Pop-Culture Lover 

I have no shame in a lot of things if I’m completely honest and loving pop-culture is something I will never be embarrassed about.

I don’t believe in ‘guilty pleasures’ and I think the phrase ‘sell out’ should have died a death 15 years ago.

This blog post will be mostly relatable to music but can be applied across most of the arts.

I have this very vivid memory of myself sitting in General Studies in College (that’s 16-18 years old for any non-English people reading). It’s a well known sit-off lesson in the UK and so a few class mates and I were sat around chatting. Some of them had been to Leeds festival the previous summer.

I then witnessed what I can only describe as one of the most face-Palm moments of my life so far. This came from a skinny, slightly spotty boy with his wrist adorned with all of the festival wristbands he’d visited the previous summer up and down his arms.

He proceeded to say that he’d seen his once-favourite band Kings of Leon live and that there were thousands of people at their stage and they’d become ‘such sell outs’.

kol

I asked him what he meant by this. He explained that they’d become too popular and no one appreciated their old stuff like he did.

In my mind, surely a band that you loved so much becoming popular and garnering so much attention is a good thing? Surely you want the best for them and to get to become the best of their profession? Which assuming in the music world is becoming number 1 which therefore in extension means becoming more popular and selling more records.

Apparently to some people there is something unattractive about popularity, about pop-culture that is something to be sniffed at, that the uneducated masses flock to because they can’t make their own decisions about their tastes and preferences. This is where songs and films become guilty pleasures. Ever noticed that guilty pleasures are always something really popular?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do see where people like this are coming from. Harry Potter is my baby. I was just the right age when The Philosopher’s Stone was released and was able to grow up absorbing everything that world had to offer.

Now with the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them being released I do feel like my ‘baby’ is being prised from my arms and being thrown to millions of pre-teens who won’t appreciate him. Young-un’s who don’t get it, who don’t know what it was like to grow up with Harry and have him and his world comfort you when you were experiencing some terrible teenage crisis.

But the best thing about pop-culture is getting to share those experiences. Those new fans of Fantastic Beasts will now go back and experience Harry for the first time and that is amazing because I believe it is worth experiencing.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently travelling in Asia for a few months. If I snubbed things that I deemed ‘sell-outs’ and too popular, I would have nothing to talk to any of my new friends in hostels or bars about.

Pop-culture connects you to people. It gives you things to talk about and bond over. I own a deathly hallows necklace (obviously) and you would not believe the amount of conversations that has started.

Don’t get me wrong, supporting independent, less popular, music and film is good and commendable. But then the point I’m trying to make is, when your favourite independent film becomes super famous, don’t abandon it for some hypothetical moral highground. You liked it for a reason, and so do the other thousands or millions of people that are now sharing this experience with you.

That is nothing to be ashamed about. Pop-culture is amazing and becomes a comment on our society at the time and a reflection of our shared interests and lives.

Embrace shitty pop music and the next big blockbuster- it’ll at least give you something to discuss when you’re next at the pub that’s for sure!

The Revolution of Kim Kardashian

If there is one celebrity, apart from Justin Bieber, who can divide opinion it’s Kim Kardashian. To some people she is the embodiment of a ‘nobody’ in society, famous for nothing and in the media for nothing and people are bewildered at why she continues to be relevant. However, to other people (myself included) she has become somewhat of a 21st century feminist without perhaps consciously meaning to.

Famously, KimK rose to stardom because of a sex tape which began circulating in early 2007, and by October of that same year, she and her family were offered their now world famous reality show ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ which is currently in its ninth season. The tape was released by her ex-boyfriend, Ray J, without Kim’s consent and in turn betraying her trust; essentially attempting to tarnish her name and reputation. It’s also worth mentioning at this point that of course all of the backlash and judgement from the media was aimed at KimK and not at the boyfriend, go figure. Kim was slutshamed whilst Ray J received nothing of the sort. (Anyone else thinking of a certain Christina Aguilera song at the moment? No, just me? I’m just gonna leave this here).

Kim however, then uses this to her advantage. Instead of becoming a victim, which society expects and wants, she builds a career out of this new found fame and instead of feeling ashamed she fights back. And rightly so. Nakedness should not be an excuse to slutshame, degrade or refuse success to a woman. Modern society lives and thrives upon female nudity (advertisements, tv shows, films), yet as soon as this is used to benefit a woman, such as the success Kim has had and made for herself, and not for the benefit of a man, society is unsure how to react.

This brings us onto the enigma of Kim Kardashian. Given the recent celebrity photo scandal in which 4chan released hundreds of personal images owned by female celebrities, it became apparent how men truly believe the photos that these women have taken belong to them. That they are entitled to look at them. It is this entitlement that is linked to KimK’s sex tape. Society viewed the video, shared it, slutshamed and ridiculed Kim, and were then angry that she managed to carve a career out of this betrayal, this is evident in the way that she is treated in the media.

However, now Kim is in a committed marriage and she has a child, she now makes society feel uncomfortable. Whereas before she was ‘the girl with the sex tape’, ‘paris hilton’s friend’, ‘her with the reality show’, she no longer fits into a box. She continues to succeed in her business, her fame, her fashion, her marriage and embrace her sexuality AND seemingly be a good mother. She continues to challenge societies idea of how she should behave. She doesn’t dress like a ‘soccer mom’ or is photographed out buying groceries in sweatpants. She continues to be herself.

kimk and child I found this photo (left) on tumblr, where commenters likened KimK to this painting of ‘Madonna and Child’ which is universally acknowledged to be an embodiment of purity, virginity and innocence. KimK is wearing all black, vampy makeup, lace and a rather low cut dress and yet people have still made this comparison. The media continue to attempt to put Kim into a box, and so its refreshing to see individuals on the internet looking past what Kim is wearing because they know that it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, it fascinates me how Kim has managed to alter peoples views of her and become one of the most famous women in the world.