Professor Natalie Coulter

The final MediaCom research seminar of the academic year will take place on Friday 26 May with Professor Natalie Coulter (York University, Toronto). This seminar is hosted by the Media and Gender Research Group.

The seminar will take place 3:00-4:30pm on Friday 26 May in Bankfield House Lecture Theatre – all welcome.

Happy Girls

"Happy girls are the prettiest":  Depoliticizing tween girls one t-shirt at a time.

In the current neoliberal marketplace the tween girl plays an important role in anchoring the activity of consumption as a space of fun. The fun aesthetic is woven through much of tween culture. The tween girl that we often see in photographs in catalogues, magazines, stock photos and corporate online spaces is repeatedly shown in a state of fun.  There is a ubiquity of images of tween girls laughing and smiling as they tell secrets to each other and feign surprise. They squeeze together to pose for selfies in such spaces as the beach, the bedroom and the mall. The girls are in a perpetual state of fun.

Obviously the overt message of this corporate framing aligns tween consumption as fun. But there is more to it than simply using fun as part of the corporate brand as a means to sell goods. The work of tweenhood, as we are told by the cultural industries of girlhood is the work of fun. The positioning of tween girls as the “celebrators of fun” reveals much about the cultural expectations of girls and girlhood in the marketplace.

The purpose of this paper is to theorize the affective spaces of young tween girls in the current moment of neoliberal capitalism. The paper will use both Cook’s (2011) notion of consumer epistemologies in children’s marketing and Sara Ahmed’s (2014) work on happiness as affect to explore how the representation of fun is a political practice that legitimates the tween market and positions the “fun” girl as an idealized neoliberal citizen who fetishizes consumption as an apolitical site of fun.

Share this page:

Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
E: mcs-enquiries@le.ac.uk
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
E: css-dl@le.ac.uk
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785
E: MCS-Research@le.ac.uk

University of Leicester
Bankfield House
132 New Walk
Leicester
LE1 7JA
United Kingdom

University of Leicester
107-111 Princess Road East
Leicester
LE1 7JA
United Kingdom

Student complaints procedure

Accessibility

AccessAble logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for Bankfield House.