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Tweening the Girl

The Crystallization of the Tween Market


Natalie Coulter

Tweening the Girl challenges the argument that the tween market began in the mid-1990s. It was actually during the 1980s that young girls were given the label «tweens» and were heralded by marketers, and subsequently the news media, as one of «capitalism’s most valuable customers». Tweening the Girl expertly traces the emergence of the tween during this era as she slowly became known to the consumer marketplace as a lucrative customer, market, and audience. It clearly illustrates how «tweenhood», which is often assumed to be a natural category of childhood, is actually a product of the industries of the youth media marketplace, which began to position the preteen girl as a separate market niche carved out of the transitory space between childhood and adolescence. Relying predominantly upon a textual analysis of trade publications from the 1980s and early 1990s, the book eloquently maps out the synergistic processes of the marketing, advertising, merchandising, and media industries as they slowly began to take interest in the girl and began to define her as a tween: an empowered female consumer who is no longer a child but not quite a teen.
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4. Selling the in beTween



Selling the in beTween

Are you there God? It’s me Margaret.I just told my mother I want a bra.Please help me grow God. You know where.


I got my period in Grade 7. I was prepared for it, as I had read Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, at least three times by this point. But there was still the surprised panic of how I was going to handle it. Thankfully, my mother had already stocked the bathroom cupboard with about five different types of feminine hygiene products, from slender tampons to thick, bulky pads. There were other changes my mother helped me with as well. We had already gone to the Bay to buy a training bra where I was skillfully fitted by older ladies who wore their glasses on decorative chains around their necks. My Mom took me to the drugstore to buy the right antiperspirant, specially formulated “oily t-zone” skin wash for a young girl’s face and even small pink razors for my armpits. These were difficult years, none of my clothes fit properly, I was starting to develop breasts and of course the boys noticed. Like the other girls, I had to endure the scrutiny of boys on the school playground who either made comments about developing breasts, or about not having them. It seemed like it only took one week to go from being called “flat as a board...

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