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Friday, December 30, 2011

Cinderella Ate My Daughter

While driving home yesterday I happened to tune into a radio interview with author Peggy Orenstein. Her most recent book is Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Orenstein believes that today, more than ever, girls are influenced from toddlerhood on to believe that the outer appearance is what matters most. She backs this up with examples of how much glitz and glamor is pushed on girls as soon as they are old enough to walk. This was present in the past but reached a crescendo when Disney released its Disney princess collection.

Children are dressing more mature at much younger ages wearing lip gloss, makeup, and clothing that glorifies sexuality. It's not so much about what's on the inside but what's on the outside that society is pushing, leading girls to believe that if they don't dress in the most trendy clothes, wear the right lipstick, attract men like a sex magnet, then they are valueless.

Having recently spent time with my three-year-old granddaughter Lucy,who I rarely get to see, I have to admit that I was also a bit bothered by all the glam that is being pushed at girls at such a young age. My daughter Rachel has sought to balance things out by encouraging Lucy to enjoy unisex toys, dress in colors that are not merely pink and to toughen up a bit. What I saw was a mix...a kid that enjoyed watching Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, and then Cars, who received a Barbie for Christmas and a Doctor's kit.

I hear and agree with what Orenstein is saying and am also concerned. Something has drastically changed. Adults are behaving more like children and children more like adults in some sort of bizarre role reversal. We have mothers pushing toddlers to become beauty queens wearing makeup and hair spray and competing to see who is most beautiful when they should be enjoying teddy bears and trikes. This carries over into an increased pressure on sexual allure as early as 8 or 9. You can see it in the fashions and in all of the play makeup which is no longer obviously play makeup but the real and sparkling deal. It's become more of the norm than the exception.

I think parents should be aware of what's going on and do what they can to balance things out to where less emphasis is placed on looks and attractiveness and more is placed on the child's gifts and interests. Doing so will build a healthier future for our children who need to enjoy childhood for as long as they can.

Monday, December 26, 2011


There is no other word in the English language that holds the same meaning as Serendipity. defines it as "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident or good fortune; luck." Today, the day after Christmas, a day I would normally never venture out on, I went to the mall with my daughter, Rachel, her husband Noah and our two grandchildren. I'm not all that into shopping and am definitely not a coupon clipper but usually when shopping around the holidays, I do try to remember to grab the more valuable coupons if I know I will be venturing into those stores.

This time, I was distracted and forgot. When I got to Khols to spend a gift card I had been given I arrived without coupons in tow. After sifting through the few choices remaining in athletic shoes in my size and price range, and listening to an extremely annoying 5 year old whine and growl (yes, growl) at her mother for making her stay in the shopping cart because she would not stop wandering, and then standing in line and being bumped not once but twice by some woman who was oblivious to the sharp pain she caused in my heel, another lady slipped behind me into to what looked like it might be a slow moving line. We both groaned when we saw the line's lenght of the line....and then struck up a friendly, although, short conversation.
Serendipity...the line moved rather quickly.

This same woman asked me if I had a coupon. When I said I hadn't thought of grabbing any, she offered to share hers. So as I got to the check out, I had the nice serendipity surprise of getting 15% off which meant that my $50 purchase whittled down a considerable amount, enough to leave about $9 left on my gift card. What a nice surprise. Then, to top things off my daughter and her husband decided to treat me to lunch. ignites in you a sense of wonder and opens your mind to believe in small miracles...To me, so much more than just good fortune.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Welcome to Nearly Brilliant

Welcome to Nearly Brilliant a blog maintained by published author, artist and ministry leader Teena Stewart. Here you will find wholesome but candid reflections on life (as it happens) and publication. Interviews, guest bloggers and book reviews welcome. After all, if it wasn't for life, where would be get our inspiration?