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The Pop Culture in 1980s and the Pop Culture in 2010

Popular culture also known as common, folk or public culture has been defined differently by different scholars. According to Fedorak (2009), it is a culture that is found in all societies and is common in everyday life. It is the summary of symbolism, performance and expression that does not only influence but also reflect human culture. It has also been defined as culture that is highly favored by many people and also as the residue of the high culture (Summary of Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, 2010).

Although popuar culture is much more than entertainment, it can be said to be the most dominant aspect. Since culture affects many aspects of human life, popular culture has many symbols like graphics, novels, music instruments like drums and whistles, children dolls, different fashion styles like banana skirts and jeans, movies and different kinds of music. In America and Europe, it is dominated by pop music, films, sports and television. While some aspects of popular culture are common to every cultural grouping, there are still some differences due to ethnicity, gender and class.

For instance, bridal showers and wedding ceremonies are carried out differently in different cultural groupings. However, in most societies, studies of Fedorak (2009) indicate that such ceremonies reflect the socio economic importance of joining the two people together. Even though there is a significant difference between the main culture and popular culture, sometimes, it is difficult to draw the line that can differentiate the two cultures. In view of the fact that popular culture changes constantly, this essay shall compare and contrast popular culture of 1980s with popular culture of 2010.

There are a lot of similarities between pop culture of 1980s and the pop culture of the year 2010. The decade of 1980s was marked by major development in technology that greatly affected people’s way of life. For instance, it marked the beginning of extensive use of computer technology. In the same decade, World Wide Web was developed that connected people in different parts of the world. Individuals started acquiring computers and using them for different purposes. Creation of World Wide Web changed the people’s manner of interaction.

The same trends that started in 1980s due to change in technology are still evident even in the year 2010. For example, there is extensive use of internet for various social and educational purposes. Internet dating and internet games are still common due to extensive use of World Wide Web. Use of mobile phones in communication started in the 1980s although it was not widespread as it is today. Majority of people all over the world preferred using mobile phones as it was not only effective but also cheap.

Currently, use of mobile phones which started in 1980s is still evident since a very large percentage makes use and own mobile phones. The pop culture of 1980s and 2010 is marked by fragmentation of youth culture. Each group of youth culture is marked by a different lifestyle, music and fashion. Studies of Danesi (2008) record that towards the end of 1980, groups like mods, preps, Goths and grudge to mention just a few had emerged. The preferred music by then was hip hop and rap and due to emergence of reading culture, bookstores ended up becoming entertainment centers.

There was also the use of digital technology especially in the media industry. Similarly, in the year 2010, some music styles of 1980s like hip hop and rap are still dominant. The reading culture is also still dominant although currently there are a lot of publications which include books, newspapers and magazines as well as other publications. Moreover, the decade is still marked with fragmentation of youth culture which gives rise to a lot of subcultures. Various studies indicate that 1980 was a very important decade for television since television shows were very popular.

Shows that illustrated family life like Married with Children were very popular (The People History: 1980S, 2009). Moreover, digital technology which improved as years progressed made it possible for more television stations to be opened in all parts of the world. Similarly, television watching in the year 2010 is still rampant although there are a variety of shows that are watched currently. In addition, television stations are increasing at a high rate as television is still important not only due to entertainment, but also for education purposes.

Fashion and dressing style is a very important aspect of popular culture as it reflects a lot about individuals. Even though a lot about fashion has changed, some styles which were evident in 1980s are still evident today. For instance, the hair styles of 1980s ranged from a completely shaved head to wild hair styles like Mohawk hairdos. People still used dyes on their hair changing the original color. Accessories like chains and army boots were also being used to compliment ones dressing. Cross dressing was observed where people would wear clothes worn by a different race or ethnic group.

Similarly, in the year 2010, a lot of aspects of fashion introduced in the 1980s are still evident like hair styles and hairdos. In addition, cross dressing is still observed and widespread and in most cultural groupings, there is no clear cut between women and men clothes. Beauty accessories like chains and necklaces are still being used and play a great role in complementing ones looks and dressing (Fedorak, 2009). Gender roles are important aspects of any culture as they are culturally determined. Although change of gender roles may have a long history, the same was still evident in the 1980s.

