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Celebrity and Youth

Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations, and Identity Formation


Edited By Spring-Serenity Duvall

Celebrity and Youth: Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations, and Identity Formation makes an examination of contemporary celebrity culture with an emphasis on how young celebrities are manufactured, how fan communities are cultivated, and how young audiences consume and aspire to fame. This book foregrounds considerations of diversity within celebrity and fan cultures, and takes an international perspective on the production of stardom. Chapters include interviews with professional athletes in the United States about their experiences with stardom after coming out as gay, and interviews with young people in Europe about their consumption of celebrity and aspirations of achieving fame via social media. Other chapters include interviews with young Canadian women that illuminate the potential influence of famous feminists on audience political engagement, and critical analysis of media narratives about race, happiness, cultural appropriation, and popular feminisms. The current anthology brings together scholarship from Canada, the United States, Spain, and Portugal to demonstrate the pervasive reach of global celebrity, as well as the commonality of youth experiences with celebrity in diverse cultural settings.

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Chapter 3: “INSANE PREGNANCY PRANK ON BOYFRIEND!”: Performing Gender, Domestic Assault, and Sexism via Couple’s Prank Videos on YouTube (Jessica Birthisel)


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“Insane Pregnancy Prank on Boyfriend!”

Performing Gender, Domestic Assault, and Sexism via Couple’s Prank Videos on YouTube



Cheating boyfriends. Lying girlfriends. Homicide. Suicide. Break-ins. Killer clowns. Used condoms. Fake pregnancies. Menstrual blood everywhere.

Though these themes may not strike the average viewer as hilarious fodder, in the world of YouTube prank videos, they are canon. This genre has become a predominant copycat forum for wannabe social media stars to gain attention in an increasingly saturated digital video marketplace and to make a name for themselves in the growing body of internet-based celebrities who barter sensational content for likes, shares and channel subscriptions. With their sophomoric humor, their young “stars” and their use of youthful aesthetics and references, it’s undeniable that YouTube’s ubiquitous prank videos are targeting a tween and teen audience. Given the hundreds of millions of views they collectively garner, these texts are also a powerful economic engine for their producers. While more traditional film, television and musical celebrities certainly make use of the space, YouTube is an especially ripe arena for the development of ordinary celebrities or micro-celebrities. “Micro-celebrity can be understood as a mindset and set of practices in which audience is viewed a fan base; popularity is maintained through ongoing fan management; and self-presentation is carefully constructed to be consumed by others” (Marwick & boyd, 2011, p. 141). The mythical promise of YouTube is...

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