The Globe has an article today about the growing popularity of PG-rated gossip sites like teenvogue.com. The sites offer squeaky clean gossip for tweens who want to hear the latest news on Miley or the Jonas brothers, without having their better sensibilities compromised:
You won’t find any trash talk about Disney singer Miley Cyrus’s virginity, the sexual orientation of High School Musical‘s Zac Efron or anyone’s rampant drug use.
While the TMZs and Perez Hiltons of the online gossip industry dominate the field with juicy tales of sex scandals and snarky potshots, decidedly parent-friendly niche sites catering to tweens and teens are consistently building their traffic.
Disney has yet another outlet to push their factory-manufactured pop-stars. Actually, I’ve always felt the marketing of chastity and innocence to be a bit dubious. If these tween-age fans are so averse to “salacious” scandals, why even bring up the issue of sex in the first place? Are teenage stars who wear promise rings really more marketable than those who don’t? Or is the issue mainly about marketing to parents? Anyways, advertising the squeaky clean images can’t possibly be sustainable. If nothing else, it just makes these young starlets targets for inevitable scandal- after all, I imagine its difficult to live up to a made up persona.
What’s even more ironic for me is this awkward pop-culture transition from chaste tween to over-sexed teen. How does a star-struck fan reconcile the wholesome morals of Hannah Montana with the “everyone does it” promiscuity of Gossip Girl? That’s a lot of growing up to be doing between the ages of 12-15.I’m not actually sure which paradigm is more damaging for a girl’s psyche: the repression associated with complete abstinence or the pressure and expectation that follows hypersexuality. No wonder we all grow up to be jaded and sarcastic bloggers!