The Crystallization of the Tween Market
3. Girls just wanna have fun
Girls just wanna have fun
Feminist responses to the Spice Girls depended on whether their activities were perceived as self-regulating or whether they had been manipulated into acting out a marketing concept. In a millennial society alas, you can’t have one without the other.
—GREER 1999, 26
For young suburban girls like myself growing up in the 1980s was fun. Cyndi Lauper and Madonna dominated the airwaves and their kooky, whimsical fashions dominated our closets and our toy boxes were glittery, sparkly and smelled like fruit as Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony and Cabbage Patch Kids provided hours of play. But this decade was about more than simply being fun. It was a decade that began to open up new spaces for girls’ consumerism as various sectors of the marketplace, particularly the advertising industry, the toy industry and the music industry, began to acknowledge the girl and find ways to address her as a unique market niche. Prior to the 1980s the girl was mostly overshadowed by her brother. He had television shows geared to his tastes, he was courted by the music industry as a legitimate music fan and he was the focus of most of the innovations in the toy industry. With the exception of the magazine and book industries the girl consumer had few cultural texts created specifically for her. But things changed in the 1980s as the girl became welcome within the complex circuitry of the...
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