Showing posts from July, 2012

girl culture and the cute and the cool

In Cinderella Ate my Daughter,  Peggy Orenstein explores a wide range of questions related to contemporary girlhood, from the marketing of the Disney Princess product line to the how biological differences between male and female brains are used to justify it.   Orenstein has done her homework, but the book is a personal exploration of her motherhood choices rather than a scholarly work.  I don't have a daughter, but the thought-provoking questions that Orenstein raises about the world of gender and the marketing of all things pink to girls are certainly important.  What stays with me most is her analysis of the Disney actress trajectory, from self-declared virgin to marketable sex symbol.  As she writes:  "...self-respect has become a marketing gimmick, a way for female pop stars to bide their time before serving up their sexuality as a product for public consumption." (p. 124)  It may be true that, just like we overestimate young people's technical abilities on a re

Int'l Ch's Media & Culture

Back in spring, I read some chapters from... The International Handbook of Children's Media and Culture , Eds. Drotner and Livingstone.  Sage, 2008. "Harlequin Meets the SIMS:  A History of Interactive Narrative Media for Children and Youth from Earily Flap Books to Contemporary Multimedia" by Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (71-86) "Children and Media:  A Cultural Studies Approach" by David Buckingham The whole text is a combination of media theory and media effects research, with a special focus on non-US settings in later chapters. Some quotes and ideas: "...adults are wholly dependent upon children to secure the continuation of life..." (p. 9) Geertz's definition of "culture" "...system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which people communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life." Other things to look up: Ellen Seiter in Toys, Games, and Media Jou


Kristin Cashore has captured intelligent female fantasy readers with her books Graceling, Fire, and now Bitterblue, where we pick up with the beleaguered daughter of Ashen as she is growing into being queen.  I hesitate to assert these themes, but if Graceling is about learning about loving connection despite fear and Fire is about discerning the different flavors of love and admiration that "monstrous" attraction can evoke, then Bitterblue is about learning to compassionately encompass a kingdom.  In other words, Bitterblue is about power. And those who are captivated by court drama will enjoy this immensely, although the romantic flair that characterized Graceling and Fire is significantly toned-down here.  Bitterblue is struggling to reclaim her kingdom--and even to understand it--since the 35-year reign of her father King Leck.  Leck's grace was the ability to fog others' minds, take them over, and force them to do his bidding without their understanding that it


I am celebrating this: I am also celebrating that my cat is okay, that my spouse is a rockstar, that my friends are awesome, that I have new glasses and comfy, sassy shoes.  Life is short and full of injuries of all kinds.  Some days, we just sweat it out.  My wish is that everybody, at some point, gets to work hard and be rewarded for it. I'm also in the middle of Bitterblue by Cashore.  More to come! p.s. my cat: