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Reading Production and Culture

UK Teen Girl Comics from 1955 to 1960

Joan Ormrod

, I use the ideas of Andrew Wernick (1991) who notes that much promotion focuses on a name whether it is the star, a director, a writer, or a product, to sell a commodity. Stardom, like pop music, is based on consumerism in what he describes as the

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Handmade Identities

Girls, Dolls and DIY

April Renée Mandrona

This article examines the connection between two discrete areas of inquiry—the study of dolls as it relates to the identity of young girls, and the contemporary DIY (do-it-yourself) craft movement. I identify how the activity of DIY doll-making might be useful for thinking about what it means to be a girl in relation to its offering a departure from the hyper-commercialized, ready-made dolls of the twenty-first century. The commercial doll has existed alongside its counterpart, the homemade doll, since the beginning of industrialization. In different ways both forms of the doll have played a significant role in the lives of young girls and they continue to shape both collective and individual identities associated with what we think of as being a girl. Tracing the act of doll-making and the residual influence of craft movements in my own childhood, I explore this notion of dynamic identity formation: I examine doll-making as a medium for artistic creation and narrative development with the potential to transform girlhood identities.

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Melanie Kennedy and Natalie Coulter

crystallized in this image of ideal tweenhood, this moment of liminal girlhood. This ideal tween is white—unambiguously white with blonde curls—with a confident smile, embedded in consumer culture. She is an icon of the nation, bound up, in this case, with the

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Sami Schalk

—makes an analysis of ablenationalism in the brand vitally important to our understandings of disability and girlhood. Previous scholarship on American Girl argues that the brand romanticizes and sanitizes history while encouraging consumerism ( Brady 1997

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Paula MacDowell

towards empowered transformation beyond preconceived notions of girls as apolitical, conformists, or consumers? Method To ground my approach to studying with child participants as coresearchers, I developed the Tween Empowerment & Advocacy Methodology

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Consuming Girlhood

Young Women, Femininities, and American Girl

Elizabeth Marshall

This article offers a textual analysis of how the American Girl corporation markets and sells particular ideas about girlhood to its consumers. Focusing on the historical fictions, catalogues, and website, the author discusses the ways in which the corporation brands girlhood as a set of ideas to purchase. This reading of the American Girl texts is supported with data from a semi-structured interview with eight undergraduate women enrolled in a pre-service education course who read and played with American Girl materials as children. Young women who intend to work as elementary school teachers offer a unique demographic for theorizing American Girl and its role in the everyday lives of girls. The author concludes that for the young women in this study, American Girl materials offered salient lessons in girlhood consumption.

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Lisa Lindén

This article investigates direct-to-consumer advertising in Sweden for Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, as a contemporary gendered technology of the adolescent girl body. It explores how, by constructing girls as ideal users of the vaccine, advertising campaigns encourage adolescent girls to vaccinate themselves. Using a feminist visual discourse analysis, the article examines how different girl subjectivities are constructed through advertising, and presented as fit for Gardasil use and consumption. It highlights how, along with their parents, adolescent girls in Sweden are encouraged to assume responsibility for managing the risks of cervical cancer in order to help secure their future health, sexuality and normality. It argues that the Gardasil campaign, in being addressed to individual members of the population, serves to articulate global and national discourses of girlhood, sexuality, (sexual) health responsibility, risk management and consumption.

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Frederika Eilers

Engaging a cross-disciplinary approach, this comparative analysis shows how two disparate icons, Barbie and Modulor, are similar. The former is an often criticized symbol of girl culture, beauty, and consumerism. The latter is a drawing of a man that summarizes the dimensional system of Le Corbusier, one of the world's most influential architects, and that subsequently became a symbol of modern architecture. Divided into three parts—idealized bodies, their spaces, and how typical users are excluded—this nuanced interpretation explores the intersections of architecture, feminism, embodiment, and ableism. I show how these two bodies—Barbie and Modulor—inspire homes that emphasize the vertical: the buildings exclude typical users. For instance, Barbie's friend Becky, who is in a wheelchair, does not fit into Barbie's skinny world and Modulor's needs are dissimilar to those of mothers and children. Putting these artifacts into conversation reinvigorates the subjects and provides a contextual framework in which to consider Barbie's house as architecture.

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From American Girls into American Women

A Discussion of American Girl Doll Nostalgia

Molly Brookfield

The American Girl brand of historical dolls and books celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2011. The girls who first played with American Girl dolls in the 1980s and 1990s are now grown women; their nostalgia for the brand is passionate and complicated, and reminiscences from nineteen such women are the focus of this study. Their nostalgic responses are thoughtful and reflective, at turns unabashedly admiring and astutely critical. The women fondly recall American Girl whilst simultaneously criticizing the company for its consumerism and its representations of American history and American girlhood. Their memories show how nostalgia can be ambivalent and contradictory, and how adults can use childhood nostalgia to reinforce and construct identity narratives.

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Miniature Bride or Little Girl Religious

First Communion Clothing in Post-war Spanish Culture and Society

Jessamy Harvey

The tradition of religious clothing for children is relatively unexplored: this article develops the premise that debates about the links between the sacred and the market go deeper than concern about consumption, and bring to the surface issues of identity. Through exploring the historical development of the First Communion, not as religious ritual but as Catholic consumer culture, the article turns to analyse girls' communicant dress in Spain between the 1940s and 1960s which were the early decades of a dictatorial Regime (1939 to 1975) marked by an ideology of National-Catholicism. General Francisco Franco y Bahamonde, leader of the military rebellion against the elected government in 1936, ruled Spain until his death. One of my aims is to correct a tendency to make the little girl dressed in bridal wear the most visible sign because to do so disregards the cultural practice of wearing clothing to perform piety, signal a vocation or express gratitude for religious intercession.