Is pop culture harming our society or helping it move forward?
Pop culture is literally everywhere we look. How often do you see someone drinking a Pepsi or wearing a t–shirt with Mickey Mouse on it? You see it so often that you don’t think twice about it. Companies use certain advertising tactics so that you see their name and brand everywhere, whether you know it or not. Pop culture is modern culture transmitted over mass media. This means anything you see in movies, television, commercials, advertisements, the internet, or anything else broadcasted to a large audience. Many people think that these doses of ‘culture’ are bad for our society, and promote things like drugs, sex and violence, especially to a younger audience.
The idea of Batman, for example, would seem harmless to most, but dangerous to others. Batman fights his enemies, so children could assume violence can be used to solve their problems. This obviously isn’t a preferable outcome, but it is possible. Characters such as Batman and Spider-Man have been fighting villains for generations, and have rarely caused cultural problems.
Although it may seem surprising, pop-culture is our culture. Television and movies actually further our society by evolving our minds to be entertained by more complex story lines and more elaborate jokes. Our way of being entertained is getting smarter. Our music is getting simpler chords and melodies, but much more developed instruments and sounds. We are progressing every day into a newer, more complex future. Just because that future is different than what was expected, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Many of those people who are against a changing culture don’t look at the past as much as they should. People look back with nostalgia and see only the good. The people who are strongly against people like the Kardashians fail to realize that families like them have always been over-praised. The surface is changing and evolving, but the core of our society is likely to stay the same.
One of the strongest driving factors in our culture is social media. Millions of tweets and Instagram posts are uploaded every day, and show no signs of slowing down. Social media as a whole is a massive thing, used by countless people millions of times a day. Everyone from the Pope to the President are active on Twitter. Our generation has often been labeled as the ‘selfie generation’ by older generations. This constant posting may appear on the surface like arrogance, but is in fact much more than that. Social media users post online because they want to know about each other. Users don’t post to boost their own self-worth, but more to document their young lives, to look back on when they are old. Social media platforms are not much more than a modern scrapbook.
The direction our society is heading is heavily guided by television, movies and social media, but that isn’t a bad thing. Society today is a nostalgic one, which enjoys the past but strives for a brighter future. Creating a better future for the next generation will have many obstacles, but pop culture isn’t here to be that. Pop culture and social media won’t slow cultural progress, but in fact help foster its growth.