Sharon Astyk at Casaubon's Book has a post that is both a review of Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter and an insightful analysis of pinkification's effect on young girls, especially girls in the foster care system. You MUST read it. Here's an excerpt:
I have a theory about the pinkization myself. Femininity used to be commodified by giving children the cultural markers of feminine WORK – little girls got toy kitchens, baby dolls, toy brooms, toy houses. Domestic labor was what marked out womanhood. This definitely sucked in some ways, if instead of the erector set you got a toy wash basin, and you really wanted the erector set, but the cool thing about it was that you told little girls that in some measure they were being defined by their competence. Yes, it was a limited sphere. No, the “you can’t have an erector set because you are a girl” is wrong. But in trying to end the “the only work you can do is girl work” we replaced it with “girls don’t do anything different, so you have to define yourself in other measures – by how you look and what color you wear.”
Whoa. I think she's on to something there. Remember that god-awful girls-n-pink-n-dazzle!-n-science video disaster? The ladies in the video weren't doing any science. But they were lookin' mighty good.
Read the post, the whole post, it is full of awesome.