Of all the parenting hullabaloo on the interwebs lately, I’m less inclined to pay attention to “tiger mother” Amy Chua, who strikes me as a flash-in-the-pan anomaly, and much more interested in Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Through interviews, field trips and a whole bunch of self-reflection, Orenstein examines the inevitable “princess phase,” and it’s subsequent (and perhaps more dangerous?), Bratz and Hannah Montana (RIP) stages.
In a stellar interview with Mother Jones, Orenstein expresses great frustration with trying to buy toys, school supplies and basic toiletries for her daughter that aren’t covered in princess paraphernalia. I vividly remember trying to pick out gifts for a holiday toy drive and being disgusted with the array of Bratz dolls baring belly-buttons even while “snowboarding.”
So here’s my stopgap, haphazard solution. I give you the Should I Buy This For My Daughter/Niece/Sister/Toy Drive? Guide. It’s a handy chart to pull out when you’re standing in the aisle at Target overwhelmed by the sparkles. Keep a clear head, start in the top left, and follow the arrows:
One could (and maybe I will) make a similar flow-chart for buying for boys. Avoiding violent gun culture and absurdly offensive video games (have sex with a prostitute, kill her and then take your money back) isn’t easy either. I think the last “No” box on the chart is decent criteria in general, though finding things that fit that bill is no picnic. Just give them a box of crayons. Who isn’t happy with crayons?
Related Post: Book buying for a guy who hasn’t a female-authored book since he had to read some Jane Austen in high school? Check out Books for Dudes (by Chicks).