Written Analysis: Formula

Formulas are described in Ray Browne’s Popular Culture: a Reader as “a sophistication and narrowing of the concept of myth into the realization that all cultural expressions develop in a mixture of the old and new, the well established and the newly developing, that is, conventions and inventions” (Browne, 2005). Formulae are used in every story we read, every movie we watch, every video game we play, and every comic book hero that we idolize. It is a tried-and-true way of created a “new” story that we already know people love because they have gone to see it again and again and Marvel comics are no exception.

Marvel comic book heroes all follow the same basic pattern: weak and powerless person suffers some tragedy that they were unable to prevent, they gain powers (via mutation, genetic experimentation, radioactive contamination, or a simple “super suit”), and then use those powers to attempt to stop anyone else from suffering tragedy like they did, saving all of humanity in some instances. We also never see a super hero truly die. Many super heroes have been killed off in an epic battle only to be brought to life an issue later to save their town from impending destruction.

The formula of underdog-beats-the-odds is not new to mainstream entertainment: it is very popular in sports movies, children’s movies, and even romantic comedies (a maid marrying a millionaire sound like a typical underdog to me (Maid in Manhattan, 2002). But the comic book industry uses it only to start their story off. Someone weak usually suffers some sort of tragedy—we’ll use Ororo Munroe (aka Storm) as an example—Storm was the daughter of a Kenyan princess and an American photojournalist and lived with her parents in Cairo until she was five years old—when a plane crashed into her home and killed both of her parents. There was nothing at all she could have done to stop that from happening (nothing anyone could have done without some sort of unnatural powers). She then lived a hard life as a street urchin and pickpocket, her powers not showing themselves until she was in her teens. She then gained the ability to control the weather and served a tribe in Kenya as their goddess, protecting them from supernatural threats until she was called to help save the world and join the X-Men (Ororo Munroe). Even without someone calling her to help save the world, she offered her power to help those unable to do so, to save people from suffering the same fate she suffered.

As stated before, heroes never stay dead. DC Comics killed off their most beloved super hero, Superman, in the 90s, selling more than 2 million copies of the issue that he died in (When DC killed superman they almost killed the comic book industry, 2010). But he didn’t stay dead long. He came back to life and it soon became a common thing to kill off super heroes and have them resurrected to fight again. There is a saying in the comic book industry that “no one stays dead except for Uncle Ben” (No One Stays Dead in Comics, 2014) and Uncle Ben is not killed in every universe within the Multiverse, so technically, he is not 100% dead. Many Marvel characters even have the ability to resurrect themselves (or regrow their body after it being smashed to bit in Wade Wilson’s ( Deadpool) case) and don’t stay dead as a part of their own story and ability set.

While different comic book characters may all seem very unique and have very different abilities or backgrounds, all suffer from the same basic origin story: weakling suffers tragedy, weakling gains power, now-powerful-weakling seeks to protect others (and possibly avenge said tragedy). This basic formula of a weak person becoming strong and defeating evil is something that has brought viewer to movies, readers to books, and gamers to video games. It is a classic tale and loved by everyone. Resurrecting characters, however, is more of a publicity stunt, acting on reader’s emotions to sell more copies for a storyline that keeps you on the edge. Knowing that all things that are made to sell contain some formula that was used by the writer to garner interest makes some stories a little less interesting, but the many different personalities seen in comics help to hide this so that you do not feel as if you are seeing the same origin story over and over again.


When DC killed Superman they almost killed the comic industry. And Marvel is about to reload the gun…. (2010, November 27). Retrieved March 21, 2016, from https://comicbookgrrl.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/when-dc-killed-superman-they-almost-killed-the-comic-industry-and-marvel-is-about-to-reload-the-gun/

Browne, R. B. (2005). Profiles of popular culture: A reader. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Williams, O. (2015, October 9). No One Stays Dead In Comics: 16 Superhero Deaths And How Long They Lasted. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/comic-book-deaths/

Deadpool (Wade Wilson). (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://marvel.com/universe/Deadpool_(Wade_Wilson)

Ororo Munroe (Earth-616). (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Ororo_Munroe_(Earth-616)




My Favorite

Alice in Wonderland was my favorite childhood movie. This movie wasimage_a80c747a.jpeg something I loved as a child and I still enjoy watching occasionally. It was not the typical girl movie of my time where princesses waiting for princes to come and save them, or fell in love someone they’ve barely known. It showed a girl going on her own journey, making her own decisions. And it was just plain weird. Once I was in high school I read Lewis Carroll’s books and I even purchased The Annotated Alice which had notes in it about why Carroll wrote what he did or what he meant in a particular section. I have always been into weird and Alice in Wonderland was the first weird film I had seen. It was so different from anything else in my time, where we watched someone explore their own imagination rather than break some curse or run away from their evil step parent.

