Don't Call Me Princess: Essays on Girls, Women, Sex, and Life

Peggy Orenstein's work might be described as a reckoning with all things "pink." She has often cast her gaze on girlhood and its trappings: princesses, Barbies, Hannah Montana. But just as frequently, she reports on less marketable, more divisive elements of female experience: teen pregnancy, fertility, abortion access, genetic testing and--again with the pink--breast cancer and its omnipresent ribbons. 

Orenstein (Girls and Sex, Cinderella Ate My Daughter) sets her sights on these subjects and more in Don't Call Me Princess: Essays on Girls, Women, Sex, and Life. She takes on noteworthy women, women's bodies, motherhood, girlhood--and, ultimately, boys: "How to Be a Man in the Age of Trump."

Orenstein punctuates many of her incisive points with wry wit and fresh humor. Breast cancer support groups offer "foxhole sisterhood." Regarding princesses: "To call princesses a 'trend' among girls is like calling Harry Potter a book."

She prefaces each piece with a reflection on her frame of mind during its composition and her current thoughts on the issue. In the preface for her first story on breast cancer, she reflects, "While I repudiate science in this essay, I stand by its emotional truth." And her emotional truths cut deep. After a round of surprising medical results, a member of Orenstein's medical team tells her, "I'm afraid this is a bit like peeling an onion." So, too, is Orenstein's writing. It's layered. It stings. It may very well make you cry--and then do something with it. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer

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