Pop culture or popular culture in society is mostly seen to impact youth.
It is the culture that is happening or trending.
It is what is commonly popular.
The stage for pop culture is set through what is seen, heard, and talked about through all kinds of mass media.
Now let us just look at a few key areas where pop culture dominates.
Fashion. Movies and magazines sell fashion knowingly or unknowingly. It can have positive as well as negative impact. To make oneself fashionable young people might blindly follow what is seen. The down side is that youngsters will compare their appearance to what they see and feel inferior.
Cartoons: Cartoons influence children in a huge way. It defines the way they imagine, think, talk, and behave. In a positive way it helps the children build up their vocabulary. It helps them construct short meaningful sentences at an early age. In a negative sense cartoons can influence them in wrong behaviour, disrespect towards elders, violence and so on. It is also seen that most of the things children consume like bags, shoes, books, soft drinks, snacks etc all carry the images of their favourite cartoon characters. Isn’t this limiting their imagination and creativity; I wonder?
Food: Homely food and having family dinner around the table at home are becoming a thing of the past. Instead ordering food online or eating out at eateries is becoming common. With youngsters, eating out becomes a point of socialization with many. The negative side of this pop culture is the kind of junk food consumption it encourages.
Music: The world of music like pop and rock and heavy metal and country music sets trends. It throws up icons and celebrities. Young people look up to them as role models. The lyrics of some of the popular songs celebrate love and romance, freedom and throwing away of restraints, pain and agony and so on. The trouble comes when some of the legends of popular music end up in substance abuse or suicide or broken relationships. Then these idols as role models are shattered in the minds of millions who followed them.
Communication: In olden days tea shop was a place of get together; and around of cup of tea conversations about daily news would take place. Gone are those days. Today, in a gathering of people anywhere, the latest trending books or comics one reads (Comic Con), or a popular film people watched can all instantly open up conversations. Suddenly the participants feel a sense of belonging to a community. There are no rules but simply participation and a feeling of being included. Perhaps it gives a sense of acceptance, identity, self worth, and security!
Social Media: A lot of life revolves around social media these days. People are heavily influenced by what they consume through social media. It not only allows people to express themselves but also enable them to rally around popular causes easily. It is seen that some changes in society are even driven through social media. But the negative side is that many people lose sight of reality by spending too much time on social media.
Entertainment: The way sports and games have grown into industries which generate billions in terms of dollars and euro and rupees is astounding. So many sportstars have shaped the way youngsters look at life. Then there are television shows, serials, news shows, musical reality shows and so on which have impacted much. The episodes become the talk of the town quite easily and effotlessly. Then there are video games. Somehow youngsters are glued to mobile screens and gaming stations when they play what is popular. Even when claims to the benefits of playing video games abound; the kind of violence and killings encouraged in most of them in the name of strategy is alarming.
Advertising: A product is no longer sold because it is good and superior to other products in the market. Instead, advertising determines how a product survives the competition. Now what do advertisements basically do? They create a dissatisfaction in our minds about existing situations. Then they show us a new improved version available. By that time they have created a sense of need; sometimes genuine and desirable but often a false sense of urgency to act immediately. The appeal of advertisements in determing pop culture is huge. Just look around to see people rush out to buy and consume things that are popularly advertised. And you will know the impact of advertisements on pop culture.
To conclude, pop culture is an indicator of how the world thinks and moves. It shows us how quickly the world dumps something that is trending today and goes after what’s latest, glamorous and new. As the world grows smaller each day; pop culture grows bigger because it spreads at the speed of light all across the globe aided by digital technology. And not one of us can escape this tidal wave of pop culture.
There Is Nothing New Under the Sun.
“All of life is far more boring than words could ever say.
Our eyes and our ears are never satisfied with what we see and hear.
Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun.”
— King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:8, 9 Contemporary English Version Bible).
“I the LORD do not change”– Malachi 3:6 Bible