This is not a memoir, not a novel but pure non-fiction discussing the "pinking" of little girls in today's society. Being the mother of a 10-year-old girl, I was intrigued when I heard Orenstein and Diane Rehm discussing it on NPR. There was a time when children's television shows were not created just to sell toys to children. When I was a kid it was very hard to find a Sesame Street t-shirt, much less a stuffed toy - today you cannot throw a rock without hitting some merchandise targeted towards our kids.
Today pink = green (money) in the world of marketing. Princesses and everyday items tinted pink are pervading the psyche of the young girl. Orenstein queries what is actually wrong with the Cinderella image. Nothing at all if your goal is to be valued solely for your looks and to be rescued from a bad or poor existence by a handsome and wealthy guy. There can be no higher value in a princess than materialism. She also notes that princesses are not exactly the girl-bonding sort (check out any merchandise that features all of the princesses together - they are often back to back, none actually looking at another). There is very little room on a throne. This is not exactly the best way to win friends and influence people! Self-realization has been replaced by self-marketing.
Sometimes I felt the book was a bit heavy-handed, I mean - I want my daughter to chose pink if she likes it - but I also want her to be able to wear soccer shorts and Converse tennis shoes if that strikes her fancy (and it often does). Orenstein brings up many great points, especially points related to the marketing of things to young girls. It was enough information to keep me a little more vigilant about the movies, books, and TV that my daughter consumes - but it also allows me to have conversations with her about what it is she is watching and the impact it may have on her.
If you are the mother of a young girl - this is an extremely informative and eye-opening read. Check it out.