Orenstein's book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the New Front Lines of the Girly-Girl Culture takes a look at the role that Disney princesses have played on how girls view themselves and their role in our culture. This book is full of research about the way girls are viewed and the experiences they have as children shaping them into adulthood. As I was reading I smiled to myself since part of what I read coincided nicely with my masters thesis. My research focused on the changing roles of female protagonists in series novels after World War II. The premise was that girls in series novels prior to World War II were actually less girly - less stuck in the stereotyped girls roles -than those of the 1980s (when I was busy reading series novels). Orenstein's research follows exactly with mine.
In addition to looking at how girls have seen a resurgence of girly things - think pink- she brings up plenty to ponder. By purchasing pink clothes, toys, etc. for our children are we pigeonholing them in traditional female roles, focusing more on appearance than on what is under their exteriors?
Orenstein admits to confusion on her part in parenting her own daughter, Daisy. This is no how-to book, but it does bring up plenty think about.