Praise For ‘Cinderella Ate My Daughter’

“A must-read for any parent trying to stay sane in a media saturated world.”
—Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl

“At times this book brings tears to your eyes—tears of frustration with today’s girl-culture and also of relief because somebody finally gets it.”
—Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

“Every mother needs to read this.”
—Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother

more praise >

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Reviews & Press

for Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture


Here’s a 2014 interview I did on PBS News Hour:

Here’s a podcast of my 2012 KQED Forum appearance discussing the “ambition gap” along with the Simone Marean of Girls Leadership Institute and Jennifer Berger of About-Face.

Another 2012 podcast with the wonderful David Sirota on Denver’s 760 AM

And one from KUOW in Seattle.

And KBOO in Portland

Loved talking to Lydia Neufeld of Edmonton CBC’s Edmonton AM. Podcast

Talk about a thrill: I got to talk about CAMD in 2011 with Linda Wertheimer on NPR’S “All Things Considered.”

“Orenstein has done parents the great favor of having this important debate with herself on paper and in public; she has fashioned an argument with its seams showing and its pockets turned inside out, and this makes her book far more interesting, and more useful.” Annie Paul, The New York Times Book Review

“A teenager’s precocious vampiness may seem different from a preschooler’s innocent pink high heels and tiara, but Orenstein argues that both reflect a disturbing trend of self-objectification, a desire for beauty as defined by others, driven by a media and marketing machine that ‘tells girls that how you look is more important than how you feel.'”  Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe

“Orenstein is an unapologetically passionate critic of the marketing onslaught she skewers so stunningly in her latest and most masterful book.” Meredith Maran, San Francisco Chronicle

“Orenstein uses a friendly, deceptively informal approach to present a well-researched case against fairy-tale-style femininity….As a result, “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” is entertaining as well as useful, not only for parents of daughters. Christy DeSmith, Minneapolis Star/Tribune

“Orenstein is such a breezy, funny writer, it’s easy to forget she’s an important thinker too.” “People Pick”/Four Stars–People

MORE Magazine chooses CAMD as its first Book Club Pick:
“a sparkling and provocative look at the new ‘girlie girl’culture that has taken our daughters hostage.–Daphne Merkin, MORE, February 2011

New York Magazine “Approval Matrix” calls CAMD “brilliant/highbrow”

A feature in the Sunday Los Angeles Times “Calendar” section!

And a follow up in the Los Angeles Times online!

International press: The London Guardian’s Observer Magazine’s excerpt of CAMD

A featurette in the San Jose Mercury News

USA Today takes on marketers’ hyper-sexualization of girls (with a nice mention of CAMD)

Here’s a link to my appearance on “The Diane Rehm Show.”

And on KQED’s “Forum

And beforehand in the green room, caught on video:

And on KPCC’s “AirTalk.”

And KVON “Late Morning”

And on CNBC

Here are three segments from NBC’s “Today Show” from January 24. I was on with Ann Curry, then with Kathie Lee & Hoda and in between the two they did a “web exclusive” interview. It was NERVE WRACKING!
Ann Curry
Kathie Lee & Hoda
web exclusive.

An interview on the PBS show To the Contrary

And on Anderson Cooper (yes he really is charming)

And WLBZ in Portland, ME

And on WICN public radio in Worcester, MA

Here’s a YouTube video of a one-hour lunchtime discussion I did with Kaveri Subrahmanyan at Google Santa Monica

Whoa. made CAMD it’s #1 book pick for February!

And in October 2013 named CAMD one of its ten Books that Speak the Truth.

More from the Today Show’s web site quoting me on the tarting up of classic toys.

According to “Gawker”: “These days the way to judge someone’s buzz level has come down to one question: has he/she been animated by the Taiwanese company NMA yet?” Well, guess what?

“The cultural critic [that’s me!] looks at how beauty pageants, Disney princesses, and Miley Cyrus are shaping young minds. Hint: it isn’t pretty.”–“Titles to Pick Up Now,” O Magazine, February 2011

“They’re back! Peggy Orenstein reacts to her daughter’s embrace of the sinister Disney-princess agenda by reporting on how retro-feminist attitudes of the 50s are being hustled to innocent girls in the blood-chilling Cinderella Ate My Daughter–Hot Type,” Vanity Fair, February 2011

A Q&A from the Washington Post Express

This Forbes blog calls CAMD a “huge hit!”

A super generous write-up in the Houston Chronicle

Here’s a nice write up by Jessica Bennett from  Newsweek

Here’s a  Q&A with me in Mother Jones. Mike Mechanic (no relation to Bob the Builder) makes me sound really smart.

Here’s another Q&A, this one with the inimitable Pamela Paul in Parents. Love the art!

“…reading Cinderella feels like what I imagine it might be like sit at a cafe with Orenstein, whose writing style is engaging and conversational without being dumbed-down.”  Myla Goldberg,

A chat with Mary Beth Williams of Salon

A Q&A with Rachel Simmons, author of the brilliant classics The Curse of the Good Girl and Odd Girl Out and founder of Girls Leadership Institute.

A swell write up by Erin Zammett Ruddy from Parenting

Here’s a 2012 interview with Madeline Brand on PBS SoCal (LA)

A lovely Q&A with Parent Dish

From Tablet: A New Read on Jewish Life

And a Q&A with (Go girls in science!)

And on Make it Better

And on the Ladies Home Journal site

And another one from iVillage!

The feministing 5 and five questions from Shewrites

Some home town love: a Q&A in Berkeleyside

From my native Midwest, a nice write-up in Today’s Chicago Woman

The Santa Cruz Sentinel on princesses as a “gateway drug.”