There are some stereotypes about women that are evident in the movie though. While Alice is not waiting on a prince to come save her like other Disney heroines at the time, she did display some negative characteristics of women. She was easily controlled by the men in the movie, she ate what they told her to, went to fetch gloves for the white rabbit even though she was not his housemaid, follows the direction of the Cheshire cate, and sits and listens to Tweedledee and Tweedledum even though she is in a hurry (Disney, 1951). Throughout the entire movie, the only person she stands up to is the Queen of Hearts who is another woman. She is also shown to cry when she has to face hard decisions or things don’t seem to go as well as they could. When she grows too large to leave the first room she comes to, she begins to cry so hard that she ends up creating an ocean. And when she loses her way in Tulgey Wood, she sits down and cries until the Cheshire cat shows up to show her the way out (Disney, 1951). This shows women as being emotionally unable to handle heavy or hard decisions because we may break into tears at the thought of how “unfair” things are.


Alice shows many negative reactions in her emotions. She is constantly annoyed people and has many angry outbursts. When confronted by the flowers about her not being a flower, she angrily stomps off, offended that they think she is a weed, and tells them that “If I were my right size, I could pick every one of you if I wanted to. And I guess that’d teach you” (Disney, 1951). And says to herself that they could learn about manners. She is also pestered by a mother bird who is convinced that she is a serpent trying to steal her eggs and simply shrinks herself to avoid the bird, not dealing with the conflict, but running away. And another negatively represented female character is the Queen of Hearts. The Queen of hearts is shown as easily flattered, easy to anger, and mentally unstable. Neither are shown to warm, empathetic characters as most women in movies seem to be portrayed today.

Queen of Hearts with the King of Hearts

While the movie was created in 1951, it was based on two book s by Lewis Carroll that were published in 1965 and 1971, in the Victorian era. In the Victorian era, women were meant to be well-educated homemakers. According to Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice,

“A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages….; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions…”(Austen, 1995)

Women were not allowed to work and had the have certain “accomplishments” in order to attract a husband and were not allowed to actively seek one (Hughes). This could be why Alice is not like other princesses, forever seeking “true love” and instead is on a creative journey through her own imagination.



Austen, J. (1995). Favorite Jane Austen novels: Complete and unabridged. New York: Dover Publications.

Disney, W. (Producer). (1951). Alice in Wonderland [Motion picture on VHS]. US: Walt Disney Productions.

Hughes, K. (n.d.). Gender roles in the 19th century. Retrieved March 06, 2016, from http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/gender-roles-in-the-19th-century

Stereotypes in Marvel Comics

In Profiles of Popular Culture, stereotypes are defined

Hulkling and Wiccan, openly gay couple since their debut

as “the generalities of life cut down to a fine point concerning a particular subject and directed usually toward a special goal” (Browne, pp. 102). Marvel comics are full of stereotypes and attempts to subvert them. There are characters that act intentionally not like a stereotype and there are characters that embrace stereotypical behavior. Then there are the characters that struggle to overthrow a stereotype, maybe successfully, maybe not. There are a multitude of stereotypes in Marvel comics and have been for generations; African-Americans, Asians, Germans, Women, Gays—all have stereotypes that they follow or struggle with throughout Marvel comics.




One example of a character that is subject to stereotypes is Betty Ross, originally seen in Captain America comics. She is the daughter of General “Thunderbolt” Ross, a controlling man that sends her away to boarding school after the death of her mother. Sh

Betty Ross as Avengers PR agent in Ultimate Marvel

e becomes an FBI agent in the 40s and on multiple occasions gets into trouble and needs to be rescued by Captain America and his sidekick Bucky. That demonstrates the stereotype that mean are stronger than women. The trope of the “damsel in distress” is widespread throughout comic books, movies, and fairy tales. While Ross could be seen as a strong woman, capable enough to be an FBI agent, she is still in need of rescue by men who are “far superior”, even though Bucky had no superpowers, only military training (Kirby, 1941) which we should assume an FBI field agent should be more than capable of using herself. She is later used as bait for the Hulk many times because of her relationship with Bruce Banner in the Ultimate Marvel series (Millar, 2000).



