An excerpt from Deborah Schoeneman’s Kindle Single “Woman-Child” is featured on Jezebel.com earlier this month. In it, Schoeneman, also a writer on the HBO show Girls, explains this woman in more detail. For example, she acts, dresses and is interested in popular culture much like a teenage girl. We’ve all seen them, career women looking like they shop exclusively at H&M or Forever 21, sporting seasonal neon nail polish. Schoeneman’s article got me thinking: Why do so many well-educated and accomplished women identify with the woman-child?? Is it our attempt to stay forever young in a society that associates youth with relevance? Or is this just the new adaptation of cool?
It could be because many of us have had parents that continued to be our caretakers long after we’ve technically entered adulthood. This will likely have a profound impact on how this woman-child perceives herself. She has matured on many levels but not on all—and not in the ways that perhaps her mother or grandmother had by her age. Or another possible reason could be—because of the woman-child’s obsession with pop culture—the perpetual bombardment of stories and images (real or with the help of Photoshop) of women that seem to forever maintain their youth. Whether it’s Gwen Stefani and her ability to look amazing in a belly-bearing shirt at 42 or Cameron Diaz who has built a successful career playing the woman-child in many films. In the case of Cameron, this is also where life imitates art.
I also think that it has something to do with women putting off major life milestones like marriage, children, home buying, etc., as they focus on professional attainment. Without some of these above-mentioned personal responsibilities it can be easier living with one foot in both worlds— adulthood and childhood.
So, to address the main point of this blog, how do we market to this woman-child? First, it’s important to recognize that the “woman-child” is more than a trend; it is a growing phenomenon in our society, as seen in popular magazines, TV shows and even some of your friends and colleagues. Whether psychological or sociological, the belle du jour is the female Peter Pan and she can serve as a powerful influencer. Another rationale for targeting the woman-child is that it will allow us – through the use of celebrity partnerships – to simultaneously reach a younger audience as many girls idolize and identify with celebrities of this variety, which can range from Nikki Minaj to Zooey Deschanel. These celebrities are inspirational in the way they dress and act and use Twitter as if it’s their only form of communication to the outside world.
Another reason the woman-child is important and deserves marketers’ attention is she is often well-educated and successful in her chosen field and serves as a trend setter to other audiences. She’s an important and dynamic consumer that should be considered when developing campaigns that can be tailored to a women-centric audience, which can be anything from women’s health issues to automobiles. This may be accomplished through tailored social media activities, relevant celebrity spokespeople or events that target her varied interests, like music festivals or even Comic Con. She’s particular, but due to the nature of the woman-child she’s also an ideal consumer due to her dynamic influence to both adopt and set trends, and if we market to her varied interests she’ll be more inclined to buy our clients’ products and serve as a strong influencer for other cool trend-setters like her.
Ok, que Alphaville’s “Forever Young…”