I am really interested to hear some of Jen’s conclusions and how she is approaching this topic because there are so many really interesting directions one could take. I was curious about a lot of things, I’ll list some here, even though I am sure many will be answered tomorrow in class. I think the idea of marketing to tweens and normalizing consumption within that age group is really interesting. Especially, because children have been targeted for marketing for some time, but naming the group, and the development of marketing trends seems to have changed the ways in which they consume, and what is marketed to them. Interesting because, while they are considered distinct, and there is an emphasis on fictional characters, the commodities marketed to them are not meant for play but for the most part are commodities associated with adulthood, I am thinking of the cell phone. Maybe in this way tween marketing is less about fantasy and play and more about acclimating children to an idealized version of adulthood? This sort of alludes to what you said your paper was going to be based on, that children are no longer children, but rather, consumer-citizens in training.
I was wondering about the evolution of child-star branding. One of the news clips you assigned makes mention of the Olsen twins, I think that’s the first childstar brand I can think of, where a wide range of products became associated with the real life children rather than characters. How does branding affect Hannah Montana and other child stars who, now more than ever, have two identities: their character, and their real self? Celebrity gossip sites (I am thinking of Perez Hilton, especially) make the lives of these characters as well known as their personality. How then, does Miley Cyrus’ internet leaked racy photos, or better Jamie Lynn Spears’ (from Zoe101) pregnancy affect the representation of fictional Disney characters?
Also, how does a character like Raven Simone figure into the Disney princess/leading lady narrative? If scholars argue that Disney heroines are thin and white, then how do we explain the popularity of Raven Simone’s shows, and the Cheetah Girls, when Raven is African-American and isn’t thin by any stretch of the imagination? Also, what are the implications of Disney’s multicultural representation?