The Buying and Selling of Teenagers

Last Updated: 27 Jul 2020
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In her book “Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers”, Alissa Quart systematically demonstrates how generation Y is increasingly subjected to the companies’ various marketing strategies in order to help teen to understand the unconscious negative consequences of materialism and consumption. This book not only attracts the attention of teenagers and parents, but also the educators. Throughout the book, author has impressively succeeded in describing about social phenomenon.

At the same time, to give countless examples of individual, family, schools and companies, Quart evidently shows how teenage culture has been insidiously commercialized. In order to clearly demonstrate, Quart divides the book and classifies the teenagers in three sections: “branded”, “self-branded”, and “unbranded”. Quaart’s Branded talks about the latest endeavors at attracting money and mind from the most appealing consumers- those adolescence which came from middle-class family.

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Quart portrays an austere cultural wilderness in which many adolescents hurry into maturity and develop brand allegiance before they are psychologically or economically sufficiently grown-up to recognize they have an alternative. Quart divided the book into three parts, and categorizes the teenagers into three sectors: those holding onto corporate brands, those creating over their bodies and brains a “self-brand”, and lastly, those who are trying to discard the consumer culture which encloses them.

Quart was not new on writing about things which concerns the lives of teenagers, having written for The New York Times, Elle, and so on. Such undertakings, in addition to her own pursuit of books on youth culture stimulated her to deal with the subject. Also, in spite of the fact that Branded too often examines the marketplace from the fortunate post of well-off white kids, the author’s quick examination is appealing and informative. Reports of corporations that tempts and threaten teenagers made the 1st third of Branded its finest and unswervingly alarming.

For an instance, the author documented the clothing establishment, Delia’s mails lists precisely 45 million teenagers yearly, and it enlists teenagers to keep the business informed of fashions. Delia’s co-owner Steve Kahn kept it plain, that teenager likes the idea of waiting for their mails and putting the orders on people near, if not their exact, age. This warns of the author’s following subject of peer-to-peer marketing wherein adolescents contribute in the bogus democracy of MTV’s TRL and thrusts corporate productions (i. e. Backstreet Boys) on their friends in trade of something better than them.

Quart illustrates how an escalating number of corporations also thrived in penetrating several facets of the cultural environment immediately, to manipulate fashions and acquisitions. In one of the author’s more keen comments, she revealed how movie reviewers who control teen fare with kid gloves are complicit in what she calls youth branding; any suggestion of intricacy acquires a comparatively constructive turn from reviewers. An additional justification for this serious clemency that she overlooked, though, could be the longing for main media passages to beat the teen market too.

In the second part, the author tackled teens who are searching for a way to rediscover their selves by means of anything which could work. Her reports of teenagers who acquires plastic surgery and who makes use of steroids to better their builds are adequately compared with the same ridiculous anorexic girls who advance their existence in “pro-ana” internet communities, however, as succeeding sections of the book centers on teenagers who shape their selves to meet the adult’s expectations or approvals, the author’s idea of “self-branding” only appears to be accessible to those people who are white and have wide connections.

The author is correct, though, to notice how technology affects today’s young generation. The web in particular, offers a new room for teenagers to recreate their selves. Sense of control materializes in the course of the concluding segment of Branded, as the author inspects the means in which some teenager attempts to mark out their selves in rebelliousness of corporate America. This part of the book centers on how the teenagers gather together against the war on Afghanistan on MTV’s TRL, and the like.

Oftentimes, the author states that adolescents acknowledge the advertisements only once it already had its mark. Quart stated “"would start out with the kids saying, 'I'm not branded. That boy in my class is branded,' or, 'That girl in my class is branded. ' Then they were expressing an incredible need for buying different products or having certain clothes. And later, they said, 'I guess I am kind of am branded. '" Overall, the book is an interesting read.

In a way, it reminds me of Naomi Klein’s No Logo in that both authors wrote about something which goes against the corporate world and even though their topics does not seem to be something out of the ordinary or something we do not yet know about, I commence the way their books brought out something extraordinary through their researches, examinations, and perseverance. Branding was able to achieve something in giving the readers further insight about something we thought we already know yet does not fully comprehend. Works Cited Quart, Alissa. Branded: The Buying and selling of Teenagers. Perseus Publishing, 2003.

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The Buying and Selling of Teenagers. (2018, Sep 26). Retrieved from

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