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Critique of “Cinderella and Princess Culture”

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As a contributing writer for the New York Times, Peggy Orenstein stresses in her article, Cinderella and Princess Culture, that the “princess craze” and “girlie-girl” culture is ruining young girls as they feel constantly pressured to be perfect. Orenstein also recognizes the fact that large companies like Disney are responsible for pushing the princess craze.

Peggy Orenstein elaborates on how the classic fairytale of Cinderella does indeed have a negative effect on girls. Orenstein clearly states and debates throughout her article that the “princess craze” is a world-wide phenomenon and is damaging young girls. The damage Orenstein is referring to is depression caused by girls feeling that they must fulfill the princess image, and when they do not, it makes them feel as if they are not good enough the way they are. Orenstein also goes as far to say that women who are “perpetually nice” are more likely to be depressed and less likely to use contraception.

In Orenstein’s article she notes the fact that Disney Executives claim “that the princess is on its way to becoming the largest girls’ franchise on the planet”. These large companies are dispensing the princess products essentially due to the fact that it sells. Andy Mooney, the man responsible for the princess franchise, started with princess costumes, than began to ask himself other questions to increase production. To summarize the questions, he basically asked himself what a princess would want to see around her room; bed sheets, telephones, televisions. Inevitably, Orenstein objected to the idea of this. But after Mooney stated: “I have friends whose son went through the Power Rangers phase who castigated themselves over what they must’ve done wrong. Then they talked to other parents whose kids had gone through it. The boy passes through. The girl passes through. I see girls expanding their imagination through visualizing themselves as princesses, and then they pass through that phase and end up becoming lawyers, doctors, mothers or princesses, whatever the case may be”, she understood that he had a point.

She recognized that there have been no studies placed to prove that playing princess directly alters girls’ self-esteem. Yet she does conclude by mentioning that there is evidence that girls with who have firm feminist beliefs are more likely to become depressed and are less likely to use contraception. Pretty hair, beautiful smile, astonishing dresses and jewelry, and of course, your unbelievably handsome Prince Charming. The picture perfect scenario broadcasted to us constantly as young children. Peggy Orenstein claims that it damages the self-esteem of girls, giving them the permanent burden of having to portray themselves as “perfect”. I disagree. There will always be a self-battle of achieving perfection. If it wasn’t princesses that we’d be compared to, it’d be something else. Overall, Peggy Orenstein is blaming princess play for problems that could have a serious of different causes. Girls aren’t putting on princess costumes because they want to hide themselves. They put them on so just for a few moments, they are a princess. Not necessarily are they Cinderella or Ariel, they are their own princess, with their own story, and with their own happy ending. Not only does dressing up as a princess expand their imagination immensely, but it also gives them those hopes, dreams, and goals. Three things that all children, boy or girl, should have.

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