Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Talking Post #3

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

According to Wikipedia, gender neutrality "describes the idea that language and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing people by their gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than the other."

Peggy Orenstein argues that our society has used toys as a way to separate girls and boys and in a way teach them gender roles and she also discusses the impact that Barbie dolls and other toys for girls have on body image for these young girls and the message that it is sending out to them.

Orenstein's main arguement was how gender roles is so deeply enforced in children toys, lifestyles and just about anything. A girl can be praised by telling her "You look so pretty, you look beautiful." while we tell a boy "you're so smart." It's as if we are telling the young girls that appearance is what is most important. At a young age, kids develop gender roles because it's all around them since they're born; girls have pink rooms filled with dolls, pretend homes and are generally clean while a boy's room is blue filled with cars, video games, sports paraphernalia and is usually messy. This video is an interview with 4 kids where they are asked questions like who cleans the house, who takes care of the baby and who works. The kids said that the mom cleans and takes care of the children while the dad works, the whole breadwinner idea is already implanted into their heads at such a young age because that is what they see at home and in the media. Orenstein argues that the stories that children read promotes that man are supposed to take care of you while you stay at home and be a "princess" which is wrong because Orenstein doesn't want the girls to depend on anyone. 
Orenstein then goes on to talk about her experience at the Toy Fair when she went to the Fisher- Price showroom where she seen first hand how divided the toys were, the girls section was decorated with a banner saying "BEAUTIFUL, PRETTY, COLORFUL" while the boy's section had a banner saying "ENERGY, HEROES, POWER." It encourages boys to create things while girl toys do doll's hair, style dolls, bake, and play with doll babies. This video goes over ads on tv for children's toys and how "gender role-ized" it is (I know that's not a word, lol just sounded right). The video like Orenstein talks about how toys tell kids the different roles that boys and girls have to fulfill.

Another one of Orenstein's arguement was that Barbie and the Disney princesses give young girls the impression that they need to be perfect and when they are perfect their lives will be perfect. 
In this video the narrator discusses how Barbie was always a very sexy doll how she was unrealistic. With so many young girls looking up to Barbie, how could you have something that isn't even possible. Orenstein doesn't deny that Barbie does connect parents to their children because it was something that was passed down from generation to generation. But then parents introduced Barbies to their kids before they reached the demographic age required for a Barbie. Orenstein talks about the Princesses also and how they send out a message to girls to be perfect which adds alot of pressure to young girls. The plot line of the princesses and how they're all beautiful and they find their perfect man and live happily ever after is something Orenstein wants to protect her daughter from.

Check this video out of subliminals in Disney movies, this particular one about Beauty and the Beast. 

Comment for class:
What I wanted to talk about in class is about Disney movies like the one I posted a video about. I read that alot of Disney movies do this where there insert the word sex into random locations of the movie or they have little dirty moments like in the Little Mermaid when she was getting married and the priest had a boner! Disney movies are what we all grew up watching and it'll probably be something passed to the next generation whether it be our kids or grandkids. But if there are all these little subliminals, it is something we'd watch our future kids to watch? Or even now, would we want our brothers and sisters watching it?


  1. I really got a kick out of the Disney subliminals video. Since my teens I've heard plenty of times about the hidden messages and images in Disney movies and artwork, but never actually attempted to spot any. I've even heard, many times, that coral in the little mermaid is repeatedly in the shape of a penis (personally unverified). It's funny to see the classics that so many grew up with proven morally questionable.

  2. crazy thing is, subliminal are everywhereeeee! but the question i ask myself, am i reading too much into it? hahaha