American Popular Culture – Essay

American Popular Culture Leonel Gutierrez SOC/ 105 September 11, 2012 Gregory Shrout American Popular Culture Our communities are built on a foundation whose culture we build. Through our culture, we define who we are as individuals and how our societies influence our communities. American popular culture has a great influence on our personal decisions and is a very important aspect of our lifestyle. Through television, magazines, newspapers, music, sports and countless other sources, we learn a culture that create who we are and what we decide. One way to resolve this seeming dilemma is to think of culture in an anthropological sense, as the distinct practices, artifacts, institutions, customs, and values of a particular social group” (Petracca, 2007). Undoubtedly, we all practice different ways to assume a culture. Through generations, we learn the different aspects that make up who we are. As children some us learn how to play sports and implement that into our daily habits. Kicking a ball becomes part of daily routine and soccer becomes part of who we are and what we share with that community.
Perhaps going to church is part of our social normality. The qualities learned by attending that community helps us obtain our values as a person, developing who we are. Culture is much more than just a practice, it’s an illustration of who we are, where we belong to. Whether it’s part of a soccer club whose reputation we hold dearly and work daily to win for, or a religion whose practices and laws we follow to make up our values and feel our sense of purpose. Popular culture encompasses the most immediate and contemporary elements in our lives—elements which are often subject to rapid changes in a highly technological world in which people are brought closer and closer by the ubiquitous mass media” (Petracca, 2007). American popular culture consist of the different customs, communities and values that make up the different trends that exist through the mass of the population, driven through the media. When we refer to what is popular among Americans, we have to involve the medias influence.
The common popular culture results from television, music, sports and many other significant media driven influences. Television has one of the biggest influences that create what is “popular” among people. Through commercials, in many cases with popular athletes, the media sends messages to the general public, which directly influence each person individually. An athlete, like Derrick Rose drinking a popular beverage like Gatorade or Eli and Peyton Manning representing Direct TV as their choice of network, has a direct influence on what we drink or what network we chose to what Television with.

People see their favorite athletes representing these different brands and taking part in commercials and make decisions based on that message by the media. Another popular trend in today’s American popular culture is our fashion influence. Kim Kardashian is a big fashion influence in this day in age and has captured the hearts of many young women. Without a doubt, she’s a role model for todays fashion sense in our female youth. Many females want to dress in the same clothes, style their hair the same way, fix their makeup to reflect what she does.
Kim Kardashian has become an icon whose media influence has developed habits worldwide. Women have adopted her style, sometimes even her values and show in today’s female youth. In addition, music is indeed another big influence among the popular culture. Rick Ross will tell you that he’s a “Boss” and show off his thousand-dollar jewelry, fancy cars and million dollar homes. After the bright camera lights turn off and the thundering bass amplifying through the speakers dies out, we’re left with the message brought behind the music. How many people can afford all these material things? Only a selected few I would say.
Although this is the case, you see many people out there buying expensive cars on credit, maxing out their paychecks to maybe try to be a “Boss” while all their saving seize to exist. Although we may not put much thought into the decisions we make on a daily basis, American popular culture directly influences what we chose to be part of our lives. What we see on televisions, read in newspapers, hear through the music we listen to, directly reflect the medias influence towards every person individually. Whether it’s the television network we chose, the music we listen to or the clothes we chose to wear, we are a product of those nfluences and are the make up of our community and social normality. References Petracca, (2007) stated, “One way to resolve this seeming dilemma is to think of culture in an anthropological sense, as the distinct practices, artifacts, institutions, customs, and values of a particular social group” (p2). Petracca, (2007) stated, “Popular culture encompasses the most immediate and contemporary elements in our lives—elements which are often subject to rapid changes in a highly technological world in which people are brought closer and closer by the ubiquitous mass media” (p2).

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