Oxford Languages defines pop culture as “culture based on popular taste rather than that of an educated elite, usually commercialized and made widely available by the mass media.” Everything in the media affects us, young or old, no matter who uses the media. It doesn’t matter what kind of media we consume; whether it's social media, television, or print, we find ourselves being influenced one way or another. We often find ourselves behaving in the ways that people from “our times” behaved, or we say phrases and words from another particular time. Some trends in the media have either changed the way we live together or sometimes how we interact with each other.
Here are ten moments in pop culture that had an impact on our society!
THE RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
It should come as no shock that social media has a significant impact on almost everything in our lives, so it should obviously come first in this list, considering that most of these topics come from social media. For most of us in college right now, the earliest social media website we knew of, whether we used it or not, was MySpace. MySpace was the basis of social media — a website where people could share their lives and things they love with people that had similar interests. Shortly after, websites like Instagram and Facebook came onto the scene, and from then on, the social media game was never the same. No matter if it’s good or bad, social media has had the most significant impact on our lives in the current day. Whether it’s the latest trend, the current news, or the juicy celebrity gossip that we may have missed out on, we most certainly have social media to thank for it.
CELEBRITY MAKEUP LINES
It’s no secret to us “regular people '' that celebrities have to dip their toes in just about anything and everything, or in this case, dip their brushes into everything, and cosmetics were no different. Although celebrity makeup brands aren’t new and can date back to the 90s with IMAN, a cosmetic brand created by supermodel Iman. However, in 2015 when Kylie Jenner launched her makeup line, Kylie Cosmetics, the cosmetic industry saw a significant change in makeup production. Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic line was very controversial from the beginning of its time. There were many mixed feelings about Kylie producing her own makeup line but the biggest reason people were turning their heads was because of the product she was launching. Her first product that was launched were lips kits that were supposed to give you the “Kylie Jenner lips.” This was very confusing to consumers due to the fact that Kylie wasn’t achieving her full lips by the use of makeup; she had lip fillers that gave her that signature look. Regardless of its controversy, the lip kits sold like hot cakes. The lip kits were so popular and so sought after, they eventually made it to the replica market where third party companies were making fake lip kits to get a quick buck from Kylie’s genius.
Still, no matter if you liked the makeup or not, there is no denying that Kylie Cosmetics was one of the best-selling brands of the year and landed her the title of self-made billionaire by Forbes in 2018. Everyone wanted to get their hands on it. In true Kardashian-Jenner fashion, Kim Kardashian also found her way to the beauty industry with her brand KKW and her famous contour kits that also were surrounded by controversy, much like her sisters.
In 2017, the beauty industry saw another major shockwave when singer Rihanna launched her all-inclusive cosmetic line, Fenty Beauty. Rihanna’s line came with much praise due to her wide shade range where there was practically a shade that anyone could use, no matter the skin tone. Rihanna’s success in the cosmetics industry continues to blossom due to her innovative cosmetics, impressive shade range, and clever social media advertising.
On January 24th, 2013 came one of the greatest forms of social media that the internet has ever seen: the six-second video platform Vine. Vine allowed creators to create short, six-second clips where viewers could like, comment, and “revine” the videos. Vine gave us some of the best and long-lasting quotes and memories we have probably seen online. Many of us have our favorite quotes stored in our heads and probably say them in real life (because that happens a lot). Vine paved the way for other video platforms that would come after it, such as Musical.ly and TikTok, and you can even find some vine references on TikTok today. Unfortunately, in 2017 Vine was shut down. We were no longer able to see the creativity that Vine and its creators had to offer; however, with the help of YouTube, you can still find an endless amount of Vine compilations that will surely bring back some funny memories.
Here are some of the most famous Vine quotes that will surely bring you some nostalgia:
What’s your favorite Vine moment?
SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGES
Every month, it seems like a new challenge hits the internet, some harmless and others that have seen some terrible endings. If you start a challenge and have enough traction, you could be responsible for something that takes over the internet. It’s a wonder why some of these challenges take off the way they do, but that’s the power of social media. Most of these challenges bring people together and enjoy something that is supposed to be funny. The internet has seen some not so severe challenges (although still dangerous) like the cinnamon challenge (where you swallow a spoonful of cinnamon) or the ice bucket challenge (where you get a bucket of ice water dumped on your head to raise money for people with ALS). The internet has also seen some very dangerous challenges like the salt and ice challenge (where you put salt and ice on your skin and get burns on your skin) or the tide pod challenge (where you eat tide pods — not sure how anyone thought that was a good idea). It doesn’t matter whether or not the challenge is good or bad; it is a time to reflect on our decisions and how we need to make smart decisions when we contemplate doing things that we see online.
BLUE & BLACK OR WHITE & GOLD?
Was the dress blue and black or white and gold? If your answer was blue and black, you were right (but that’s what the debate is, right?) In 2015, there were a few days where social media was in complete shambles, and that’s when “the dress” broke the internet. It was just a typical day when this mysterious dress had the internet torn in half when social media users all over couldn’t determine if the dress was striped with white and gold or blue and black. This bizarre dress didn’t come without controversy. Many people online were arguing with each other trying to prove their side (you did it too, don’t lie); there were conspiracy theories about how the dress was photoshopped, and people were trying to debunk this dress. For those of us who lived through it, we know that this dress shook the internet and caused debate for days. So, what color is the dress?
