You have probably heard the term pop culture more than once. However, it takes more than just that to really know where it comes from and what perspectives it can be given in certain contexts.
This term was born in the 20th century and is used to define the characteristic social phenomena of an era. In other words, pop culture encompasses absolutely every element of daily life that may have an important meaning or that is representative; such as fashion, slang, customs, food, and even the most popular products such as movies and series. For this reason, pop culture is constantly changing and evolving.
What is Pop culture?
The mass media have played an important role in the development of this concept. This is due to the fact that people obtain direct influence from the media environment to adopt certain fashions or customs.
It is through popular culture that the members of society establish behavioral ideals and endow them with a common identity.
Tim Delaney, an American sociologist, mentions in his article Pop Culture: An Overview that sports and television are currently two of the elements of popular culture that are most consumed and those with the greatest staying power.
Similarly, Delaney makes a contradictory observation when he mentions that the source of popular culture is often individuality. The also professor at the State University of New York indicates that if a person decides not to follow fashions, it is not bad. On the contrary, this unique style can inspire other people and become popular.
All the time we are exposed to new trends, they are the same for everyone. However, today there is freedom for everyone to internalize them according to their preferences and personality. There will always be those who are for or against, those who follow the rules, and those who defy them.
In other words, we live in a stage where breaking schemes is fine. Therefore, day by day and with the help of the Internet, we can visualize lifestyles, challenges, opinions, or simple ways of acting. The key is to channel this power that new technologies give us, in things that have a positive impact on society.
Now, you could say that they are the celebrities, the so-called influencers and even the fictional characters currently represent all these things that we adopt as part of pop culture. But who were its representatives in the beginning?
Without a doubt, the 60s were a decade characterized by rebellion and social changes. During this revolutionary era, great fashion icons emerged and different styles of clothing were beginning to be adopted, including flared pants, prints, vibrant colors, and controversial miniskirts.
Years later, other icons emerged that set trends and styles such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. Both singers from the ’80s are remembered for their tailored costumes and wacky hairstyles. In addition, beyond their physical appearance, their musical products raised the pop genre as one of the favorites by the public to this day.
Michael Jackson continues to be remembered for his dance moves, his Thriller jacket, and his sequined white glove. Madonna, for her part, remains a feminist and liberal icon.
Pop Art, a lifestyle
Pop Art, more than art, is the result of a somewhat particular lifestyle. The plastic manifestation of a society that is becoming more and more technological, democracy, fashion and mass consumption.
The objects cease to be unique to be produced in series. Industrial objects, posters and other articles of commercial consumption become the main subjects. What had hitherto been considered unworthy of art was described: advertising, illustrations, magazines, etc.
In this art, standard furniture, dresses and tin cans are taken to a higher level, emerging a naked and mechanized style. Within his works, the unique and the expressive goes to the background, leaving the impersonal and the subtle conformity of society in focus.
Britney Spears and her schoolgirl style
As Madonna’s successor, Britney Spears appears in the 90s, who positioned herself as a pop princess and wowed her audience with her schoolgirl style and seductive dances. This look prevails to date as one of the most iconic of the decade and has been recreated in various entertainment products.
This same schoolgirl style became so popular that to this day it is still used in different variations by celebrities like Ariana Grande. In the same way, it was a very popular fashion in the episodes of the television series Gossip Girl.
Along with Britney Spears, the MTV channel broadcast the Backstreet Boys videos with singles like I Want It That Way and Everybody.
The arrival of the year 2000
Finally, a new millennium has arrived that brings with it new eras marked by controversy and mass communication.
Britney Spears, meanwhile, changes the schoolgirl look for a shaved head and romantic songs are displaced by the Emo Era that marks the beginning of the first decade of the 2000s. This new era comes with styles that predominate the use of black, side bangs, Vans tennis shoes, face piercings and dark makeup on both women and men.
However, little by little technology accelerates the way in which trends and new styles emerge. It may be that today what was popular a month ago is no longer so relevant, anyone can become an icon of the time and influence society with their ideas.
Today’s trends are mainly marked by originality and the search for the common good. Imagine that in 50 years someone investigates about pop culture in 2020, probably the results showed that it was a time marked by the fight against the coronavirus (which although it sounds strange, is also part of popular culture), the search for the justice against outrageous conditions (such as abuses by police forces) and care for the environment.