Independent girls fighting the princess culture

GVL/Brianna Olson 
Cinderella Ate My Daughter; Jennifer Jameslyn, Women and Gender Studies

GVL/Brianna Olson “Cinderella Ate My Daughter;” Jennifer Jameslyn, Women and Gender Studies

Alyssa Rettelle

Grand Valley State University’s Women’s Commission held its fifth event of the academic year on Feb. 5. The event was titled “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Raising Smart, Confident, Independent Girls in the Princess Culture.”

Liberal Studies professor Jennifer Jameslyn and Women’s Commission Co-Chair Kristen Evans, along with Dauvan Mulally and Keri Becker from the executive board, facilitated the event. Students, faculty and community members were invited to participate in a discussion about the princess culture and what it’s like to be an adult or a child growing up with it.

Evans said they just want to begin conversation about issues that are affecting the GVSU community.

“These events are an attempt to get more visibility for the Women’s Center and the Commission,” Evans said. “We just want to bring women together for meaningful dialogue, and it’s having a bigger draw than we imagined.”

The conversation stemmed from the book titled “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” by Peggy Orenstein. In the book, Orenstein makes the claim that the rise of the girlie-girl is not an innocent phenomenon. According to the cover, the book offers a “radical, timely wake-up call for parents, revealing the dark side of a pretty and pink culture confronting girls at every turn as they grow into adults.”

The conversations covered Disney movies and how princess dresses, makeup and body type are affecting young children because they are wanting to look just like princesses, and how it’s also having an effect on young boys who are wanting girls to look that way also.

There was also discussion about young girls who don’t fit the princess mold and what parents are supposed to fill the gap with because there’s no culture for girls to like anything masculine like there is for princesses. The attendees discussed having control over what young children are allowed to see and do in the household, but there’s a bigger culture outside that needs to be changed.

The Women’s Commission has held previous discussions over other mainstream topics such as race and gender in “Orange is the New Black,” establishing family friendly workplaces and judgment and competition among women.

There are two future events scheduled. On March 5, they will hold an event titled “Around the World in 60 Minutes: International Advocacy and Experiences of GVSU Women,” and on April 2 they will hold an event titled “It’s All About Me (For an Hour): Self-care, Self-worth, Self-satisfaction and Self-fulfillment. All general meetings are held in Room 1104 in Kirkhof from noon to 1:30 p.m.

The GVSU Women’s Commission was founded in 1996 after a 1994 climate study suggested discontent from many of the women faculty and staff on campus. The Women’s Commission has been advocating for all women on campus by acting on their issues and by promoting equality and social justice, ever conscious of the intersection of race, class, gender and orientation, according to their website.