Research and Creative Projects

Sarah Thompson
Sarah Thompson

Sarah Marie Thompson

Miracles Happen: An Exploration of Girlhood and Celebrity

Project Description

Throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, a lot of media was centered around celebrity and was starring or meant for young girls. “Miracles Happen” explores this media and considers what girlhood is and what this media is teaching its audience. The first chapter looks at Disney’s studio and its history on how it inserts itself into the private lives of children. This chapter also analyzes this history and makes connections to how these traditions are carried into shows meant for girls on the Disney Channel. It also considers the value of friendship, post-feminism, gender as a performance, and balancing a life of normalcy and fame in Disney’s programs. Chapter two then looks at Nickelodeon and the exceptions of content meant for young boys about the life of celebrities. Instead of focusing on separating the child from fame, Nickelodeon suggests that there is no hiding your stardom. While these Nickelodeon programs are products starring and meant for boys, they are about boy bands which draws in a young female audience too. This chapter also discusses technology and its relationship to children and specifically to girls. The conversation of technology will also serve as a transition to chapter three as the chapter focusses on real life child celebrities, their lives as working children, and whose desires they represent. Overall, the project explores television programs targeted toward tweens in the way that they are fascinated with how to be famous, stay famous, and yet live a “normal” life as a celebrity (mainstream or online), even though we all know that celebrities live a life that is anything but normal.


Media and Communication Studies

Faculty Advisor: 

Jennifer Fleeger