Ideology and Popular Culture

Published: 2020-08-13 06:47:40
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Ideology means ideas that govern the basis of an economy, political or social system. In the western world, more and more ideologies are being brought out by the youth who form the majority of the population. According to Spielvogel (1994, pp. 628), since world war two popular culture has played an increasing role in defining Western culture. Nowadays popular culture is dictated by the western world and mainly consists of music and television that gained popularity after world war two and which promotes diversity amongst the youth. Many so-called movements have risen due to the spread of popular culture. One of them is feminism that according to Browne (2013, pp. 6), began in 1792 by Mary Wollstonecraft when women realized they could be competent in jobs outside the home. This contributed towards changing the mindset of women across the world, and they saw themselves as being independent and that is why nowadays we see more and more women becoming career oriented and less of homemakers.

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A lot of women nowadays hold positions that their counterparts could only dream of not so many years ago like CEOs to presidents and even blue collar jobs like construction. The ideology of today allows for a lot of freedoms, and a lot of the traditional beliefs that our forefathers upheld are nowadays considered barbaric. Even the type of clothes that women wear nowadays are a far cry from the days of yore; they seem to wear clothes that make a statement that they are able to make their own decisions. According to Zeisler (2008, pp. 9), a lot of this attitude is channeled by the media which constantly emphasizes the femininity of a woman. According to Browne and Browne (2001, pp. 272), at the turn of the century the slim figure began to look attractive to people. This creates individuals who judge themselves solely on how they look. For some, this is an advantage for example beauty care companies end up making huge profits by preying on these insecurities, for others it creates problems for example individuals who suffer from Anorexia. According to Storey and Storey (1998, pp. 204), black mothers, and fathers constantly complain that television lowers the self-esteem of black girls.

Popular culture has also encouraged a sense of rebellion against the prevailing social order and the rule of law. According to Deflem (2010, pp. 9), the world of popular culture which we associate with playfulness and fun has embraced themes related to crime. Many of the young people tend to emulate what they see or hear from the media. Some of the music that has recently come up such as gangster rap encourages violence mostly against authoritative figures or institutions. This has a direct impact on cases of violence in the homes or streets as kids act out what they feel. Also, the media glamorizes the rich and fast lifestyle which the young cannot afford, so they try shortcuts to living this lifestyle. Some join gangs or even prostitution to try and make quick money. This lifestyle also encourages the use of drugs to have a good time that has led many people down the path of drug abuse. According to Manning (2007, pp. 75), there seems to be a casual approach to drug use by the youth even those who dont use.

We have witnessed of late a surge in shootings in schools and other learning institutions by the students themselves. Why would a student take a gun to school and shoot his fellow students? One can argue that is because of bullying but hasnt it been part of school for a long time. A factor that could encourage this is the culture that these kids are exposed to. Violence is everywhere and sometimes it is glorified. According to Castle (2014, pp. 226), popular culture supports violence in schools. A lot of video games nowadays contain scenes of extreme violence where you can kill characters in the game. Kids spend endless hours playing these games and sooner or later try out these things in real life.

Academics is another area affected by popular culture. According to Farber, Provenzo and Holm (1994, pp. 13), children do not see the value of education when there are so many other ways of becoming rich quicker. Popular culture has also affected language, according to Eble (1996, pp. 5), parents often struggle to understand their own children as they use more and more slang.

According to Strinati (2004, pp. 22), people find themselves in situations as atomized individuals because industrialization and urbanization have led to the decline of mediating social organizations. Popular culture nowadays has eroded the traditional culture and the values that were upheld. For example fewer and fewer people attend church either because they are too busy or would rather watch it at home. Church used to be an important place not only because of the spiritual aspect but because of the social function. People gathered together and discussed issues ranging from family to the state of the world. According to King (2009, pp. 65), many friendships and relationships were born there, and people felt a sense of belonging. Instead, people now choose to stay at home or engage in other activities creating communities where even neighbors do not know each other.

