American Popular Culture Definition

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American Popular Culture

Daniel Villalobos


University of Phoenix
June 29, 2011
Roger Fike

American Popular Culture

There is not a single definition that will describe culture since it evolves and goes for the same as beauty. Without a doubt, there is no answer to the definition of beauty, yet beauty is heavily involved and, associated in today’s media. Media is likely to have an enormous potent effect to the average man or woman about criterions of beauty, forcing the definition of beauty to a new height because beauty never stops evolving and tends to play a very important role in the life of young teenagers and adults.

Retailer catalogs such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Victoria’s Secret tend to feature airbrushed, scantily clad and altered photos of male and female models. Beauty pageants, fashion shows, the Internet, and movies have swamped the public with two-dimensional pictures of beautiful icons and celebrities. There are even television shows that have joined the delegation, playing a role in the image that it portrays such as Skin Deep, The Swan, and Extreme Makeover. America heavily relies on mass media to play a role in molding Americas view of the definition of beauty and reshaping culture at the same time. In present-day society, with the ever-changing idea that portrays images beauty, people rely on the media to help them find the latest trends on how to look and what to wear to stay “in fashion”. According with Hume (1742), “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Perhaps a more modern-day accurate definition would be, “Beauty is in the eye of the media.”

One may say that a beauty standard that is portrayed in present-day media does more negative societal harm than positive images. Even though the allegations tends to lean forward on acknowledging that fact that media does indeed influence ‘harmful-images,” there is not a strong, stable public outcry against media portraying these false and harmful images.

Time and cultures has a major role in the standards of beauty. In Victorian ages, social status was determined on the appearance which one portrays. Women who were to be considered ‘overweight, obese and fat’ in present-day today, had a higher social status. Woman who were considered “plump” were considered of a healthy and a higher class distinction. Artist back then even painted some of the famous women in history having a voluptuous body figure in which present-day, would be diffidently frowned upon the media. An example, Jessica Simpson showed some physical “plumpness” in one of her concerts not too long ago. All of the sudden the media went insane and cameras were focused all of their attention on Jessica Simpson. Scolding and embarrassing her, which was not necessary, just because she gained weight. Back then also, pale skin was more preferred than tanned skin because a person who appeared to have a dark tone skin indicated he or she is laborer working in the field. In the media today, tanned skin indicated that the person is of higher status because of the quality leisure time he or she spent into tanning. In China, Women who had small, often delicate feet were of higher status. This resulted in women binding their feet, painfully uncomfortable, to achieve the standards that he or she are accustomed to.

Society often draws a parallel to what is considered healthy in the standards of beauty. During times when food was scarce, society believed that woman who were heavier were more desirable and healthier, while women who were skinny and slender were considered unhealthy and suffering from malnutrition. In the eye of today’s media, the view on obesity is portrayed as highly unattractive and the basis of serious health risks such as a stroke, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Studies have also proved that women who were obese often had more difficulty bearing children because of health risk. Ironically, studies have also debunked the fact that...
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