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Tweening the Girl

The Crystallization of the Tween Market

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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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7. Conclusion

Extract

CHAPTER SEVEN

Conclusion

Her toys have been relegated to the back of the closet. She knows the lyrics to every Katy Perry and One Direction tune. She finds Charlie the Unicorn hysterical, rates articles on Reddit and pens op-eds for AllyKatzz. She likes Frappuccinos, is already getting into yoga, has her legs waxed (at least according to a New York Times story) and wishes her life had a voiceover, à la Gossip Girl.

She wants to be anything but the age she is, always looking toward the future, is ambitious, opinionated, influential—and knows more about technology than you ever will. She is 9 years old. She is a tween.

—HEATHER CHAET, 2012

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