Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
Here’s something I find interesting and ironic. On the one hand, kids are growing up too fast today. Just take a look at the eroticism of children’s clothing, the whole Tween marketing phenomenon, and the exposure children have to sexualized behavior at younger and younger ages. But on the other hand, “thirty is the new twenty” in terms of career paths and life stability. Do you see a problem brewing there?
In a down economy, marketing is desperate to create new strategies to reach into the pockets of their lagging demographics. Hence the Tween thing. A newly created subculture is more likely to be inspired to invest in the novelty of Image. Also, nervous adults are tightening their spending but teenagers still have a lot of money to blow so most marketing is to them now. That’s why models are 12-14 years old. Tween models also cater to that “thirty is the new twenty” crowd, as you put it. Baby boomers buy products because they want to look younger and Tweens buy products so that they can seem more adult. It’s a great marketing strategy.
Sex sells products, but it’s less about sex than about selling desire. Desire creates need and need drives sales. Also it is a reflection of an overall superficiality which permeates our country. The American culture has taken a nose dive to the Tween level. Movies are now made more like comic books and in place of Father Knows Best, TV has stupid parent puppets heading it’s sit-com clans. Clothing is sexy, but not really about sex itself- it’s designed to make the Tween feel like an adult. Sex is only a byproduct of a bigger plot. Most Tweens don’t have either guidance or role models available to help them understand how to exercise control in their lives and/or make better decisions. So Tweens focus on what they can. Directed by the marketing media, this focus often falls upon their bodies. It’s a great way to fuel both fashion and anorexia.
In a side note, we have also recently seen the creation of a myriad of new disorders (like Restless Leg Syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue) affording an opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to market drugs too. This is the same basic idea as corporations creating new markets.
I do see a problem brewing here.
In modern day America, Capitalism has nothing to do with freedom, and everything to do with being manipulated into wanting things that give us the illusion that we are exercising freedom. That’s why there’s been a drug boom in this Tween population too.
As far as “thirty is the new twenty” – that particular idea is also caused by a lack of stability within our culture. It can be seen as the result of the culture normalizing and marketing to the phenomena. It was said, as far back as Generation X, that the superficiality of that generation caused rapid and frequent job shifts, that no one in that population was willing to commit to anything, that they were a fickle group. This of course was bullshit. It wasn’t entirely by choice that these things happened within that group. Jobs were hiring part time instead of full time to avoid providing healthcare and corporate propaganda waved the banner of blame at this generation. The same is happening now but worse. There are no jobs at all so thirty year olds are being forced to live like twenty year olds – corporate markets pick up on this and call it trendy, so lots of new grunge, or superficial I Don’t Care styles are booming. It’s fashionable to be poor, to have no attachments and be sarcastic and bitter; or carefree and superficial. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Was it the socioeconomic reality… or the fashions to meet it and normalize it? American capitalism is exceptionally adroit at normalizing dysfunction into fashion. It loves to blame the victim. The victim never even realizes that they are financing their own sodomization.
-Dr Brilliant Cliché