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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 8: All-American Girls: Examining the Media Coverage of Malia and Sasha Obama as Young Political Celebrities (Newly Paul)


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All-American Girls

Examining the Media Coverage of Malia and Sasha Obama as Young Political Celebrities



Malia and Sasha Obama were children aged 10 and 7 years respectively, when their father, Barack Obama, was elected to the White House in 2008. That year, the Obama sisters became the latest to join the ranks of “First Kids” who had spent their childhood years in the White House and in the glare of international media scrutiny. Other children who grew up in the White House in the last four decades included Chelsea Clinton, who was 12-years-old when her father got elected president, the Bush sisters—Jenna and Barbara—who were college-aged during their time in the White House, and Amy Carter, who was 9-years-old when she came to the White House. The Obama sisters, like the children in the White House before them, became young celebrities by virtue of their father’s job title.

Given their father’s popularity and the historical significance of his presidency as the first black man to occupy the office, the girls were subjected to a high level of curiosity and scrutiny from the media and the public. In addition, the girls grew up in an era of 24/7 news cycles and social media, which fuel an insatiable hunger for information, making their experience very different from that of the other recent young occupants of the White House....

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