Media and pop culture
The pop culture highlights the tastes and preferences adopted by people about what they encounter in the social environment. Moreover, it also encompasses customs and behaviors as embraced by the public (Negus 10). It intends to bind a large population with diverse cultures and form a unified cultural identity. Some examples of these pop cultures include television programs, clothing fads, and slang words with catchy phrases, brand names, and symbols. Sports and sports logos, video games, films, internet memes and food are also the pop cultures that greatly influence the lifestyle (Jenkins 22). The social media platforms have increased the speed at which the pop culture penetrates to the world. It is accessible to everybody with an internet service. It disregards age, gender, level of education and social class. As opposed to the folk culture, pop culture is dynamic and, therefore, changes within a short life span. Media entails a platform of communication. The media stations obtain the information from relevant sources then disseminate them to the targeted people. They range in a variety of forms that include print, audio and audio-visual and the target population obtains the information by reading the daily magazine articles, watching television, and listening to the radio. The most current media platforms involve the use of internets available in the Personal Computers, Tablets, and phones with the internet enabled features. In fact, the phones play important roles in disseminating instant messages just by a click of a button. The use of internets has led to the evolution of the social media. These are sites where people all over the world interact through texting, chatting and even sending video and images. The most common social media platforms include the use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and eHarmony (Gans 18). Government agencies, corporates and institutions rely greatly on the media, as it provides an avenue where the consumers can know about them and the range of products offered. Culture as an aspect delves on the study of the way of life of people. A more view focuses on the dressing cords, feeding habits, religion, general lifestyle pattern and their social beliefs. Each community in the world distinguishes from the other through their cultural beliefs and practices. Pop culture is an abbreviation of the popular culture. It entails the cultural activities or a range of commercial items that turn to be the favorite of the general masses of individuals. These people could be within a certain age group, social class and the area of residence. The highly influenced group with the advent of the pop culture tends to be the youth. Some nations worldwide provide estimates of the youth population as comprising of the largest percentage compared to the other age sets in the society. These groups of people in the age bracket of late teens to 35 have the largest influence on taste as about the latest dressing fashions, current hit music, the fanciest model of a car, the latest smartphones, and the latest lifestyle practices. Since a majority of the world population comprise of these youths, their general lifestyle practices influence the entire life practices of a given nation. Media and the pop culture relate concurrently as highlighted in the following subsequent discussions.
Understanding Media and the Pop Culture
Media and culture determine the daily activities of people and their society. Greatly, they affect our lives and the future generations. Several media platforms exist, and this depends on the socio-economic status of the people. Some listen to radios through phones, hi-fi systems while others tune to favorite TV channels. Regardless of age, everybody has their preference on the type of media to use. It is a source of entertainment as the video, games, movies, Facebook, and music relaxes one especially after a long tiring day’s work. Moreover, the media platforms particularly the print and the audio-visual offer an appropriate avenue of learning lifestyles, feeding habits, sports and other educative material (Jenkins 98). One appreciates the media greatly as it transforms one to be a more informed and well-versed individual with the current news on politics, religion and life as a whole. Moreover, the media also encourages individual as a more successful worker, especially through the inspirational TV or Radio sessions. Consequently, the media has also positioned individuals as more savvy consumers. It means that they are the recipient and consumer of all the information published in the print media or aired on the radio and TV stations. All the information, be it good or bad, educative or non-educative, entertaining or non-entertaining gets into these consumers. As the savvy consumers, the media influences the way one perceives and implements the received information. It determines the actions and consequently, our way of life. The media influences the way the brain integrates information and how it works (Chua, Huat, and Koichi 37). The brain being the central nervous system in living organisms, any influence on it affects the physical performance of an individual. Therefore, the media alters the way the brain works and further how it perceives and integrate information. The media normally shape people, as many tend to follow what the media perceives as best. In return, it shapes the cultural practices of people. The media affects people regardless of age, gender, stereotype and social class. Either the information disseminated through advertisement or the internet affects the people’s behavior and their general perception of life. The evolving media changes the way people relate socially. Most importantly, the TV and the information shared through the social media have great impact. They provide information that appeals to the eye and hence one is likely to adopt or emulate what they see. The TVs have various live advertisements that not only bother the viewers, as they tend to interrupt the normal favorite programs but also prompt them to act in a particular way. Some of the advertisement bases on the current clothing on fashion, latest hair style the coolest car brand and the latest phones with a myriad of features. The result of this would mean that one buys those items to fit in the current mode of lifestyle. The