Thank you Peggy Orenstein for writing the brilliant book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Every parent should read this new, excellent analysis of the ubiquitous princess kid-culture and its various mutations in the world of grown-up women.
Orenstein, a NY Times journalist, mom, and writer takes on and deconstructs two (so annoying!) messages every parent hears if she dares to challenge the monarchy of these frothy creatures.
Myth number one: we’re just giving girls what they want!
Orenstein responds with a brief history of marketing and information on child brain development– some major points paraphrased here:
Pink Children were not color-coded until early twentieth century. Before that, babies wore all white, because to get clothing clean, it had to be boiled. Boys and girls also used to all wear dresses. When nursery colors were introduced, pink was more masculine, a pastel version of the red, which was associated with strength. Blue was like the Virgin Mary and symbolized innocence, thus the girl color. When the color switched is vague. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland all wear blue. Sleeping Beauty’s gown was switched to pink to differentiate her from Cinderella.
Originally from Feministing.com’s January 3rd “What We Missed”
“One New Yorker subscriber is demanding her money back after a recent edition of the magazine only included two bylines by women, out of 76 pages of content. She plans to return every edition of the magazine that contains fewer than 5 female writers.”
by Lisa Hix, Woodhull Alumna
Originally posted to Yahoo! 2010 Year In Review Blog on December 17th.
Suddenly, spies were all around us, in film, on television, and — notably — in the news. In November, WikiLeaks created a political firestorm, releasing 250,000 classified documents that indicate U.S. diplomats performed low-level spying. Earlier that month, director Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” a fictionalized take on the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, hit the theaters, prompting a heated political debate. In December, alleged sleeper agent Katia Zatuliveter, who worked as an aide for a member of the British parliament, faced deportation to Russia — the latest in a line of so-called “sexy Russian spies” to raise the pulse of reporters and readers in 2010.
The news stories contain a certain amount of schadenfreude. After all, what could be more humiliating for a spy than having her cover blown? But the flurry of TV and film counterparts, possessing both sexual and martial powers, has glamorized real-life failed spies — even when they’re spying for the other side. Here’s a look at the ladies who led us astray this year.
by Donna Decker, Woodhull Alumna
Originally posted to Ms. Magazine Blog on December 6th.
On December 6, 1989, 21 years ago today, 25-year-old Marc Lépine entered the University of Montreal engineering school, École Polytechnique, with a Sturm and Ruger mini 14 concealed in a plastic garbage bag. Days earlier, he had visited his mother and given her a birthday gift: Joyful, an album of piano music by two Christian brothers, the Bowkers. He knew he would never see her again.
Lépine had applied to École Polytechnique twice, been rejected both times, and had visited the campus on at least seven prior occasions. But this time was no rehearsal. Lépine unveiled the semi-automatic and headed toward classroom C-230, where graduate-level mechanical engineering courses were taught.
In classroom C-230, students and the professor turned to stare at Lépine when he entered. Listen up, he told them. Women to one side of the room, men get out. No one moved until Lépine fired into the ceiling. Then the men left the room. Alone with nine women, Lépine said, “I am here to fight against feminism. That is why I am here.”
Not sure what to do next with your life?
Maybe you’re just a bit unsatisfied overall but can’t exactly pinpoint what it is….
Our Visioning Workshop can help you sort it all out!
If you are looking for both answers and results to help figure out where you are right now in your life and where you want to go next, this could be thing exact thing you need to push you forward and take you there!
(This post first appeared on my blog ReelGirl which rates kids’ media and products on girl empowerment)
At first it seems like possible good news. Disney/ Pixar announces: no more fairy tales, code for princess movies. Great! No more damsels in distress who end the movie by landing a man. Now we’re going to have a slew of new movies with cool girl heroes who bravely rescue boys from peril, exuding power and beauty by performing all kinds of risk-taking tasks and challenges.
First of all, the reason the fairy tale movies are stopping is because Disney/ Pixar executives have decided that little girls aren’t worth making movies for at all.
The LA Times reports the fairy tale movies “appealed to too narrow an audience: little girls. This prompted the studio to change the name of its Rapunzel movie to the gender-neutral ‘Tangled’ and shift the lens of its marketing to the film’s swashbuckling male costar, Flynn Rider.”
Volunteer Party & Gift Wrapping Night
Tuesday, Decmeber 14th, 6 PM
The Service Fund’s Annual Holiday Gift Drive provides a brighter holiday season for young women (ages 12-17) facing violence in their lives – many of whom live in local shelters or transitional housing in the NYC area.
Three ways to participate in the Gift Drive:
1) Purchase or bring like-new items to the office for donation (you can also donate cash – as we try to buy the girls each a $10 gift card every year).
**Drop off hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm, at our location (150 West 28th Street, Suite 304 @ 7th Ave) between November 29th and December 14th
Click Continue for more ways to participate!
One night this past summer, my friend Elisa saw something that shocked her. She told me she was at a bar when two women got into an argument and began yelling at each other as if they were children. The way the conflict ended? One woman threw her drink at the other woman.
“Can you believe that?” Elisa exclaimed. “I don’t think those women would have acted like that if it weren’t for reality TV. People are seeing this stuff on TV and thinking that’s an appropriate way to act!”
Over the last few years, I’ve had several conversations with friends about how damaging reality TV can be, but I lacked the information to make a strong case against it. That’s why I’m so excited about Jennifer L. Pozner’s new book Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV. Pozner spent hours upon hours watching and transcribing shows like The Bachelor, America’s Next Top Model, Flavor of Love, and Wife Swap to identify the media messages found in these popular, widely-watched programs.
Woodhull Board Member Erica Jong wonders about motherhood as a prison for modern women in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal:
“Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you know that we have endured an orgy of motherphilia for at least the last two decades. Movie stars proudly display their baby bumps, and the shiny magazines at the checkout counter never tire of describing the joys of celebrity parenthood. Bearing and rearing children has come to be seen as life’s greatest good. Never mind that there are now enough abandoned children on the planet to make breeding unnecessary. Professional narcissists like Angelina Jolie and Madonna want their own little replicas in addition to the African and Asian children that they collect to advertise their open-mindedness. Nannies are seldom photographed in these carefully arranged family scenes. We are to assume that all this baby-minding is painless, easy and cheap.”
(Article is available online without a subscription to the WSJ until November 13th, 2010)