pass on as well. :-)

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45 morninglightmama February 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

That’s awesome, Peggy, and something I absolutely understand, too! I’m happy that a couple friends have also decided to purchase their own copies, and another did for the parent library in the school where she works!

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46 debbie February 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

I would like to read the book, it sounds interesting.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

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47 Heather February 26, 2011 at 1:26 am

I only wish there were books like this when my oldest daughter was born. My youngest daughter is so caught up with names mentioned, it drives me crazy. I really want to read this one; I can only imagine how hilarious it is.

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48 Tina February 27, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Have 7 granddaughters so this would be great!

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49 MotherReader February 28, 2011 at 12:11 am

Sounds like a fantastic book – esp for a mother of two girls.

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50 Storied Cities February 28, 2011 at 6:05 am

I have two sons, but I still really want to read this book!

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51 Just Mom February 28, 2011 at 7:09 am

Yoru daughetr’s remark and your reaction made me laugh – what a great starter! please enter me for a copy.

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52 Julie P. February 28, 2011 at 7:57 am

I’d love to read this one! I am the mom of a daughter who loved all things girly!

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53 Amy February 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

Sounds like a good book – thanks for offering these copies!

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54 Annette W February 28, 2011 at 9:43 am

I read about this book in a magazine article and have been interested. Thanks for the chance to win!

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55 jamie February 28, 2011 at 9:47 am

Looks like a great read

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56 Jennifer Orozco February 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I have four daughters. I seriously need this one.

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57 Shannon February 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I’ve heard so many good things about this much-needed book! I’d love a copy!

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58 Tammy Gordon February 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Would love to win this!

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59 Jilleen H February 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I would LOVE to read this book. I have heard so much about it and I have twin daughters….this is on my wish list! Thanks so much for the opportunity to win this great book.

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60 Carolyn February 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I’d love to read this both for my daughter and my students.

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61 Linda Kish February 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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62 Danica March 1, 2011 at 8:36 am

Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

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63 Amy March 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I need to read this!

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64 Beth C March 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I’d love to read this book. Thanks!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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65 Maureen March 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Would love to win this book – it sounds like an interesting read.

Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

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66 Nichole March 1, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Wow, this book sounds amazing. I love the quote on your review.

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67 Linda Henderson March 2, 2011 at 1:03 am

I would love to read this one, thanks for the giveaway.

seriousreader at live dot com

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68 erin March 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Single mother of 2 girls . . . would love to read this book!

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69 katklaw777 March 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Looks like a fun read…thanks.

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70 Dean March 2, 2011 at 9:51 pm

This page iswhere I got the most useful info for my information gathering. nice one for leaving, maybe we can see more on this. Are you aware of any other websites on this subject?

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71 Christine J March 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm

That is a great excerpt. Totally want the book now! :)

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72 Krystal March 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I’ve heard about this book, and definitely want to read it. I have a three year old daughter.

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73 Katy F. March 6, 2011 at 1:06 am

Sounds really interesting! Please throw my name in the hat!

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74 debi March 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Sounds great..I’d love it!

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75 Megan Earley March 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm

This looks like such a great book! I’d love to win!

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76 Missi March 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I am going through my mother-in-laws’s favorite sites on her computer today and came across this site. (she died Nov. 11 of liver cancer at 55) She was my best friend and was like-minded as we discussed raising my 3 little girls, her granddaughters, overwhelmed by media’s influence on their feminity. I am about to teach some mom’s of daughters through a series of raising our daughters and this looks like and excellent resource! I’m so thankful that, even though she’s gone, she left me with this invaluable resource :-)

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77 5 Minutes for Books March 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Missi–What a beautiful story. I’m proud to say that you are one of our winners. You should have a message from me asking for your shipping info.

I hope that this book will remind you of her.

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78 Emily March 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

This book sounds great!

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79 Sandra March 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

I found Peggy Orenstein’s book as I was gathering materials to write a research paper on the impact that classic fairy tales have on children, especially our girls. I had finished reading the chapter all about PINK late one evening when I decided to turn in for the night. The very next day as I sat before my 21 first graders ready to start the school day I noticed that all, yes all of my girls were dressed in pink… too funny! Everyone who has a child’s best interest and emotional well-being at heart needs to read this book.

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