Most ’90s women I know had Tiger Beat posters on their wall in the ’80s (at age 11, I was partial to River Phoenix and Coreys Haim and Feldman).
The genre, it turns, out, was invented by a teacher seeking to capitalize on the teen lust of his students. That’s what I just learned from his Times obit.
But it doesn’t seem sleazy, somehow. It just seems like he figured out how to throw kindling onto the fire that is the teen crush. Pre-teen girls got to try out all the feelings of love and lust on the projection screens that were those generic boys in the glossy pictures.
The only losers seem to have been those guys. River Phoenix is dead. Corey Haim is dead. Corey Feldman is in reality TV land.
Maybe the ’80s Tiger Beat stars provided the best first-hand example ’90s feminists had of the messiness of objectification? And yet, how have I never before thought of that particular phase of ogling alongside the male gaze, the ’90s plague that would launch a million Women’s Studies papers?