Marvel did later nod to the fact that she was aware that she was pushed around and helpless in Marvel Ultimate where she injects herself with Hulk serum and becomes She-Hulk in order to help the Hulk fight off Wolverine who was sent to kill him. But this only perpetuated the stereotype that women are emotional (and from a military point of view, therefore unfit for battle) and make rash decisions. She deliberately disrupted a mission to kill the Hulk because she was in love with Bruce Banner (Hulk’s human form) and went as far as to commit grand treason and help a national criminal escape death (Millar, 2000). Ultimate Marvel is an “updated” version of certain Marvel characters to better fit them with today’s popular beliefs and cultures, and though some may see this as a woman showing strength and fighting for what she believes in, Betty Ross could have just as easily been shown to suffer with the loss of Bruce Banner and show loyalty to her country, a struggle which could have resulted in her injecting herself with the serum anyway but with better reason than “let me abandon my morals and help save the man I’m in love with”. Afterward, she is captured and used as bait against the Hulk—back to the same scenario that was prevalent when she had no superpowers.

Betty Ross transforming into SHe-Hulk

In the Earth-616 universe, Betty Ross indeed becomes the Red She-Hulk without leaving the loyalty to her country in the dust for a man. Though this time, it was at the urging of her father who had saved her body in cryostasis after she was poisoned while living as a fugitive with the Hulk (Loeb, 2010). So one again, her father is controlling her life. Literally this time. As Red She-Hulk, Betty Ross is aggressive, but not in the same way as the original Hulk. She does not lose her human self when she is a Hulk, only is she becomes “pure-hulk” where she gains strength from absorbing energy from other Hulks and loses all sense of herself (Loeb, 2010). But even Red She-Hulk has her feminine stereotypes, even if she has more control than other Hulks. Red She-Hulk reverts to human form when scared (Loeb, 2010). This again shows women as weak—the fact that the Hulk changes into a rampaging beast with immense strength when scared or angry and she snaps back to a weak little human form when scared makes it look like women are unable to handle tough situations, unable to perform under pressure.

Betty Ross as Red She-Hulk

While Marvel comics are chock full of other stereotypes, one of the ones that resonates with me the most is way in which women are depicted. Some may not notice these stereotypes, and indeed, Marvel has changed a lot of characters to meet with more politically correct views of the current populace, they still show themselves in many ways. Some of this may be due to the fact that they did not want to entirely change the personalities of characters when they did the reboot Ultimate Marvel, but some women may still find it offensive. Female characters in marvel comics and movies are never shown as the perfect role models that men are. Pepper in Iron Man may be the CEO of a fortune 500 company, but she is always in need of rescuing by her metal boyfriend. Gwen Stacy in the Amazing Spiderman was intelligent, beautiful, had plenty of money, but she too needed rescued by a super hero. Storm from the X-Men team was the leader, yet she constantly questioned her ability to lead. No woman is shown to be powerful and successful. She can be one or the other, but someone will have to save her at some point, no matter how strong she may be. Hopefully we will see female characters develop into something that doesn’t need to be saved as comic book characters become more and more popular.



Browne, R. B. (2005). Profiles of popular culture: A reader. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Kirby, J. and Simon, J. (1941) Captain America Comics #1. Marvel Comics.

Loeb, J. and Pak, G. (2010) World War Hulks. New York: Marvel Comics.

Millar, M. (2000). Ultimate Marvel. New York: Marvel Comics.




