Naturally, human beings are wired to like or dislike things. When people look at the culture that surrounds them, there is temptation telling them how to live their lives. With the mass spread of information in the current society, primarily through television, magazines, and music, it becomes easier to disseminate culture across the nation or globally. In fact, the media has seen the penetration of pop culture into various aspects of the society. Powell and Sylvie confirm this with his assertion that the media is a massive influence in the modern lifestyle and affects things people do whether consciously or the other way around (115). Perhaps where this effect is predominant is among the teenage generation, who are the larger consumers of pop culture. While research on the subject is not yet conclusive, pop culture has destroyed teens affecting the way they think of themselves, their relationship with others, and their mode of expressing maturity. The prevalence of pop culture among teenagers has consumed this generation corrupting the youths.
Due to the influence of modern pop culture, many young folks have changed the way they define themselves. It is important to recognize that a crucial characteristic of every young person's maturation in their self-definition. Self-definition is the way an individual perceives themselves. For youths, that definition is significantly influenced by what they see from their surroundings. This is in line with the psychological, social learning theory which posits that individuals will acquire what they see and subsequently accept these acts as what guides their behavior. Whatever teen glean from pop culture daily will influence their behavior (Driver 12). Therefore, it is common to find teens dressing up as their favorite stars or trying to imitate their lives. These imitations are what determines the acceptance level among their peers so, at most times, a young person feels that they should look like a celebrity to gain acceptance. For instance, a teenager seeing Bieber drawing tattoos and getting involved in unlawful acts might imitate the same. Others are even resorting to plastic surgery to resemble their favorite stars. Some also model their behaviors to fit those of music moguls, tv cast members, and movie stars. Often, these imitations tie into self-identity and the social groups within a teenager's life. While this may look harmful, such impressions can distract these youths from essential aspects in this crucial stage of growth critical for an appropriate disposition into adulthood.
Pop culture also promotes violence among the younger folks because they are the largest subscribers of the culture. Without a doubt, pop culture has taken over the big and small screen which is the popular form of entertainment among the younger folks. There are over a thousand channels and several shows which people subscribe to. These shows are part of teenagers lives, and they strive to keep up with the latest episodes. The impact that these shows have on these teenagers are very negative exposing them to violence. These days, violence in the media reaches points that are dangerous. You turn on the tv and what you experience is a distorted reality of violence. After the teens spend so much time in this fictional world, it becomes a reality in their lives. The recent mass shootings at a Batman movie screening in Colorado has brought back the debates on media violence and how it affects people behaviors. Offering response to this debate, Gentile, and Bushman while referring to a 2002 report by the United States Department of Education and the Secret Service which investigated 37 incidents of mass shooting concluded that over half of the attackers displayed interest in violence through movies (146). On a similar note, Council on Communications and Media indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior (1498). In light of these two studies, it is clear that pop culture learned through television can result in aggressive behavior among teens.
The influence of eating disorders among the younger generation because of pop culture is as evident as those of violence. Also, as with violence, the media has become more known for the kind of images they show of celebrities. The number one magazines such as the Star, People, or In Touch display pictures of celebrity with perfect body and good skin which is studio polished. The taste of the pop culture of what is an ideal organization is that which looks unproportioned, and stick-thin. These magazines make a fortune out of the public interest in celebrities' physical appearance. The media even stress that importance of having such type of body to be successful in life. However, much of what they display is fantasy driven and teens especially ladies will go to extreme measure to look like the women on the cover of the weekly magazines. This is something that is unrealistic in the lives of the younger generation. Eating illnesses like bulimia and anorexia which are on the rise in the past several years have affected the younger generation. These conditions are as a result of the everlasting desire among the younger generation to look like Hollywood women (Vares, Sue and Rosalind 141). Consequently, pop culture has negatively impacted on young women by harming the perception of healthy body and promoting stick-thin body type.
On the other hand, while it is correct to claim that pop culture has destroyed the younger generation, it has equally brought some positivity. In other words, not all the influence of pop culture is destructive. For instance, pop culture has fostered interactions among the younger generations who are into the same kind of things. Events to celebrate pop culture helps bring people from different places strengthening interactions. Consequently, pop culture acts as a tool for unifying the younger generation across the globe. At the same time, considering the broad representation in pop culture in various genres, teenagers have been influenced positively in other fields. For instance, there are reports of students taking chemistry seriously after episodes of The Breaking Bad. Movie stars have influenced the younger generation while portraying pop culture on the screen.
In a final analysis, the prevalence of pop culture among teens has corrupted the generation. Without a doubt, much of the behaviors displayed by teenagers are things that they have learned from the media. Youths tend to live lives that imitate those of their favorite celebrities from the media. The consequence of such imitation is that majority of the teenagers have picked the wrong identity. On the same note, teens have learned to be violent and act aggressively in the media. Lastly, issues of eating disorders among teens especially ladies have been reported as well. This is in the strive to imitate the bodies of stick thin Hollywood celebrities. Nevertheless, there is still a happy side to pop culture. On record, pop culture is a unifying factor that has helped bring people from different places together.
Council on Communications and Media. "The American Academy of Pediatrics: Policy statement-Media violence." Pediatrics (2009): 1495-1503.
Driver, Susan. Queer youth cultures. SUNY Press, 2008.
Gentile, DA and BJ. Bushman. "Reassessing media violence effects using a risk and resilience approach to understanding aggression." Psychology of Popular Media Culture (2012): 138-151.
Powell, Helen and Prasad Sylvie. ""As seen on TV." The celebrity expert: how taste is shaped by lifestyle media." Cultural politics 6.1 (2010): 111-124.
Vares, Tiina, Jackson Sue and Gill Rosalind. "Preteen girls read'tween'popular culture: Diversity, complexity and contradiction." International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 7.2 (2011): 139-154.
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