Pop Culture Reflective Essay

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In today’s society, pop culture has heavily influenced the younger generation through mass media. The innumerable amount of ideas that roam throughout the media can easily dominate the lives of younger people who explore it daily. Therefore, the media essentially has complete control over the public. The extent to which pop culture reflects and shapes society’s values is influenced by movies, television, and essentially anything that the media displays to the public. Although society is too diverse to have a single set of values, the ubiquitous influence that pop culture has had on the general public has completely shaped and reflected our society’s beliefs, ultimately growing into the standards that the vast majority will value.

Pop culture has heavily shaped society’s values and what the general public wants to believe. Typically, the public has a tendency to be influenced by whatever they see in films and motion pictures. A valid example of this is the classic 1954 Japanese film: Godzilla. The original Godzilla, believe it or not, “was never intended as a conventional monster-on-the-loose movie” (Staples 3). The original film, directed by Ishiro Honda, was based on the nuclear threat, the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the fear that the Japanese felt after World War II. The nuclear fallout is what birthed Godzilla, a monster that was essentially a metaphor for nuclear weaponry. However, “the butchered version of the film that swept the world after release in the United States was stripped of the political subtext” (Staples 2). The American company that bought the rights to distribute the film in the United States completely rearranged the plot of the original film and released it to the American public once all of the film’s messages were stripped away. All the “dialogue that dealt heavily with human suffering, the morality of all-out war and the temptation to play God with the weapons of mass destruction - was left on the American cutting room floor” (Staples 8). As a result, this Americanized version of the original film has dominated the minds of society, essentially brainwashing the people to view Godzilla as the conventional, fire-breathing monster that most perceive it as. In addition, motion pictures that portray racial stereotypes are heavily influential to the impressionable public. Indians deal with a prodigious amount of racial stereotyping in films, and “Western movies have been such favorites that they have dominated the public’s conception of what Indians are” (Jr 1). Not only do Indians face stereotyping, but other groups such as African Americans, Mexicans, and Italians are also targeted by traditional racial stereotyping in films. Presenting all these stereotypical portrayals on film would heavily influence a person on their perception of a certain race. As indicated before, the public tends to be influenced by whatever they see in the media. Therefore, motion pictures not only manipulate the audience to believe in the stereotypes that are portrayed but also spread those stereotypes throughout society, which is a reason why racial stereotyping is so common nowadays in our everyday lives.

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Even with the lasting impression that pop culture leaves on society, society is much too diverse to have one set of values. We have to acknowledge that there are too many aspects of society for pop culture to accurately reflect and shape our values. Everyone has their own set of principles and one can agree that pop culture cannot have the capability of shaping what someone believes and what standards they value. However, that does not necessarily mean that pop culture can’t reflect and help one discover their true nature. For example, men in politics “think with their party, not independently” (Twain 14).“They swarm with their party, they feel with their party, they are happy in their party’s approval; and where the party leads they will follow, whether for right and honor or through blood and dirt and mush of mutilated morals” (Twain 14). This example illuminates the idea that “it is our nature to conform; it is a force which not many can successfully resist” (Twain 9). Not many people can form their own opinions and beliefs, so to fit in with the rest of society, one must conform to society’s standards and share the same values as others. While pop culture does have the ability to conform people to society’s standards, it also ultimately “shapes how we see ourselves and how others see us” (Wiltz 3). For example, many teen movies “dramatize not what happens but how things feel” (Denby 7), demonstrating that pop culture can accurately reflect how one sees and feels about oneself along with how others perceive them as well. The subjectivity in pop culture is what reflects how someone sees themself in the real world, allowing one to embrace their beliefs and see themself for who they are. Pop culture plays a significant role in society, and while it can’t reflect all of society’s values, it can help one discover the standards they values they wish to follow.

All in all, pop culture has played a huge role in shaping and reflecting society’s values. It has impacted society in both positive and negative ways and will never fail to influence the public. While pop culture does have the capability to manipulate, influence, and shape people in negative ways, it also can unify people through conformity and help individuals acknowledge their true nature. Ultimately, pop culture has left its mark on the public and will forever impact society one way or another.

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Pop Culture Reflective Essay. (2024, March 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/pop-culture-reflective-essay/
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Pop Culture Reflective Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Mar 27 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/pop-culture-reflective-essay/

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