Identity And Generation Influence By Popular Culture

02 Nov 2017

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Identity and Generation Influence by Popular Culture

‘Do you have a twitter account? Please follow me at Mr. Doe.’ ‘Do you have a Facebook account? Please search for my name and request me to be a friend.’ ‘Guys, did you see the debate video on YouTube? It was awesome. You should totally check it out.’ These are the statements and questions that lead into conversations or are what conversations are in my day-to-day life. Social media, community networks, commercial products, trends among celebrities or what the media advertises or their stands are what people are engaged in or keep ‘updating’ themselves with. If one falls behind or is not in contact with the new trends, ideas, activities, perspectives and commercial products, they are left out socially, economically and culturally. This is what popular culture entails. Popular culture refers to those ideas, activities, trends, ideas, images, commercial products that are brought up or created to meet the preferences and tastes of the masses of people. These phenomena are integrated into peoples’ culture as a result of globalization and influence by the media.

Globalization which refers to international integration as a result of exchange of ideas, views products and the different cultures of the world has made it possible for an individual to keep tabs with what he or she finds amusing or interesting. Music, movies and community networks are some of the topics that I and members of my age group follow. I appreciate that they are a representation of a culture of a people. For example, movies made in America or in the United Kingdom depict a culture among the people who live in the origin of the movie. This is so in the field of music. The media advertises or gives their stand about the music and the movies and their audience is influenced leading to adoption of a culture. Mode of wearing, commercial products, lifestyle, language and images portrayed in the movies and music are what people adopt and assimilate into their day-to-day lives resulting in the change of the own culture and thereby adopting a popular culture.

Popular culture is characterized by large heterogeneous groups of people, constant change, weak family structures, considerable leisure time, mass production of items and is commonly based in urban areas. Preference in putting on products such as make up such eye shadow, dying of hair to blonde or red color, clothes that are associated with designer taglines or attending music festivals or going for night outs are as a result of influence by what one finds many other people engaging in or that which many people find to be suitable. This creates the need for someone to change from what they are to what people find to be suitable. This results in the change of an individual’s identity since one tries or is able to identify their selves with a trend for example what a celebrity wears or what the fashion media finds suitable. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace and Armani are some of the clothing lines that are found to be trendy, fashionable, expensive and unique. Putting on of these clothes change ones identity for suddenly one becomes a talk of the day or people want to be associated with you reasons being the clothes are worn by celebrities created by the media or what fashion through media finds suitable.

A popular daytime television show known as ‘Star Academy’ is a favorite show for many in the Middle East and is aired on Arab Television. It was introduced after and was as a result of the ‘American Idol’ show being a hit in America. Belly dancing is the traditional form of dance among the Arabs but since the Star Academy show hit the Arabic airwaves, Hip-hop dancing and style of presentation has affected this tradition for it has been integrated into the Traditional Arabic dance. This has resulted into Belly dance-hip-hop fusion.

Mode of wearing where citizens of Middle East are known to be reserved where ladies are not allowed to show their hair in public in some places their faces by wearing a Hijab or Niqab respectively has been affected by popular culture. This can be evidenced by lessened need for women appearing on television to wear Niqabs and secretly ladies in institutions can remove or opt to not fully wear the Hijab as is expected. This is as a result of television shows or music by Arabic musicians who do not wear the Hijabs or Niqabs.

Community networks such as Twitter and Facebook have been used as forums for dating meeting new friends and even to pass information to large masses of people at a go. Use of these community or social networks including network sites has led to creation of identities. For example, the number of followers one has on twitter is an identity status where the one with the larger number of followers is a celebrity or is as a result of being a celebrity. What they say, think or perceive is held too be right or people will tend to do all in the name of association with another person. Dating online or finding mates on social networks as opposed to physical meetings are also an ‘in thing’ in Middle East where someone posts a picture of themselves so that the other can choose on the basis of being handsome or beautiful. The revolutions among the new generation in Middle East have also been attributed to social networks.

Popular culture therefore has both positive and negative influence on people but undoubtedly, it has changed traditions that have been long in existence. Globalization and media existence ensure that popular culture will thrive and influence cultures, identity and generations.



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