Why Are Grown Women Smitten with Today’s Teen Idols?
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2010 May 13
Interesting article today in the Boston Globe entitled "Never Too Late to Swoon," where the author digs into the issue of why some moms today have schoolgirl crushes on today's young male stars and shows and movies targeted at teens and tweens...
Like many mothers and daughters, Mary Irizarry and her 12-year-old argue sometimes. But their disputes aren't over texting or clothing. They disagree about which male "Twilight'' star is cuter.
"My daughter says Jacob [played by 18-year-old Taylor Lautner] is stronger and has better muscles,'' said Irizarry 33, a salesperson and administrative assistant from Springfield, "but I think Edward [played by 24-year-old Robert Pattinson] is better looking and more romantic.''
She allowed herself a sigh. "I'm all about Edward.''
Irizarry is one of those moms with schoolgirl crushes — adult women who are happily obsessed with young stars, as well as movies and TV shows aimed at teens and tweens. Unlike earlier generations of women, who either kept secret their crushes on youthful stars like Elvis or the Beatles — or simply didn't have them, today many moms see nothing wrong in proclaiming their fascination.
Moms are online chatting on sites like "Gossip Girl Moms,'' born of the young-adult book series and CW TV show, or "Vampire Moms,'' for fans of the "Vampire Diaries'' TV show and books. They're reading Disneyfamily.com, where a story called "Our 20 Favorite Mom Crushes,'' includes teen idols Zac Efron and Pattinson. They're mooning over 16-year-old pop star Justin Bieber on "Oprah.''
A variety of cultural forces are turning women with crow's feet into lovesick post-post-adolescents. For starters, the societal fixation with youth leads some people to believe they are still, in fact, young. If 40 is the new 20, what's so wrong about lusting after "High School Musical'' star Efron, even if Rolling Stone did call him a "poster boy for tweenyboppers''?
The closer relationship between today's mothers and daughters, in which both generations wear similar clothes, drink the same lattes, and collegially follow "American Idol'' and "Glee,'' is also a factor, experts say.