Popular culture or pop culture refers to the general cultural products like music, fashion, dance, film, cyberculture, television, and radio that most humans consume in the modern world. The modern society’s ethics and morality are greatly influenced by the majority population’s evolving traditions, beliefs, and practices. There are several dominating fields and categories of pop culture: politics, sports, entertainment, news, fashion, and technology. Media text expresses economic and political hierarchies and power positions. Media sources are the venues for various beliefs and practices. While popular culture refers to a widely accepted culture among the masses, it has shortcomings, especially when it clashes with societal norms.
The current society is obsessed with pop culture due to media influence. Though the community has encouraged pop culture and people have embraced it, it has its downsides, significantly impacting youth morals. The presence of digital literacy will help with knowing how and when is appropriate to use the various form of technologies (Tuzel & Hobbs, 2017). Media technologies have impacted youths’ ethics and morals in society. The media has seen the growth of popular culture. Although popular culture can impact positively on the society like in promoting globalization, creativity, and exposure to diverse cultures, its misconception can breed promiscuity, eradication of empathy, and other forms of anti-social behaviors.
The Reflection of Pop Culture on Ethics and Morality
Moral and ethics are well portrayed in pop culture. Pop culture reflects individual values that arise from active engagement with the people around us rather than what is imposed on them. Theories have tried to equate moral corruption to pop culture. Recent trends are increasing rapidly, and they keep influencing people’s decisions. The famous Tik-Tok got people doing things just for likes without considering some of the stunts, which seem dangerous. For example, the music people listen to, the books they read, the stuff they buy, and the programs they watch occasionally can influence their reasoning. Tabloidization can be blamed for the critical phase of the contemporary living media culture. On the one hand, since popular culture represents common and newsworthy topics, it is assumed that it has a direct relationship with morality and ethics (Tuzel & Hobbs, 2017). However, when popular culture clashes with ethics and morality, it is viewed as conflicting, primarily when addressing controversial issues like abortion, gun rights, traditional gender roles, and discrimination, among others. For example, abortion can be widely accepted among the youths or a larger part of society, but it conflicts with societal norms that banish killing.
Pop Culture and Media
Mass media is responsible for the introduction and encouragement of specific trends adapted by a population. Digital media has provided an opportunity for relationship development by enabling globalization whereby people from different countries across the world can share common interests and activities (Tuzel & Hobbs, 2017). Most of the symbols presented through media images and texts have significance, and thus youth adopt similar interests or act in similar situations. Popular culture is a great source of essential and rich data in advertisement campaigns and media analysis. As a result, media houses are likely to use influential people to capture the youth’s attention. The transformed popularized news suggests that deliberately or not, complex or simplified, images and pictures deployed to the masses can open various interpretations (Tuzel & Hobbs, 2017). For example, people will justify buying a bottle of perfume because Cristiano Ronaldo is advertising it. The media use influential people to manipulate the perceptions of the masses.
On the other hand, media can promote negative popular culture in society, especially on casual sex, drug use, adultery, underage drinking, and promiscuity. Such behaviors were often viewed as taboos in the mainstream culture, but they are tolerated under popular culture. Sometimes when media highlights such topics, it may have harmful consequences to the youths. Young viewers are most prone to be influenced by what they view in media, especially on violence and drug use (Tuzel & Hobbs, 2017). Pop culture envelopes young people’s minds when viewing violent movies with adult content; hence, they grow up knowing that it is normal to be violent or engage in sexual activities.
Pop Culture and Youth
Among the most prolific users of pop culture, products are the youth. Youths are the nation builders, and they are the only individuals who can use new technology with much ease (Akram and Kumar, 2018). Their primary source of pop culture is the media via programs, movies, videos, games, sports, music, and fashion. Pop culture tends to reflect the majority’s taste, thus a wide variation of these products (Askin and Mauskapf, 2017). It is through media that the attitudes of the youth are influenced by pop culture. These impacts can affect societal development. Due to these influences, pop culture has both positive and negative effects on the youth. For example, talented youths can utilize popular culture to showcase their capabilities and gain popularity across the universe, which can enable them to earn a living.
On the contrary, the same youths can end up becoming violent people, especially when exposed to violent video games and movies. It will negatively impact their mindset; hence, they end up doing deeds that are not in line with the stipulated societal norms. The use of vulgar language is every day with pop culture, especially in music and videos negatively affects the mindset of young people which makes them feel like there is nothing wrong with such nasty words. Besides, substance and alcohol abuse portrayed in pop culture makes it seem like an incredible act. Most artists make drinking and drugs seem appealing to the younger generation. The youths might be tempted to experiment to fit in with the rest of the age band.
Impacts of Popular Culture on Society
The ethics and morality of individuals in society can be influenced positively or negatively by pop culture. It helps mold every aspect of their lives. Pop culture affects how people act and even talk. Modern lifestyles are inspired by pop culture through trends. These trends encourage conversation and socializing between people. Socializing allows youth to learn new things and exchange ideas (Akram and Kumar, 2018). Through discussions, people can express their attitudes, ponder and assess problems that can be easily avoided. The social-relational environment created by social network sites produces informational influences on opinions and expressions in politics. When youths share their views and expressions, they can break social barriers and participate in conversations.
On the other hand, pop culture has brought more harm to society than good. Radio and movies can no longer pretend to be art but businesses that try to justify their ideology through production, which can be considered rubbish. Most of the images and texts presented by media affect the minds of the youths negatively (Akram and Kumar, 2018). Such negative influences include female nudity, alcohol consumption, substance use, and excessive wealth display. Similarly, the pop culture encourages promiscuity among youths through various media venues. For example, youths get negatively influenced when celebrities encourage such promiscuity, and more often than not, they initiate sexual activities among themselves.
Additionally, the modes of dressing for youths have changed drastically due to the influence of pop culture. Teenage girls prefer sexily and provocatively dress over their traditional method of dressing. For example, young women in the Hindi and Muslim cultures prefer to dress like women in western countries during their matrimonial ceremonies. These choices have led to the loss of moral values and decadence.
The development and growth of society are driven and dependent on youths. It is equally important to recognize that popular culture keeps society moving. Popular culture occurs and evolves continuously, and this has affected everyone’s beliefs and values, especially the youths. Therefore, it is essential to ensure media portray images and texts that encourage healthy norms to protect the society against negative popular culture. It is through popular culture represented by the media that people learn new beliefs and values. Therefore, society should understand how strong pop culture is to the masses and try to regulate it accordingly. Popular culture has helped individuals to learn more about the world, communities, and themselves. Despite the positive impacts of popular culture, it can be disastrous if not managed properly. Therefore, there should be lessons taught to the society about the various forms of popular culture. As such, this move will help people choose wisely on trends and avoid decadence that might affect their ethics and morals. `
Akram, W., & Kumar, R. (2018). A study on positive and negative effects of social media on society. International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, 5(10), 351-354. doi:10.26438/ijcse/v5i10.351354
Askin, N., & Mauskapf, M. (2017). What makes popular culture popular? Product features and optimal differentiation in music. American Sociological Review, 82(5), 910-944. doi:10.1177/0003122417728662
Tuzel, S., & Hobbs, R. (2017). The use of social media and popular culture to advance cross-cultural understanding. Comunicar, 25(51), 63-72. doi:10.3916/c51-2017-06