Beyonce has been in the spotlight since the 90s with her debut in the famous girl group Destiny’s Child and throughout her solo career. She has been an incredible force in the music industry with her incredible talent, hard work, and resilience in the business. In 2018, Beyonce became the first black woman to headline Coachella, a yearly music festival in Indio, California. Beyonce’s two-hour-long performance was one of the greatest performances that the Coachella stages had ever seen. Beyonce gave a stellar performance that shocked many and was talked about on social media for days because of the showcasing of Black culture in a way that many people had never seen before. This performance was so exceptional that Netflix created a Beychella special titled “Homecoming,” which showcased the path to the performance and all the hard work that went into this epic performance.
For social media, 2015 was a year that saw many trends and a lot of changes that would stick with us for a very long time. Snapchat was not left out of these changes when in 2015, they introduced “lenses'' or filters to their 24-hour photo-sharing app. These added filters could be seen everywhere, no matter if it was the dog face lense or the flower crown lens that had a stronghold on Snapchat users everywhere. These filters were something that social media had never seen before, and people loved them, and you can still find these filters today. Most people probably still have pictures with these two filters saved in their memories (another notable Snapchat feature) amongst photos of many other popular filters Snapchat offers.
THE 90s: THE DECADE THAT NEVER ENDED
The 1990s, which seems to never end, was the best decade for music, fashion, TV, and many other things to people who lived through it and those who came after. We have all heard that trends come back in cycles, and it seems like a lot of the trends and favorites from this decade don’t fall short of this. There’s never a time in current society where you don’t see something pioneered in the 1990s, and it never goes away. There’s truly something about the 90s that people don’t detach from. Many of the trends that come in and out of the 90s have to do with fashion like Doc Marten, the grunge aesthetic, sweater vests, and super baggy clothes. The music never goes out of style, and the TV shows provide some comfort that we just can’t seem to shake! Certainly, no matter what comes in and out of style over the years, the 90s is always here to stay.
The age-old question of “are reality shows real?” While we can’t always be entirely sure about the integrity of these reality shows and how real they are, we can always be sure to get some sort of entertainment. Reality helps shape how culture works, from the endless amounts of quotes that come from them to the new trends that emerge from them and the new people we come across. There are so many reality shows out there on various networks that there is something for everyone.
If you need a new (or old) reality show to binge-watch, here’s a few options to add to your list:
Laguna Beach (2004-06): A personal favorite, Laguna Beach is a 2000s reality show that showcases the lives of eight high school students living in Laguna Beach, California. In true teenager fashion, there’s love and relationships, friendships, and parties. It is the start of Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari, who are two very honorable mentions in the world of reality TV. This gave Lauren Conrad her spin-off called ‘The Hills,’ an adult version of Laguna Beach.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians (2007-21): Everyone knows the Kardashian-Jenner family and their super-rich and crazy antics. This show doesn’t need much of an introduction or summary; however, it follows this family’s lives and the never-ending drama of the last 14 years!
Jersey Shore (2009-16): Jersey Shore showcases the lives of eight roommates who spent their time partying and living their lives in New Jersey. This show is full of laughing tears, dancing, and some of the most impressive new slang and quotes that many people still refer to.
Love is Blind (2020): Everyone is a sucker for a good love story (or a few), and in March 2020, when we were all stuck in quarantine, we were graced with this epic love reality show. Several people seeking love talk to each other in separate rooms where the only thing they have to fall in love with is the conversations of the other person. This is because these couples can’t see each other until one proposes to the other! This is the show for you if you are into love and romance, along with some tears and a sprinkle of drama!
The Real World (1992-2017): The Real World is precisely what it sounds like! In each season, seven roommates live in a house and have to live with each other in the real world. If you are looking for a show with drama and scandal, there are 32 seasons to enjoy, so you have a lot to choose from!
THE SIMPSONS TO REALITY PIPELINE
The long-running cartoon that started in 1989, The Simpsons, has always been a popular show. However, social media has been in a frenzy in the last few years after noticing that the cartoon has made some very unsettling predictions about the future. The predictions have people trying to wrap their minds around how they have made these predictions, and it has a lot of people researching and finding more episodes. An episode of The Simpsons featured one of the characters, Lisa’s husband, using his futuristic smartwatch. This episode first aired in 1995, but the first smartwatch wouldn’t be developed until 18 years later in 2013. While that example may not be too off the wall, this one will be sure to shock you. In 1993, there was an episode that featured the spread of a deadly disease and the release of killer bees, which is identical to what happened in 2020 with COVID-19 and the “killer hornets'' that seemingly came out of nowhere. There are people out there who believe in the phrase that “life imitates art” but do you think this is a coincidence?
Although these ten pop culture moments don't even touch the surface of the never-ending culture that we live in, these ten moments have played a part in shaping our culture. Whether it’s the thousands of Vine audios that we have integrated into our daily conversations or the reality TV shows that have given us phrases, fashion, and so much more, pop culture is forever evolving and influencing society. Many of these pop culture trends will remain in our culture for generations to come, just like the pop culture trends that our parents and even grandparents experienced when they were our ages. What are some of your favorite pop culture moments?