Being Modern: Tweens
on this day in 1955 the actor James Dean was involved in a fatal head-on car crash. Not that the 24-year-old’s tragic death would slow the phenomenon he had done as much as anyone to create – the cult of the teenager would persist for a fair few decades to come.
Then, at the tail end of the 1990s, the marketing people finally caught on to the fact that, in reality, getting out of it and each other were all teenagers were really interested in. So they sought a new demographic and gleefully launched themselves and their products at teenagers’ pesky younger siblings. The word they used to describe these eight-to-12-year-olds? Tweens.
Not yet teenagers, but desperate to put away childish things and be taken seriously in their own right, young girls in particular immediately responded in the only way they had at their disposal: the pester power they had perfected while nagging their parents for Bratz dolls in their pre-tween years.
Suddenly, instead of pretending to be older than they were (prior to the tween phenomenon, these youngsters couldn’t wait to become teenagers), tweens were being encouraged to revel in their youth and innocence, with “Too old for toys, too young for boys” their mantra.
Canny clothing companies were quick to, um, cotton on – with Jack Wills, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch all battling to get their logos seen on those all-important cosy hoodies. But it is the entertainment industry that has really seen the benefit of the baby-pink pound.
In 2006, the Disney Channel showed the first instalment of the High School Musical trilogy, a relentlessly wholesome entertainment that has now been seen by 225 million people around the world. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber... these are just some of the artistes whose work we can all now admire thanks to their having been championed by a tween following. And what of the original tween twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? These days they have a couture fashion label as well as various other business interests. Well, they are ancient now – at 26 years old.
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Chief Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone has contracted the deadly disease himself
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£110 - £130 per day + Pay between ?110 - ?130 Day: Randstad Education Cardiff:...
£480 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Deployment Manager-Ta...
£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Urgently seeking a Dynam...
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Banking, Financial Reporting, ...