“What’s Wrong with Cinderella” by Peggy Orenstein

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Nothing wrong with Cinderella In “What’s Wrong with Cinderella”, the writer raised various issues and concerns regarding the physical and mental impact brought upon the younger generations by princess-themed toys. The writer, Peggy Orenstein, is a self-proclaimed feminist who writes for New York Times and many other prominent publications. The writer claims that the princess-themed commercial products have distressing effects in shaping young female generations’ outlooks as well as their personalities.

However, in my opinion, the reality is not as worrying as she claims. These princess-themed products are merely the young generations’ domestic playmates at the very young age. As the children grow older and become more involved with their social environment, their interests shift quickly and generally such playmates are left behind and no long have a significant role in their lives, that is, if they ever had an important role at all. Thus, I find the issues raised in this article generally irrelevant in today’s world context and instead, the child’s family and social environment should play a much more significant role in their lives. Social, school and peer environments are the main factors contributing to the development of females’ personalities and outlooks. As compared to these factors, the effects of princess-themed products seem to be insignificant.

Even the writer herself ponders: “Or maybe it is even less complex than that: to mangle Freud, maybe a princess is sometimes just a princess”(para. 1) . By experience, almost everyone had their toys in some form at the very young age. However, few, if at all, still keep their toys as they reach young adulthood. (except for professional and recreational toy collectors and traders) The child becomes preoccupied with school, their peers and family matters. Their school and peer environments are the deciding factors to their outlooks and characters at this stage. As mentioned in the text “in a survey released last October by Girls Inc. school-age girls overwhelmingly reported a paralyzing pressure to be ‘perfect’: not only to get straight A’s and be the student-body president, editor of the newspaper and captain of the swim team but also to be ‘kind and caring,’”(para, 19) Such trend among the school-aged children is definitely not a result of the princess-themed product they played with when they were younger. There is no clear link between being a princess and a newspaper editor or captain of the swim team. Obviously, the school culture and peer pressure are the more important factors which made young females aspire such positions.

One might argue that this is the result of playing with princess toys because they taught the children to be “kind and caring” just like a princess. In my opinion, the toys themselves do not have any personalities. They are just toys. However, they are associated with characters depicted in Disney fairytales who do have various feminine traits. If we were to question why young females aspire to be “kind and caring”, credit goes to the characters in the Disney movies and books, but not the toys themselves. In addition, according to studies, individuals are characterized by their personalities which develop over life span under influence of both intrinsic factors such as biological drives and extrinsic factors such as the several components of environment, society and family. As compared to the impact other factors brought upon the child’s character development, princess toys, seem to be insignificant.

Young females’ pursuit of their careers and dreams are influenced largely by their families, schools and peers. The princess-themed products do not seem to influence young females’ aspirations and careers ambitions in the long run. Like what Mooney commented in the source: “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. ” (para. 18) The reality is, in today’s world where women are independent and educated, there are few, if at all, princesses. Clearly the princess-themed toys have not been much of an obstacle in young females’ road of success. As the children grow up, their interests generally shift quickly from playing with simple toys to more complex activities which requires more interactions with their families, peers and the society in general. During such activities they learn and become fascinated with new things and their aspirations for certain careers are triggered. The princess-themed toys are often left behind in a corner. It’s obvious the toys have little influence on young females’ pursuit of careers.

The writer raised an issue regarding the princess-themed stored targeted specifically at the young females. Although, in my opinion, most of the writer’s concerns are irrelevant in today’s world, I find this issue alarmingly worthy of discussion. In the midst of the princess products competitions, Club Libby Lu’s marketing schemes immediately captured the young female customers. The influence, however, are negative on the young females. As mentioned in the article, the product being marketed “makes them look like little prostitutes. ” ( para. 46) However, this issue has more relevance to the marketer’s business ethics and strategies rather than princess-themed product itself, which is not within the scope of the discussion in this article. The article has raise interesting concerns and issues, although, in my opinion, many are of no relevance to the reality in today’s world. I believe, the writer is not unaware of this herself, as she has raised rhetorical questions many times throughout the whole article. As a feminist and mother, the writer could be merely expressing her nostalgic feelings and concerns for her child’s growth as a mother through this article. In conclusion, princess-themed products do not have significant influence on young female generations and they are mere toys that have little impact on females’ pursuit of career. Nothing is wrong with Cinderella. Let toys just be toys. It is like what the writer’s daughter said at the end of the article “but when I grow up, I am still going to be a fireman. ” ( para. 55)

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“What’s Wrong with Cinderella” by Peggy Orenstein. (2017, Sep 25). Retrieved April 18, 2024 , from

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