We came across an interesting article on R29 that delves into the intricate world of the girlhood trend. This topic seems to be popping up in various places.
What this article hints at, without delving into full detail, is the broader cultural phenomenon of prolonged adolescence and young adulthood, which has been extensively documented among millennials and Gen Z. We are witnessing a delay in reaching traditional life milestones such as starting families, owning homes, and achieving job stability, with many individuals under the age of 35 finding themselves in a state of relative instability. However, they often have some disposable income that they predominantly spend on personal interests – this can encompass everything from collectible items and decorative pieces to indulging in lifelong hobbies that they can now afford. The market readily responds to these trends, continuously expanding and evolving to cater to these consumer preferences, and this can escalate rapidly.
One intriguing aspect to note is that men’s interests tend to be somewhat treated as the default or normative. For instance, we can observe the enduring popularity of franchises like the Fast and Furious series, the never-ending stream of Star Wars and superhero movies, the emergence of lavishly equipped gaming rooms, and the enthusiasm for items like Funko Pops, Warhammer, and comic conventions, which have all surged in popularity over the past decade. These examples illustrate a phenomenon akin to “boyhood” culture among adult men, which has remained relatively stable for some time. However, this phenomenon is less likely to be explicitly identified as a trend and is less likely to be aggressively branded and commercialized in the same manner.
This distinction may arise because many women do identify with a shared experience of girlhood, and as a result, it is common for products and marketing to cater to infantilizing and targeting women in this way. Convincing men to embrace a concept of “boyhood” in a similar fashion could be challenging, as men are not accustomed to being targeted with such infantilization, and their interests are often regarded as the default in mainstream pop culture.
In my opinion, what we commonly refer to as “nerd culture” essentially encapsulates aspects of boyhood culture, but we don’t typically label it as such. Adult Disney folklore enthusiasts are no distinct from grown men who have an affection for comic book superheroes designed for 8-year-olds.