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Culture & Religion

Girls’ Princess Fixations

Childhood phases we now take for granted—toddler, tween—were established by marketers, not doctors or child specialists. What should we know about girls' princess phases?

Peggy Orenstein’s new book about raising girls, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, cites a study showing that from 2000-06, girls grew more concerned about their looks and weight, and displayed higher stress levels and rates of suicide and depression. Your average progressive parent probably already sensed the corrosive effect of sexualized dolls (Bratz) and role models (Miley Cyrus), but Orenstein will validate their intuitions with her statistics. She concludes that a 21st-century girl is supposed to be a high-stakes combo of high-achieving and pretty that’s arguably more unrealistic than anything foisted on her predecessors. She also reports a sharp decline in empathy, and more difficulty in maintaining romantic relationships.


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