media in it have influenced the culture especially by the use of celebrities. The presenter’s physique and their style of dressing influence the viewers greatly. Most of the media stations particularly the TVs and Radios have utilized this niche to double their number of viewers and listeners. For example in the TV, the presenter dress smartly coupled with the application of numerous makeups. They also tune their voice such that it appeals to the ears. The viewers are affected so much so that they admire these presenters and try to figure out their way of life and manner of dressing (Gans 32). Those without adequate finance stare in agony while those endowed financially take a step and buy the same clothing, hairstyle, or applying the same make-ups. Their way of life, therefore, turns to be like the presenter they watched. The today’s world of smartphones coupled with ever-streaming satellite feeds has greatly altered our perception of life as a whole. People no longer live a life based on the originality. Our lives drastically change as per the change of styles to the people we envy so much in life. Social critiques argue that broadcast television fosters homogenous and conformist culture among the viewers. The media instill a kind of life that may not appear to be realistic in the long-term view. The current media have influenced the traditional lifestyles of major people of the world. Socialization has felt the hardest hit. Particularly, video games and the movies have limited the way in which people socialize. These systems have led to addiction and as such paving way for the advent of the indoor games. The Play Stations, the video games, and movies have changed the perception of children to the traditional outdoor games such as soccer, volleyball, baseball among others. Parents have also associated the outdoor games with danger since they predispose children to physical injuries. Therefore, they have highly embraced the indoor games, and they buy the indoor materials for their children. Consequently, this has led to the emergence of people who do not know how to express themselves due to lack of a range of socialization platforms such as games. Also, the indoor activities have affected the rate and the frequency of the general physical exercise (Chua, Bengt, and Koichi 102 ).It has led to the development of lifestyle diseases associated with aging on these children as they develop hypertension and the cardiovascular diseases. It affects the mental and physical performance of these children later in life. The media in the other aspect have also influenced the culture of reading. Information obtained by a click of a button on the social media sites. Also, the video games, other indoor games, and movies have led to addictions. Instead of taking a novel or any published document for reading, they prefer to obtain the shorthand information through the social media platforms. The popular culture in America showed a great change within thirty years. Particularly with the emergence of the Reality TV Shows, the media has dictated the moral behavior of children. They intend to act and behave the way they see the presenters and the celebrities in these Shows. Therefore, the young children have been exposed to vices that perpetuate moral decay. These include the use of vulgar language during communication, alcohol, and substance abuse and earlier exposure to sex. The advent of the internet has tremendously revolutionized the pop culture. It has turned the world into a global village due to the faster access of information. A large proportion of the world’s population has access to the internet. It begins with the wide sale of smartphones that provides better platforms for internet access. The popular social media sites have also made the social media applications platforms downloadable by the use of an android or windows phone. Moreover, internet access can also be obtained in the offices and the public libraries (Gans 66). Due to the existence of these, people prefer text chatting instead of calling since the later tend to be expensive. Large volumes of messages have also been sent just by sending text messages. It has the impact of decreasing the traditional face-to-face communication. The social networks have consequently hampered verbal manner of social interactions. However, communication has been eased, and advance as people have kept in touch with their friends, relatives, and colleagues regardless of the physical distance.
Cultural values shape media; Media shape cultural values
Cultural values influence the way in which the media become created. The media platforms tend to make their programs and advertisement suitable to the public. Most often, the media is influenced by modernity and at the same time, they influence the modernity as well. Free speech as the cultural value has been influenced greatly by the media. Free speech entails the ability to express ideas and interests without hindrance (Dahlgren 48). The American acceptance of the free speech has had an impact on shaping the American culture. Most importantly, the propagation of the obscene words tends to be on the rise because of the media influence. The obscene movies and pictures have also been transmitted particularly through the print media and the internet (Tisdell 43). For example, the sexual magazine such as the Playboy is available nearly everywhere in America. Its publications have raised controversies on its ability to influence the younger generation and exposure to pornographic literature. The media also shape persuasions and the cultural values. The media content normally is inclined to specific social goals. The advertisements from governments, nonprofit organizations, colleges and corporates that aired or printed over the media tend to shape the content of the media to promote themselves and promote their values. In the aspect of government, the information aired may tend to persuade people to follow a particular political ideology. Such information not based on truth is called propaganda, and it has the influence of distorting emotional appeals. Consequently, it may result in war. On the corporate scene, producers prompt the media stations to make an advertisement that promote the sale of their products. They may compel the consumers to incline to a particular value as they use these products.
