Daily Archives: April 23, 2017

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture Book Review

It’s no secret that many young girls are obsessed with all things pink, sparkly and generally princess-y. The question that many adults and many parents ask, is this obsession nature or nurture?

Journalist and writer Peggy Orenstein answers this question in her 2011 book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. To find the answer she is seeking, Ms. Orenstein not only writes about her own daughter, but about the cues and pressures from well-known companies such as American Girl, Disney and the world of child beauty pageants. She also talks about how the internet comes into play and the images that young girls see in various formats, whether they be in print on-screen or maybe, in their own homes.

What I truly appreciated about this book is how frank Ms. Orenstein is. Parenting is hard, but it is made harder by the very well executed marketing plans of companies that sells children’s toys and the mixed messages our children and our girls in particular are still receiving. But, she concludes, it is possible to counteract the in face-ness of the pink/sparkly/princess-y image that our girls are receiving and raise them to stand on their own two feet and think for themselves.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fairy Tales, Feminism

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

Emily Dickinson is one of the most iconic poets in American history.

The new film, A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily and Jennifer Ehle as her sister/best friend Vinnie, starts off when Emily is a young woman. Unconventional from an early age, the film starts when Emily is in school. The teacher asks the students a question about religion. While the rest of the students quietly answer the teacher’s question, Emily is outwardly defiant and answers the teacher’s question on her own terms.

A short time later, the film flashes forward to Emily as an adult. Still unconventional, Emily writes in the early morning hours and shows no interest in the traditional path of marriage and children. As illness sets in and she becomes a recluse with a very sharp tongue, life changes and the relationships with her sister and brother, Austin (Duncan Duff) are tested.

I must clarify something before I proceed. I have heard of Emily Dickinson, but I have not read any of her poetry. This review is strictly based on the movie and not my knowledge (or lack thereof) of her life and work. My problem with the film is that a) it’s long and b) even with a stellar cast and respected writer/director like Terrence Davies, I was really just underwhelmed by the film.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

A Quiet Passion is presently in theaters.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, History, Writing

Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah, the day we remember the 6 million Jews murdered in The Holocaust.

I normally prefer to talk about The Holocaust in general terms, but I feel like today telling my family’s story.

In one sense I am quite lucky. My great grandparents settled in this country well World War I. By the time World War II started, their children, my grandparents, were growing up couched in the freedom and safety of America. The families they left behind were not so lucky. On my mother’s maternal line, both of her grandparents were born and raised in Dobromil, Poland (which is now in the Ukraine).

In the late 1970’s, at the urging of his children, my mother’s grandfather published a short book about the shtetl of his youth. It was called Dobromil.

The book is dedicated to the memory of his father, his siblings and their families who lost their lives because they were Jews.

Meyer (or Meir in Hebrew) Treiber was registered by one of my uncles on the Yom HaShoah database 40 years ago. Meyer was my mother’s great-grandfather.

The survivors are starting to pass away. Their first person accounts of the horrors they experienced will soon be a memory.

It’s important to remember all of the victims. Not just the Jews, but the Gypsies, the Homosexuals and everyone who was killed because they did not fit into the world that the Nazis envisioned. It’s also important to remember because the Holocaust is not the first, or the last mass slaughter in modern memory of human beings who were killed because they were different.

At the beginning and end of the day, we are all human beings. No matter what labels are used to define us, we are the same inside.

I’m going end this post with a quotation by Martin Niemoller that is as true today as it was during World War II.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Z”l

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Filed under History