Pop Culture And Consumerism Analysis

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TSUI Ka Hei Gavin Sagum (54024838) 11 February 2017 Word Count: 1,171 Popular Culture & Consumerism: A critical response City University of Hong Kong EN2718 Popular Literature & Culture “Understanding Popular Culture (Chapter 2)” by John Fiske brings us into the depths of Popular culture around the world, particularly in Western countries. Fiske’s work covers issues like an in-depth meaning of culture, paradoxical goals of cultural commodities, some characteristics of a consumer society and even the art and psychology of shoplifting as a form of determination and deception. However, of the many areas covered by Fiske, I have some profound thoughts and responses to his points of view on a consumerist society, where people make plenty of unnecessary…show more content…
As popular culture is based on the cultural tastes of ordinary people, it would be a majority of people, not the minority of elites, that decides what object or behaviour is acceptable or trendy and what is not. According to Rakow, L. in Feminist Approaches to popular culture, males have monopolised, managed and masculinised human activities, leaving women excluded from other activities. It is observable that the cultural views of the vast majority of people back then would not approve women doing work that was supposed to be done by men such as cabin boys or drivers. Yet today, after the rise of feminism, we are seeing stewardesses outnumbering stewards onboard aircraft and an increasing number of female bus drivers as a result of feminism being ingrained into popular culture. This provides concrete evidence that Popular Culture is steered by ordinary people as the majority instead of the educated elite as the minority. Using this sense in the case of consumerism, luxuries such as designer handbags, clothes and shoes, cosmetics, Electronics of a famous brand and even cars are considered, in the sense of popular culture, fashionable and updated. These products, as inessentials, are expensive to obtain, yet symbolise social status. This psychological effect of acquisition is what drives people to obtain these products without considering their actual purchasing power. In other words, people spend without…show more content…
Advertisements, from those attached to the sides of buses to billboards and television are designed to psychologically and visually communicate to us and lure us into buying that particular product. As mentioned earlier in Fiske’s work, ads do a very good job in treading a fine line between social and product differences. Taking a typical advertisement of Coca-Cola as an example, the ads help achieve high sales figures in a short period of time by using slogans that are slightly aggressive accompanied by a bubbling glass bottle. The slogan represents the social difference and the bubbling glass bottle represents the product difference by making thirsty people buy a Coca Cola at an

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