Myth Analysis: The American Dream

The myth that I chose to analyze is that of the American Dream. The American Dream varies in definition from era to era, person to person. In the past, you were usually considered to be living the American Dream if you worked your way up from the bottom of society and are now sitting at the top (or at least the top of the middle). Nowadays the living the American Dream is considered providing a better life for your chillana_del_rey___damn_you_by_hyonicorn-d7hyoyd.pngdren than what you had growing up (How Do Americans Define the American Dream in 2015?, 2015). And the definition again begins to change as a new generation ages up; Lana Del Rey states in her song Damn You that “living life on the run” and “getting messed up for fun” is the American Dream, having nothing to lose and just enjoying oneself (Damn You, 2012). Such a hedonistic approach to life has become commonplace in today’s younger generation and has begun to warp the American dream once again to fit the new ideals or the millennial generation. Seeking nothing but pleasure and excitement may not be the American Dream for everyone, but to be comfortable with one’s place in society seems to be the unfailing similarity between all these ideas, whether that means making a lot of money or having a lot of fun (or both) depends on the person (and maybe the generation).

The song Pink Houses by John Mellencamp describes two different men who both have grown comfortable in their lifestyles. The first man, the “black man with a black cat living in a black neighborhood”, thinks he’s got it made. He has “an interstate running through his front yaindexrd” so he can’t be living in a great neighborhood where you should have more property and be far away from disturbing noises. The “woman in the kitchen cleaning up evening slop” he has been with a long time (it may be his wife, it may not be), long enough for him to remember her when she was young and beautiful and he tells her that “I remember when you could top a clock”( Pink Houses, 1983). He is not unhappy with his partner, he is not unhappy with his home, he even has a cat, yet none of it screams middle-class, or mentions upper-middle class, or even whispers upper-class lifestyle. The other man mentioned in the song is the young man; he is described as having “a greasy hair, greasy smile”. He used to be told that he could be president some day but he is happy with his current status in society, stating that “Lord, this must be my destination” and has given up on any dreams like being president, calling them “crazy dreams”( Pink Houses, 1983). This man shows that the American Dream for him was simply that—a dream. The idea of pursing something like being president came and went as he grew older and became content with his current life. We don’t know anything else about the young man’s life, but he sounds like he is happy. And the black man, he may have had dreams too, but they may have faded away and having his woman and his home are now his dream because they made him happy.

The movie The Wolf of Wall Street has both the traditional “rags to riches” American Dream and the millennial “life of fun” American Dream. The main character in this movie, Jordan Belfort, loses his job and takes a lousy job at a brokerage firm w6738.jpghere he learns some shady dealings and begins to make a lot of money selling stocks. He opens his own firm and eventually becomes a billionaire, but not all by legitimate means. He had a huge home, tons of money, plenty of expensive cars—and came from nowhere. Though the rags to riches idea is usually for those who worked hard to make their money—those who became rich my legitimate means—the rags to riches American Dream can still be applied to him as he literally went from nothing to being a billionaire. Jordan Belfort can also be included in the millennial view of the American Dream as he has a heavy reliance on Quaaludes, alcohol, and an extravagant lifestyle. His company was shown partying and drinking during their workday—there was even a parade in the office at one point in time—and Jordan’s closest associates were encouraged to partake in alcohol and drug abuse along with him. He lived a life of excitement, blowing his money on yachts, parties, expensive toys (like his Jaguar) and seeking ultimate pleasure (The Wolf of Wall Street, 2014). A life I’m sure Lana Del Rey would find extremely enticing.

The American Dream has survived generations though it has transformed over the years and will continue on to the generations to come because it is something that gives us hope. The American people are not limited to the social class that they are born into, we have the opportunity to better ourselves and move up in society—maybe with athletic ability, secondary education, or just dumb luck—we have an opportunity that other countries may not offer. That idea that we can move up, that we can offer a better life than we had for our children, that we can become rich and famous is what keeps us striving for a better future. Some countries do not have the same opportunity as we do—in India, there is a social caste system that you are born into and are not capable of moving up or down in. You can not marry into another caste and your caste determines what kind of work you are able to do (India’s Caste System). A system like that does not allow you to hope to change your future by bettering yourself, it does not give you reason to pursue higher education, to develop a special talent, to hope for a better future like we have in America. While the rags to riches American Dream through hard work may not be the ideal American Dream for today’s society, the idea that we can do anything, be anything no matter our place in society is something that will continue to inspire generations to come.