And a radio interview with KUSP, the Santa Cruz NPR affiliate. (this link takes you to a book review and link to a pod cast)

Radio interview on “Healthy Media Choices.”

I love this review on the blog “A Design So Vast.”

Also this one on the blog “Sexyfeminist

And this one on 5minutesformom

Also this one from The New Perfect

And this one on Christianity Today’s “Her*Meneutics” blog

The Jewish Advocate’s piece was not chopped liver!

The women of Bookslut are my literary sheroes.

Strollerderby mentions CAMD in an excellent post on the Disney Priness Half-Marathan.

A thoughtful response from the Ms. Blog.

This review on the Canadian Blog helped me crystallize my own thinking further!

I love that Mommyish focused on the part that being anti-sexualization is actually being pro-sex.

“Orenstein’s Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap (1994) was a watershed best-seller, and she has continued to write extensively—both in print and online about the hazards of growing up female in contemporary America. Here she explores the increasing “pinkification” of girls’ worlds, from toys to apparel to tween-targeted websites, and she writes not only as a detached, informed journalist but also as a loving, feminist mother, bewildered as her daughter, “as if by osmosis,” learns the names of every Disney princess, while her classmate, “the one with Two Mommies,” arrives daily at her Berkeley preschool “dressed in a Cinderella gown. With a bridal veil.” Orenstein skillfully integrates extensive research that demonstrates the pitfalls of “the girlie-girl culture’s emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness,” which can increase girls’ vulnerability to depression, distorted body images and eating disorders, and sexual risks. It’s the personal anecdotes, though, which are delivered with wry, self-deprecating, highly quotable humor, that offer the greatest invitation to parents to consider their daughters’ worlds and how they can help to shape a healthier, soul-nurturing environment.”— Gillian Engberg, Booklist, January 2011

“In this witty, well-documented study, the author of Schoolgirls (1994) examines the not-so-innocent side of princess culture represented by Cinderella and her sister Disney royals. Orenstein looks at the way race-based images of idealized female beauty and behavior, themselves the product of aggressive and manipulative marketing campaigns, influence preteen girls. Before they reach kindergarten, female children have already been indoctrinated in the idea that how they look is more important than who they are. Foundations have been laid for the idea that prettiness—and a narcissistic concern with the external self—is the true path to empowerment. The main issue Orenstein addresses, however, is whether Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel and Belle (and their less popular, darker-skinned counterparts, Mulan and Pocahontas) protect young girls from early sexualization or prepare them to be consumers of clothes, grooming aids, toys, music and other forms of media that seem to celebrate underage sexuality. During the course of her research, Orenstein visited the Toy Fair (“the industry’s largest trade show”), specialty “girl” stores such as American Girl Palace, the Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant for preteen girls, a Miley Cyrus concert and social-networking sites such as Webkinz and Facebook. The author discovered that while girls have more role models than ever before to show them that they can become anything they wish, they are also under much greater pressure from an extraordinarily young age to prove their femininity. That Orenstein is the mother of a young, biracial daughter makes the narrative even more readable than her bestselling earlier writings on girlhood and self-esteem. Rather than writing as a concerned but detached observer, she approaches her subject as a parent seeking practical ways to negotiate a complex cultural landscape that has been as confusing for her as a mother and woman as it has been potentially damaging for the girl she is raising.

Intelligent and richly insightful.”— Kirkus (starred review)

“Orenstein, who has written about girls for nearly two decades (Schoolgirls), finds today’s pink and princess-obsessed girl culture grating when it threatens to lure her own young daughter, Daisy. In her quest to determine whether princess mania is merely a passing phase or a more sinister marketing plot with long-term negative impact, Orenstein travels to Disneyland, American Girl Place, the American International Toy Fair; visits a children’s beauty pageant; attends a Miley Cyrus concert; tools around the Internet; and interviews parents, historians, psychologists, marketers, and others. While she uncovers some disturbing news (such as the American Psychological Association’s assertion that the “girlie-girl” culture’s emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness can increase girls’ susceptibility to depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and risky sexual behavior), she also finds that locking one’s daughter away in a tower like a modern-day Rapunzel may not be necessary. Orenstein concludes that parents who think through their values early on and set reasonable limits, encourage dialogue and skepticism, and are canny about the consumer culture can combat the 24/7 “media machine” aimed at girls and hold off the focus on beauty, materialism, and the color pink somewhat. With insight and biting humor, the author explores her own conflicting feelings as a mother as she protects her offspring and probes the roots and tendrils of the girlie-girl movement. (Jan.)— Publisher’s Weekly


“Reading Cinderella is like hanging out with a straight-talking, hilarious friend; taking a fascinating seminar on 21st century girlhood; and discovering a compendium of wise (but never preachy) advice on raising girls. A must-read for any parent trying to stay sane in a media saturated world.”
— Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl

“Orenstein has played a defining role in giving voice to this generation of girls and women…. At times this book brings tears to your eyes—tears of frustration with today’s girl-culture and also of relief because somebody finally gets it—and is speaking out on behalf of our daughters.”
— Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

“I wish I’d had Peggy Orenstein’s thought-provoking, wise, and entertaining new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, to comfort me and to help me navigate the Pepto Bismol pink aisles of the toy store and the cotton candy pink channels of the TV dial. Every mother needs to read this.”
— Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother

“[Peggy Orenstein’s] addictively readable book manages, somehow, to be simultaneously warm and chilling.”
— Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women