I was listening to a rebroadcast of The Diane Rehm Show yesterday on NPR. Diane's guest was Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, an interesting indictment on mass marketing and its effect on young girls.
Has "Princess Mania" gotten out of hand? And what effect does it have on a young girl's identity? Is mass marketing pushing our children to grow up even faster that it had a few years ago? Does the heavy corporate effort of merchandising push young girls to a false sense of maturity? Has childhood been coopted by the almighty dollar?
Probably, yes. It does seem, though, that everything has sped up from when my daughters were young. There is a fast track from Princess to Bratz to a push to early sexuality. I watched some sort of dance contest show on television this past week which had a young girl, probably ten or eleven, do a routine that seemed entirely inappropriate for a girl that age. Her costume was just as inappropriate. I have steadfastly avoided Toddlers and Tiaras, which -- despite what organizers of such contests claim -- surely attracts pedophiles.
Both boys and girls are targeted by such marketing and merchandising, but it seem to me that girls are more directly targeted. It's a mixture of greed, sexism and misogyny.
Or am I just an old fart who doesn't want to move with the times?