Socially popular culture has not separated people in every way. In some areas, it has built bridges uniting people, for example, music doesnt discriminate against race, finance or gender but instead brings people together to a common interest. According to Hall (1999, pp. 154), popular culture appears to have blurred the distinction between what music is black and what isnt.

Popular culture has had a huge impact on the economic state of the world. There has been a dramatic shift in the most profitable business ventures a century ago to the current age. Now the world has mainly moved from manufacturing industries to the service industry, and these industries are bringing in a lot of money. The media industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few decades and has become a multibillion industry. According to Lipschutz (2010, pp. 7), foreign films are not as successful as American films since they are not as popular. Social media has become the norm especially for the youth who use it to communicate with people across the world and also for business activities like advertising.

According to Fedora (2009, pp. 28), media affects the goods we consume on a daily basis. Another area that has become popular is the fashion industry that employs millions of people all around the world. According to Hancock, Johnson-Woods and Karaminas (n.d., pp. 278), fashion has the capacity to both influence and be influenced by popular culture. This industry decides what the trend is and dictates the fashion choices for almost everyone. Celebrities spend thousands everyday all in the quest to look good and in some cases gain popularity by becoming fashion icons. According to Danesi (2008, pp. 106), celebrity power creates a mythologizing effect where celebrities are seen as mythic figures. A negative outcome is that some people become hooked to these trends and spend too much money on things that they do not need in the first place. According to Boyd (2008, pp. 72), hip hops culture of bling was proclaimed the hallmark of living. Also, social media has become so imbedded in some peoples lives that they spend almost all their time there making their productivity at work low.

When it comes to politics, popular culture has dictated the type of leaders that are elected and policies that are implemented. According to Murray (2010, pp. 10), young people rely more on interpersonal relationships to form political opinions.Leaders nowadays do not use totalitarian rule but rather a leadership that includes the views of the people. Since a majority of the population is made up of the youth we are seeing an increase in the election of young presidents. An example of how popular culture has affected politics was when the United States elected Barack Obama as the president. He was the first black president of the U.S, and he was also young. His leadership style is also different from his predecessors as he interacts more with the people; he wears casual clothing making him look more at one with the ordinary citizen. The youth of today are well versed with policies and their rights, and this means that leaders must be careful as to their style of leadership.

According to Tonder and Thomassen (2005, pp. 1), popular culture contains forces that render democracy popular. A case in point were the youth were oppressed by the government was in Egypt where they held demonstrations that ousted the then president and his administration and caused major changes in the system of governance and policies. According to Rabaka (n.d., pp. 36), popular culture also influenced the black movement that saw many African Americans rise and demand their rights and an end to racism.

References

Boyd, T. (2008). African Americans and popular culture. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Browne, R. and Browne, P. (2001). The guide to United States popular culture. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press.

Castle, m. (2014). school violence: views of the students and the community. diane publishing, p.226.

Danesi, M. (2008). Popular culture. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.

Deflem, M. (2010). Popular culture, crime and social control. Bingley: Emerald.

Eble, C. (1996). Slang & sociability. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Farber, P., Provenzo, E. and Holm, G. (1994). Schooling in the light of popular culture. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Fedorak, S. (2009). Pop culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Hall, P. (1999). In the vineyard. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

Hancock, J., Johnson-Woods, T. and Karaminas, V. (n.d.). Fashion in popular culture.

King, E. (2009). Material religion and popular culture. New York: Routledge.

Lipschutz, R. (2010). Political economy, capitalism, and popular culture. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Manning, P. (2007). Drugs and popular culture. Cullompton, Devon, England: Willan Pub.

Murray, L. (2010). Politics and popular culture. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

Rabaka, R. (n.d.). The hip hop movement.

Spielvogel, J. (1994). Western civilization. Minneapolis/St. Paul: West.

Storey, J. and Storey, J. (1998). Cultural theory and popular culture. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Strinati, d. (2004). An introduction to theories of popular culture. 2nd ed. routledge, p.22.

Tonder, L. and Thomassen, L. (2005). Radical democracy. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Zeisler, A. (2008). Feminism and pop culture. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

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