What is a tween?

The purpose of this blog is to look at both representations of tween girls in popular culture, and at what aspects of popular and consumer culture are particularly marketed toward tweens, and what the effects of these are on an entire generation of girls.  To begin, though, we must clarify what exactly a “tween” is.

 According the various Wikipedia and Wiktionary entries for “tween,” “tweenager,” and “tweenie,” tween came about from the word between–tweens are not quite children, and not quite teenagers.  A tween is between 8 and 12 years old, and a tweenager is 10 to 12 years old (under 13 years of age).  Regardless of the specific age, though, it is useful to define tweens as being in that awkward stage of pre-puberty and puberty where they’re just beginning to form stronger social bonds with their peers and desiring more independence from their families, usually in the form of wanting to be more “grown up.”  It’s the age where adolescent identities are just beginning to be formed under the realization of a bigger, more complex and, notably, cruel, world than anyone had imagined as a child.

Tweens are also known as preteens, to whom Wikipedia ascribes the following quality:

Preteens are also known for their brand consumption, and are a heavily targeted market of many advertisers. Their tendency to buy brand-name items may be due to a desire to fit in, although the desire is not as strong as it is with teenagers. Many of these brands names fall under clothing and music.

In addition to inspecting this ironic desire for independence that is seemingly fulfilled through buying into mass-marketed consumerism, we will also be looking at the issue of how much tweens mimic media representations of what they think “real teens” or “adults” act like, and what problems–or benefits–this might create in the preteen psyche.

It is interesting that in most cases where tween used in popular culture or the news media, it is almost exclusively referring to girls.  While stories about preteen sexuality focus on the girls’ seeming lack of moral upbringing to protect against the harbingers of a sexually savage society, little is said about the boys and what they’re making of all this.  Do boys simply grow from boys into men one day, without any psychological effects?  How differently do boys and girls acculturate themselves to the new consumer-focused youth culture?  And why is their growth represented and talked about so differently?

Now we can begin to answer these questions.

10 responses to “What is a tween?

  1. You might find this video interesting:

  2. Szervusz!
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  3. I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

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  5. a tween is a 8-12 year old they are between teen years and childhood.

  6. 1.A tween is a pooper. 2.one who poops. 3.one who poops with a butt. 4.one who shoots brown subtsances.

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  8. Thankyou 4 saying those things because my cuzin said tween was a fake word

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