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The Cute and the Cool – Wondrous Innocence and Modern American Children's Culture | Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Cute and the Cool: Wondrous Innocence and Modern American Children's Culture

Gary Cross


The cute child — spunky, yet dependent, naughty but nice — is largely a 20th-century invention. This book examines how that look emerged in American popular culture and holidays and how the cute turned into the cool, seemingly its opposite, in stories and games. It shows how adults have created the ideal of the innocent childhood and have used this to project adult needs and frustrations rather than concerns about protecting and nurturing the young — and how the images, goods, and rituals of childhood have been co-opted by the commercial world. Magazine and TV advertisements, articles from the ... More

Keywords: cute child, cool, innocence, naughty but nice, popular culture, games, innocent childhood, commercial world, United States, advertisements

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780195156669
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156669.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gary Cross, author
Pennsylvania State University
Author Webpage