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Celebrity and Youth

Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations, and Identity Formation

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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 6: Believing in Emma Watson: Casual Fandom and Emerging Feminism in Audience Support for the United Nations #HeForShe Campaign (Spring-Serenity Duvall)

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CHAPTER SIX

Believing in Emma Watson

Casual Fandom and Emerging Feminism in Audience Support for the United Nations #HeForShe Campaign1

SPRING-SERENITY DUVALL



Introduction

By the time 10-year-old Emma Watson was cast to play Hermione Granger, young audiences were already deeply devoted to the brilliant, tenacious little witch at the center of the Harry Potter book series. Between the release of the first book in 1997 and the first feature film adaptation in 2001, the franchise had become a global sensation and profitable media powerhouse.

Thanks largely to the boy wizard, Bloomsbury’s turnover, which had gradually increased from £11m in 1995 to £14m in 1997, took off. In 1999 it stood at £21m. Two years later it was £61m. By the middle of this decade, with Bloomsbury’s revenues above £100m, rival publishers were griping that there was no point bidding against the firm for a children’s title. (The Economist, 12/2009)

The original Harry Potter franchise includes seven books and eight feature films, with an estimated $7.7 billion in box office revenue on top of $7.2 billion in book revenue, and sustained presence of the franchise on streaming and television services, DVD, and merchandising (Wells & Fahey, 2016). With renewed attention to the original films during various 20th anniversary events to celebrate original book releases or promotions for new spin-offs of the originals, Harry Potter remains a significant transnational media phenomenon. ← 129 | 130...

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