Not that innocent : gender and sexuality in millennial pop music at the turn of the twenty-first century

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2014-05
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Takahashi, Troy Chotaro
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
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Applause is passe; the reaction most eagerly sought by pop culture right now, from music to television to movies, is a high-pitched squeal from a mob of young girls. When it's directed at males, that squeal signifies romantic fantasy while it tests out some newly active hormonal responses. Directed at females, it's a squeal of sisterly solidarity and fashion approval. And for the last few years, its volume has been steadily rising until it threatens to drown out anything with more mature audiences in mind. Kiddie-pop has always been available to those who wanted it, but in the late 1990s it's turning into the only game in town.1 In July 1999, the New York Times published Jon Pareles' article, "When Pop Becomes The Toy of Teenyboppers," in response to the escalating presence of teenageoriented music, films, and television shows in America at the turn of the twenty-first century. Pareles attributed the rise of teen-pop music to a reaction against grunge and "gangsta" music of the 1980s and early 1990s, to rock musicians facing a "creative slump," and most interestingly, to the rise of the Latin pop stars, namely Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez, for the growing population of Spanish-speaking audiences.2 However complex the reasons for the rise of teenage pop music at the millennium were, this new wave of "bubblegum" music swelled into a significant cultural force that shaped the lives of the millennial generation, because millennials joined in the singing and dancing or purposefully distanced themselves from the music. The millennial generation, also interchangeably termed the "millennials," echo boomers, generation Y, and generation me (or the me generation), is the largest demographic group to emerge in the United States since the postwar baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. A consensus for the exact date range has yet to be reached for the birth years of the millennials. Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, established the range from the 1970s through the 1990s in Generation Me, while Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of Millennials Rising, recognized the years 1982 and 2002 as the first and last years of birth for this generation.3 Whatever the temporal boundaries, millennials have grown up in an era vastly different from those of previous generations, and its members have come of age in a technological world where information and fads are exchanged easily and with alacrity, greatly influencing teenage popular culture. Generation Y has been bombarded with information and images quite divergent from materials available to the same age cohort in prior generation. These images helped to shape millennial culture, and these shaping sources were often exhibited on television.
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M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
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teenage pop music, millennials, echo boomers, generation Y
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Theses for the degree of Master of Arts (University of Hawaii at Manoa). History.
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