The cultural values of the gatekeepers
The gatekeepers are the distinct personalities who help in determining the type of stories that make headlines in both print and the audio-visual media. They include the media reporters and the editors who make and compose the media contents. These sections of the people greatly have an influence on the cultural attributes of the people. In deciding what to publish, they limit us to what they perceive as right ( Dahlgren 60). Therefore, they have a distinct cultural value that later on the receptors of the media content will adopt regardless of it being right or wrong. As they decide on what is worthy of news, entertainment and sports their values model the shape of the public to this values. Therefore, the people are set in the mode of these gatekeepers, and hence they follow their advice. The influence of the gatekeepers in the current media has influenced the perceptions and the actions of the people greatly. Particularly those who decide to post videos on YouTube and the music on Apple iTunes store have tremendously propagated the spread of a given culture. In the digital era, these gatekeepers have done more harm than the good. Unlike the traditional media, the gatekeepers were known and therefore what they opted as write could lead them scrutiny particularly if it violates particular laws. However, in the today's media, these gatekeepers are not in the looming light, and it possess difficulties in to figure out the personalities involved in publishing erroneous information (Gans 87). The current and vast social media platform has been the best channels to these people. On the contrary, the digital era has tried to lessen the work of these gatekeepers as the public have a wider range of choices on what to listen to.
The influence of the tastemakers on cultural practices
Pop culture and the American media enjoy mutual existence. They interlink as the influence of one affects the other. The mass media have assisted in marketing the celebrities and the pop culture manias ( Tisdell 84). These groups of people shape and determine our choices and the practices we undertake. The mass media encourages the introduction and adoption of various cultures being that they inform the public on the latest updates and the emerging trends in lifestyles. The tastemakers are people or institutions that shape our thinking, eating habits, listening and dressing patterns. They encourage mass influence of the people to a certain movies, television shows, video games, books, and other trends in fashion. Most corporates use them to increase their product sale by increasing the demands for their products. These tastemakers can help revive and even encourage the existing culture as they introduce new products, ideas, and programs to the public. The use of the tastemakers tends to be expensive as persuading people to follow a given culture may not be easy. The digital era has no doubt accelerated the existence of these tastemakers and consequently the development of the pop culture. Moreover, there has been the rise in some the self-made tastemakers for example as bloggers. These have allowed the wannabe stars, bloggers, and critics to access a wider audience in the tune of millions.
Media, gender and age perspective
Media influences men and boys, women and girls differently. To the girls, the media mounts on them to be perfect in body shape, size and fashion. The girls experience low self-esteem particularly if they cannot meet the demand that the media tends to advocate for. The “Media Violence” as is it is termed has subjected the young girls to be weight consciously as early as age eight (McRobbie 55). About 80% of girls as early, as nine years, are on a diet, and the prevalence of eating disorders have grown by 400% since the year 1970. 27% of the teen girls have media influenced to looking or behaving in a certain way. Girls have been brainwashed to fit in the mode of skinny women, which adversely affects their life as some go to the extent of forfeiting feeding to remain thin. The media mostly targets the girls and women as they tend to largely influence. The media have also portrayed women as very powerful particularly on the current talk shows and the Reality TV Shows being aired by women. For example Oprah Winfrey show has greatly modeled women worldwide ( McRobbie 76). It has made women feel powerful and independent.
The media and pop culture show mutual existence. It affects everyone regardless of age, gender and social status. The advertisements made by these media have the impact of influencing how we perceive things and in turn influences our behavior. It has the result of influencing our cultural beliefs and culture. The advent of the digital media has further accelerated the proliferation of information and, therefore, has made the world a global village. As in the outline above, the persuasive nature of the media coupled with the influence of the tastemakers has affected our ways of behavior. People from various cultural backgrounds have been modeled to follow the ideal culture known as the pop culture. The influences of the pop culture have been witnessed greatly on the youths, as they tend to be receptive to the current life trends. None of the youths would prefer to left behind with the latest technological advancement, clothing and fashion. The pop culture as highly publicized through the various media platforms have led to a shift in cultural practices. The majority of the people have adopted practices previously not within their culture. Some of these “new” cultures have affected the way of life negatively ( Negus 36 ). For example, the culture of free speech has made many youths to use vulgar and obscene language. In particular, the some print media have published images that associate with the pornographic literature. These have portrayed the pop culture as very negative since it negatively alters the societal moral beliefs and practices. Also, the pop culture demand for slim women has affected the feeding patterns of the girls as they fight to fit in that mode of life. Consequently, feeding disorders have been on the rise. On the positive perspective, the growth of the pop culture because of the media influence has led to women empowerment and independence. Moreover, the tastemakers have gained pride and a means of livelihood as they paid by the media stations. Also, the media stations have also obtained revenues as corporates, government and institutions pay these media companies before any adverts made. The government and other relevant agencies have the role to play in the proliferation of the pop culture. The regulatory agencies of the government should be on the forefront to check any media content before it becomes aired or printed ( Tisdell 116). These will create a holistic society. The parents and guardians also have the mandate on deciding what their children use for entertainments. They should guide these children so that they do not lose focus on the moral aspect of life.