This week’s edition of On the Fly features Peggy Orenstein, whose book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture came out of her frustrations with her daughter’s obsession with “pink and princesses.” In part one, Orenstein addresses the link between social networking and young girls’ self-worth: “Kids don’t often differentiate between their online lives and offline lives; they begin to negotiate their identities in public spaces.” In part two, she critiques the culture of heroism that surrounds cancer survivors. She also expresses concern over the conflicting attitudes toward gender bending in children: “When girls take on masculine characteristics, or toys or attitudes that are associated with masculinity, that’s seen as reaching up and elevating themselves, whereas if boys take on or show interest in things that are associated with girls, it’s seen as lowering themselves. I think it’s a deep sign of how we still see men and women.”
Peggy Orenstein is the author, most recently, of the New York Times best-seller, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Her previous books include the memoir, Waiting for Daisy; Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, and Life in a Half-Changed World; and the best-selling Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap.
Mark Dowie is an editor-at-large at Guernica, an investigative historian and the author of seven books, including Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century, American Foundations: An Investigative History, and, most recently, Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples. During his thirty-five years in journalism Dowie has won nineteen journalism awards and been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.