Girly Girls, Tomboys and Micro-Waving Barbie: Child and Youth Consumption and the Disavowal of Femininity



In this paper we draw on work arising from three research projects concerned with the relationship between consumption and identity for children (aged 7 to 11), young people (aged 11 to 17) and young adults (aged 18 to 25) to examine issues relevant to the constitution of contemporary femininity in British society. Rather than treating femininity as having a dominant stereotypical form that girls and young women can conform to or resist, we argue that it is more fruitful to view femininity as a difficult if not impossible space for girls or young women to occupy successfully. We illustrate this with reference to girls’ and boys’ talk about ‘girly girls’ and ‘tomboys’ in two studies of child and teen consumption, girls’ and boys’ accounts of torturing Barbie, and young women’s talk about the importance of not ‘drinking like a girl’ in a study of social identity, branding and the meanings of alcohol consumption for young adults.


Christine Griffin, Agnes Nairn, Patricia Gaya Wickes, and Ann Phoenix|Rosaleen Croghan|Janine Hunter (2006) ,"Girly Girls, Tomboys and Micro-Waving Barbie: Child and Youth Consumption and the Disavowal of Femininity", in GCB - Gender and Consumer Behavior Volume 8, eds. Lorna Stevens and Janet Borgerson, Edinburgh, Scottland : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 16.


Christine Griffin, Department of Psychology, University of Bath
Agnes Nairn, School of Management, University of Bath
Patricia Gaya Wickes, School of Business and Economics, University of Exeter
Ann Phoenix|Rosaleen Croghan|Janine Hunter, Department of Psychology, Open University|Department of Psychology, Open University|formerly School of Psychology, University of Birmingham


GCB - Gender and Consumer Behavior Volume 8 | 2006

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