Rasmussen 1

The Mid-Twentieth Century and the “Culture of Protest” (Essay Question 1) The mid-twentieth century illustrates a shift in the culture of America. The years after World War II introduced a period in our history known as the Cold War. This was the effort between the United States and the Soviet Union for “global supremacy.” The domestic sphere had soldiers returning and starting families, buying homes, and tried to show security and stability in the home. These were the ideas of containment, an International foreign policy, being used in the typical American family. During this time the „baby boomers‟ were growing up and becoming teenagers. They wanted to challenge these ideas and tried to break from the established norms. This introduced the “culture of protest.” (Major Problems, 380) Some of the ideals they fought against include: the gender roles of women only working in the home and sexual norms that included chastity for young unmarried individuals. Groups such as Hippies and Beatniks exemplify a counter cultural movement. They went against the norms. The golden age of the 1950s is manufactured. Shows during that time focused on white, suburban families that showed the gender and social norms the teenagers disagreed with. Music like Rock „n‟ Roll also shows the counter cultural music. The lyrics showed the protest of these teenagers to the ideals of their parents. Musicians like Elvis Presley dominated the music charts. Girl groups like the Shirelles were introduced. Major Problems introduces one of their songs that “featured an adolescent female voice deliberating plaintively about whether or not she should succumb to the seductive promises of love from her boyfriend. Should she give in and have sex with him, or heed the advice she had heard all her life.” (Major Problems, 401) Movies also showed the counter cultural ideals of the growing teenagers. James Dean starred in the movie Rebel without a Cause. He plays a middle-class teenager, Jim, in the movie.

and showing the idea of parents just not understanding. The film shows him disobeying his parents. The reason this movie is titled Rebel without a Cause. The movements of the sixties are in response of what began with the non-conformists of the late 1950s. Instead of domestic bliss. Namely. Jim is shown as not wanting to be called a “chicken.” This is mostly because of how his father acts and his lack of respect for him. what was the reason for all of the violence? This movie showed the pointless violence. is because his friend is fatally shot at the end and it points to very obvious questions. When things end tragically for the bully. Jim doesn‟t want to fight with the bullies and only gets involved when they call him a chicken. The portrayal of his parents is also in contrast to what the television sitcoms were portraying.Rasmussen 2 He is a rebellious teenager and is shown at the beginning of the film getting in trouble at a police station. and gender roles were bending. . Music opened doors for women. sexual norms were fought against. These teenagers didn‟t even know what they were fighting for. Jim‟s parents are often shown fighting and his mother most often wins. Throughout the confrontations with his family and the bullies from his school. As the 1970s approached the ideals of the Beatniks and Hippies began being embraced as historical events like the Kennedy Assassinations and the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr. defying bullies. His father is portrayed as weak and this disappoints Jim. Jim is further confused and shows he needs guidance. of the 1960s shaped the movements.

The advertisement for Kodak makes the consumer think that if they buy any other camera other than a Kodak then it is an inferior product. It also represented what the companies wanted you to believe you needed. 186) In class. (Major Problems.” The advertisements modeled what we refer to as classified ads. It offered items for consumptions as an answer to solve life‟s dilemmas. Instead of looking for what you had a need for the advertisements wanted to tell you what you needed. It emphasized that the Kodak brand was for the sophisticated man and by using Kodak you were sophisticated. The advertisement was actually for Listerine and explained the reason she was alone was because of her bad breathe. Major Problems illustrates the shift from text based advertisements to the more image based advertisements we are used to.Rasmussen 3 Images and the Manufacturing of Pop-Culture (Essay Question 3) When advertisements were first used it was more text describing the actual product. She was very beautiful and looked to have it all. It advertised that with that car you could get the beautiful woman and that lifestyle. When car advertisements began to show a man and a beautiful women it didn‟t advertise the car. Manufacturing changed the need for ads. The Kodak ad showed a man dressed in a nice business suit. One that stuck out was a woman looking in the mirror wondering why she couldn‟t find a man and get married. . These were “factual descriptions. (Major Problems. 185-86) Image became more important because it represented the ideals. This introduced a new level of consumption. Advertisements raised consumption to new levels and turned everything into a commodity. The image had nothing to do with a bottle of Listerine but the connection was made. we discussed various advertisements and how they changed to focus more on image.

Realizing this I stopped purchasing all of these “great” products. They began an advertising campaign stating “I want my MTV!” This was said by many musicians and appeared in print and television ads. It offered to do everything I needed in one product so I bought it. My first reaction was that is the product I need! Because of the lectures and reading of this class I realized I was being sucked in to the exact spot the advertisers wanted. As more advertisements are showing ideals that we should aspire too and stating their product will help get it. Even though I basically had the same product I felt that it wasn‟t going to work as good as the other and that it was inferior. As roles change sometimes advertisements respond and sometimes they are the cause. In 1981 MTV began but was not near as popular as it is now. improved. These ads are saying mini-vans are cool and you can have all of these cool gadgets and fit your whole family.Rasmussen 4 Many critics argue that because we have become a consumer based society that is manufactured. . So I bought the new cream. I believe that our culture is so used to being inundated with images and the messages associated with them that we don‟t even realize it. This is appealing to guys. Then I saw another product for a competing product with all of the same features but it said it was better than their competitors. A recent example is I saw an advertisement for this new face cream. Some examples I have seen in the late twentieth century have been MTV and car advertisements. I was buying into it. I was buying all of these different products to get the wonderful complexion they were showing. best thing on the market. One commercial shows a black panther turning into a sleek black minivan. we are continuously searching for the next best thing. It was only in a few markets. By making the station theirs and not getting it. the message they were being denied what is rightfully their emerged. After I purchased this I saw another advertisement that was supposed to be the new. The new car commercials about minivans are emerging and showing them as tough and how they are full of gadgets.

Rasmussen 5 Definition of Popular Culture (Mini-Essay) My definition of popular culture is similar to the one presented in class. Bush stated that we needed to move our family values back towards the Cleavers from Leave it to Beaver and away from The Simpsons. advertisements. W. In class we discussed how popular culture provokes nostalgia. With product. George H. The Cleavers were manufactured ideals showing the gender and social norms of the “golden age. It helps us understand our modern society alongside the different generations of the past. It is important to study popular culture because it helps us understand moments in time through different media forms. It also focuses on our similarities with those generations and by understanding our past we can be more knowledgeable in our future. . Both of these shows illustrate popular culture. Popular culture is the process of making everything. and music we are able to experience how popular culture is ever-evolving. In the late 1980s. I agree because many people use popular culture from the past to move their own agenda forward. movies. a commodity and its purpose is to provoke consumption.” The Simpsons are completely counter-cultural and a parody of everything the Cleavers represent. including lifestyles and people.

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