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Tweens, femininity and consumption

It had been widely accepted that teenagers group was a socially formed product of increasing consumer economy in the 1940s and 1950s and this concept was used by market researchers of the 1940s. The usage of commodities of consumer culture like iPods and mobile phones to shape their lives is a defining feature of the youth. However, the task of consumer culture in the lives of young people as consumers is being underestimated (Morrow 2009).

In a study done In Girl Heaven, a chain shop focused on 3-13 year old, the research demonstrated the need for a multifaceted perspective to teen consumption. The chain of shops was unable to predict the young people’s consumption behavior and this resulted to the closure of the chain although other chains targeting the same group like Claire’s Accessories survived. According to (Montgomery 2009), Girl Heaven employed three elements in its marketing strategies t the young people. The chain directors based their marketing ideology on the post-feminist notions of girl power which in some way portrayed the cultural value of girls. In this way Girl Heaven attempted to demonstrate the materialization of girl power in order to realize monetary value to the chain.

The chain shop had

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included online marketing, and promotional including the shop layout that was structured to express the meaning of a girl and heaven. Girl Heaven aimed to demonstrate how the shop acted as a site for celebratory performance of femaleness and for recognition of every girls aspirations rather than their exploitation. In addition, chain shop had

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also set up a place for mothers who could come with their daughters as an approach which made Girl Heaven unique from retail chains targeting the same group.

In a interview to a group of eight girls between the ages of 10 to 11 years who were taken to Girl Heaven  to do some spending revealed that children spending should not stand out as just a addition to childhood but it is deeply bound between the consumer culture with emphasis on femininity. The girls demonstrated that the processing of becoming a woman is shaped through existence of business opportunities through which their needs can be met. The definition of girl child relatively differed from what the young girls were perceived.

As the market gives different accounts of what it regards to be a girl it ought to give the room for self expression as a symbol of creativity. Girl Heaven through its stress on performance and materialization of femininity is opening up some space for femininity instead of adopting them wholly. The feminist perception by Girl Heaven should be of concern to Girl Heaven by attempting to bring about the interplay of feminine in their marketing. Indeed, the interview of the young girls demonstrated that they were aware and reflective of their undecided relationship with business culture which had been overlooked by consumer culture.

Both financial and culturally, elements of consumer culture like social media lay a vital role in globalization by providing pleasurable and powerful form of youth culture that is favored by children and young people in different parts of the world. They offer give symbolic resources through which children and young people define their identities. There are prospects in globalization of youth and children culture within the young market being potentially huge although quite distributed with regard t age and gender.   Among the strategies producers can reach this market is by developing economies of scale to set up huge markets to get these groups in the larger global market Montgomery 2009).

The market does not have absolute control over in determination of meanings and available pleasures but it is eventually the young people and children who develop meaning and pleasures and might define them various ways. Despite the exaggerated claims and the generalized confidence by marketers, results of children involvement in consumer culture are similar. The importance of an integrated approach to young people and children needs to be understood by marketers and researchers within consumer culture.


Montgomery, H. (2009).Children and young people’s worlds: developing frameworks for integrated practice Press.

Morrow, V. (2009). Children, Young People and their Families in the UK.

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