More specifically, debate about empowerment of women has been the main subject for quite some time. Movements were established with an aim of empowering women to compete with men effectively in social, education and in the political arena. Debate about equality was also common in almost each and every society. Although currently there is no much debate about gender equality, gender roles have changed such that much of what was initially done by men can be done by women. Moreover, women are taking part actively in politics without much hindrance (Andersen & Taylor, 2005).

As much there are some similarities between the popular culture of 1980s and 2010, one cannot negate the fact a duration of thirty years is enough to cause a lot of changes. As highlighted earlier, pop culture changes constantly as years progress. However, the main difference results from changes in technology which affect all aspects of culture ranging from entertainment to other aspects of the same. For instance, a lot of changes have taken place since the establishment of the World Wide Web. Studies of Danesi (2008) indicate that in 1980s, a lot of information on the internet was only in printed form.

Currently, internet does not only contain graphics but also audio sounds, graphics and animation. Therefore, unlike in 1980s where one would only print or read information from the internet, currently one can choose to listen or even watch videos. Several aspects relating to and concerning the music of 1980s portrays a great contrast to today’s music. For instance, in 1980s, music was recorded on cassette tapes and vinyl records. Currently, due to digital technology music is recorded on compact disc, DVDs and also on MP3s.

Moreover, internet has become an important source of downloading and uploading music as well as a place where people search for new forms of music. Although hip hop, reggae and rap music of 1980s are still dominant, 2010 is marked by a very wide range of types and forms of music. Discos which were very popular in 1980s especially among the youths are no longer very popular but people nowadays prefer music live shows and concerts (Danesi, 2008). In 1980s, reading materials like books, magazines and other publications were stored in traditional bookstores and libraries.

Similarly, video tapes and music was also stored in the music libraries. People used to obtain such materials from libraries that were built for that particular purpose. On the contrary, internet technology has made things quite easy. For instance, instead of borrowing music and video discs from a library, one can obtain the same from the internet after paying a subscription fee. There are online libraries where one can access reading materials after subscribing. Lecture notes can also be posted on the internet for students to read.

Moreover, scholars make use of the same to communicate with other scholars and to discus various issues related to education. Virtually everywhere in the world, people are using internet extensively for various purposes including education where it is even possible to complete a whole course online without attending lectures physically. In addition, people are spending leisure time in the cyber (Danesi, 2008). Although computers came into being in 1980s, they were not used extensively for communication as they are being used today. For instance, people were more accustomed to using telephone, fax and other means of communication.

Currently, a lot of people in almost all parts of the world are using internet to communicate not only through emails but also through collaboration sites such as twitter, facebook, MySpace among others. Chatting is also very common unlike in the 80s. A study of pop culture during different periods has indicated that there are some similarities and differences between the pop culture of the 1980s and that of 2010. There are a lot of differences as culture is dynamic and prone to changes as well as growth. For instance, in the music arena, Michael Jackson and Madonna were the famous musicians in 1980s.

Popular cars were Toyotas and Hondas while movies like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark were mostly preferred. Television shows included Married with Children, The Simpsons and Falcon Crest. Currently a car like Hummer H2, musicians like Norah Jones and movies like The Matrix Revolution and television shows like Crime Scene Investigation are the most popular (Danesi, 2008). The major similarities that exist in the pop culture of 1980s and pop culture of 2010 is mainly in the aspect of fashion like hair styles and also some form and types of music.

As Fedorak (2009) notes, popular culture may be an interesting topic but it is also a complicated topic to handle. This is due to the fact that like the main culture, it is wide and dynamic and it is difficult to come up with one universal definition. Moreover, as highlighted earlier in this essay, it is difficult to draw the line between popular culture and other cultures. Nonetheless, the study has indicated that though some aspects of popular culture have changed with time, others have still persisted. References Andersen, M. L. , & Taylor, H. F. (2005).

Sociology: understanding a diverse society. Stamford : Cengage Learning. Danesi, M. (2008). Popular culture: introductory perspectives. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. Fedorak, S. (2009). Pop Culture: The Culture of Everyday Life. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Summary of Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. (2010). Retrieved August 10, 2010, from http://www. bukisa. com/articles/225270_summary-of-cultural-theory-and-popular-culture The People History: 1980S. (2009). Retrieved August 10, 2010, from http://www. thepeoplehistory. com/1980s. html

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