Popular Culture, usually referred to as Pop Culture is modern culture transmitted via the mass media and aimed particularly at the younger generation. It comes in various forms for instance fashion, music mass media, media objects, entertainment and leisure, fashion and trends, as well as languages.

In simple terms, Pop culture is the set of practices, beliefs, and objects that embody the most broadly shared meanings of a social system.

Popular culture is usually spread and expressed in media outlets like Television, movies, music, books or even websites. The greatest advantage of pop culture is that it tends to be familiar to most people as long as they have media access.


It is undeniable that Pop Culture is the “culture of the people,” and it provides a sense of identity that binds individuals and the society together and it unites the masses on ideals of acceptable forms of behavior.

In this generation, pop culture has made a very big influence on society not only positively but also negatively. This can be witnessed in our ways of expression via the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the movies we enjoy and watch all the way to the homes we decorate. This is because Pop culture is an emotion that can be expressed through our own actions.

Living in a society that is influenced by the pop culture, we all can agree that most people in society, be it women, men or teenagers, look up to and wish to be like celebrities because they are iconic figures in today’s world. While men can look up to footballers or business personnel, women can look up to models or actresses.

However much Pop culture has influenced society beautifully, there are also negative aspects of pop culture that can be damaging to young people;

The communication Effect

Pop Culture has certainly helped young people not only to build but also strengthen relationships with people they feel they are similar with. All the way from their religions, the kind of music they enjoy together to the tiniest detail of the movies they both enjoy watching.
These are points people usually use to start off a conversation and they use them as reference to build strong connections. It has become a very interesting way of communication.

However, if there happens to be a miscommunication from the sources of Pop Culture, there could be an outburst from the people that have once been unified by the same media.

Even when they hit it off because of their similarities, young people tend to get bored very easily so they are over taken by the desire to explore something new. They now find the people who are very similar to them boring and want to hear an opinion that differs from theirs.

Pop culture therefore has also limited the scope of learning because people only look out for others who share the same interests and views so they deny themselves a chance to find out more about things they have less knowledge about.

The self realization Effect

Pop culture is undeniably entertaining, fascinating and also more surrounded to our lives. Positively, the culture has assisted young men, women and teenage girls in self-defining themselves, forming bonds with people from various backgrounds, expanding their knowledge in various subjects, and realizing their value in society.

On the other hand however, It can propagate negative stereotypes, and promote unhealthy and risky behavior. Some people tend to pick out people they believe they are more similar to but they end up sidelining those they believe they are less similar to.

Forming bonds with people from different backgrounds could also threaten moral values because young people tend to learn habits off of people they have connected with, some which could be way against their own cultural and religious beliefs.

The band wagon Effect

With the existence of television channels, social networking sites, blogs, music and film genres, video and computer games, and so on, today’s youth live in a world dominated by technology and pop culture. The pressure to fit in, to be part of the informed and updated crowds, is so strong for today’s youth that most of them live their lives according to what they see in movies, TV shows, and fashion tips from popular magazines.

Optimistically, this builds a confident generation of go getters because some people actually tend to be inspired by movies and documentaries as some turn out to be inspirational.

Negatively, Pop culture can also be a source of confusion and conflict for young people and can create a pressure to conform to certain standards of beauty and behavior.
The kind of beauty standards that young people see online could sometimes be hazardous to their lives but they end up risking their health just to fit in and be like every one else.

The economic effect

Popular culture is also linked to the economy because it increases sales of various mainstream merchandise products associated with well-known Television shows, films, film series, comics, and so on. These items can be clothes, cups, notebooks, posters, or any other logo with a well-recognizable fictional character on it. Many popular clothing brands have even become part of global pop culture.

This eases sale of various products and of course eases the acquisition of these products for the purchasers. While the sellers earn a profit and are even able to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of their Country through tax payment, buyers are satisfied with the ease with which they acquire their desired products.

Pop culture has become an integral part of popular media, and it has been used as a tool to spread messages, promote products, and influence people’s opinions on the commodities that are on sale in the market.

This strategy however has killed the infant or startup industries at home because most of products that people see and love via the media are in most cases from foreign countries. This also leads to foreign countries profiting more from buyers while local industries suffocate in debt.

A clear example is shopping site like Amazon where buyers get commodities from foreign countries more than their own countries.

The likeliness Effect

It is undeniable that pop culture has contributed significantly to the realization of the concept of “global society” by providing people all over the world with a common topics to discuss. It evolves from generation to generation and has a significant impact on youth.

It is often seen as a reflection of the attitudes and values of society, and can influence young people’s thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs.

However, It can also shape young people’s attitudes towards risk-taking, peer pressure as well as drug and alcohol use.


The Educational Effect

On the positive side, pop culture can be a source of education, entertainment, and inspiration. It can provide young people with role models and examples of positive behavior, as well as teach them valuable life lessons. Additionally, popular media can influence how young people perceive themselves and their place in this world.

However, not all lessons turn out to be good. In a negative way, the culture has caused both women and teenagers to idolize some celebrities who engage in unacceptable behaviors therefore altering their perceptions of their own bodies and trying to fit into some beauty standards that do not suit them or are harmful to them.

Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbor is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.”-

Paulo Coelho.

There are aspects of Pop Culture that need to be embraced for the best of society and there are some however that need be abandoned for the good of the Young generation.

Frequently asked questions

Is Tiktok a pop culture?
Indeed. Tiktok is an emerging cultural form in popular culture. It is a media that has connected very many people, younger old, male or female with similar likes as well as cultures and religious affiliations.

Is social media pop culture?
Yes, social media is also a form of Pop Culture. The most common forms of popular culture are movies, music, television, video games, sports, entertainment news, fashion, and various forms of social media like Tumblr, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook. YouTube and the likes.

Who influences pop culture?
There are various influences when it comes to pop culture but urbanization, industrialization, the mass media and the continuous growth in technology since the late 1700s, have all been significant factors in the formation of popular culture. These factors also continue to be factors shaping pop culture today.

What actually makes popular culture popular?
As the ‘culture of the people’, popular culture is determined by the interactions between people in their everyday activities. This includes styles of dress, the use of slang, greeting rituals and the foods that people eat are all examples of popular culture. Popular culture is also very popular due to the fact that it is informed by mass media.

Can pop culture promote social change?
Pop Culture can promote social change. This is because it resonates with people’s emotions, creating an environment where campaigners can go in to win hearts and minds, creating a cultural shift in opinions. This then paves the way for policy change through public and political pressure.

Leticia Nambaziira

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