While I may a millennial, I do not adhere to the life of fun and excitement American Dream but I also do not adhere to the rags to riches American Dream. I grew up with hedonistic ideals—I did what I wanted regardless or others opinions, sought only to enjoy myself, though not in a drinking and partying sense like others my age. But as I grew older, developed relationships, my values changed. I used to think marriage was a useless social convention and that it would never happen to myself—I was having too much fun by myself. But then I found a serious partner. We discussed having children, we got married, and now we’re house hunting. I still struggle with wanting to do things by myself, wanting to spend time by myself, by expensive toys (like Xbox’s or PlayStations) for myself, but I have to refrain and discuss it with my husband. I now have to think long-term and not just go out and buy whatever I want. The American Dream for me used to be living by myself, making money by becoming a famous author, being surrounded by nature, and just enjoying life. Now, I want a brand new car that has high safety ratings for my future children, I want a suburban house in a good school district, I want my children to be sporty and intelligent, hell—I want children. Sometimes people can change your ideals, sometimes you just grow out of them. I think in the future as I watch movies I will be able to see how the American Dream is transforming. As new movies come out, the transforming American Dream will be visible over the years and I can see if my own dream has changed along with the changing opinions of the time. I’m sure it will continue to change as I get older and the world changes around me.




Scorsese, M. (Director). (2014). The wolf of Wall Street [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Mellencamp, J. (1983). Pink Houses. On Uh-Huh [CD]. Jackson County, Indiana: Riva.

Manian, R. (n.d.). India’s Caste System. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/indias-caste-system.html

Fernández, O. (2012, September 13). Lana del rey – Damn you Full Version. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nChgJXiO9U

Vanity Fair. (2015, April 16). How Do Americans Define the American Dream in 2015? Retrieved February 28, 2016, from http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/04/what-is-the-american-dream


Written Analysis: Myth, Icon, Popular Belief

A theory from Profiles of Popular Culture that applies to my topic of Marvel characters is that myths are used to create a false sense of superiority (Profiles of popular culture). Marvel characters may not be myths in the typical sense of the word (I’m sure the majority of society does not believe that they truly exist), but the same idea can be applied to them. They are an ideal person who can handle things in ideal ways—not always in the “good” way, but a better way than we may have thought possible.

Super heroes give us a character to emulate, a person to look up to, but someone who experiences some of the same problems that we do. Iron Man may be able to defeat gods and aliens, but he still has to maneuver the rocky slopes of romance and personal relationships. He has a terrible personality but he shows us how to handle issues with humor, rather than letting us beat ourselves up about it. Seeing him have to handle harder situations (self-sacrifice is a pretty big decision to make) and show bravery while still taking the time to show that he cares about Pepper in the last Avengers movie makes him more human (Avengers). We look at a person who is giving up everything but still cares about others and that gives us something to strive for.

Super villains also have role in emulation—they give us something not to emulate. Loki has been featured in a couple of the new Marvel movies like Thor and all of the Avenger movies and he is a trickster, a coward, someone who seeks power but runs away when he fight comes to him, even severing family ties in search of power (Avengers). He is a prime example of someone you do not want to emulate. It helps that usually Marvel villains lose. Or else they join the “good” side and forever work to change themselves to gain the trust of other heroes.

With this in mind, it’s clear that Marvel characters are created not just for entertainment, but to give us something to strive toward. We may not be able to swing on webs across the city like Spider Man, but we can always hope to be like Peter Parker—go from a nerd that no one noticed to having a successful career and eventually settling down with that girl-next-door (The Amazing Spider-Man). But even Peter Parker experiences hardship and loss and we can see how he handles it throughout different comics and films. When he makes a poor decision, we can see how that hurts someone and choose to handle a similar situation more tactfully. Or if something goes swimmingly, we can try to emulate his choice or reaction and hope it goes the same way.




Browne, R. B. (2005). Profiles of popular culture: A reader. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Lee, S. et al. (Mar. 1963 –Nov. 1998), The Amazing Spider-Man Vol #1, Issues #1-292. Marvel Comics.

Whedon, J. (Director). (2015). Avengers: Age of Ultron [Motion picture]. United States: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Icon Analysis

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga blew up in the music industry in 2008 with her hit song Poker Face and soon became one of the most recognizable names in Pop. She grabbed attention wherever she went with her many outrageous outfits (raw meat, anyone?) but she did more than just prance around I weird clothes and sing about disco-sticks. I chose Lady Gaga as a pop icon because she helped to bridge the gap between social groups. In a high school setting, she helped to bridge the gap between the social elite and the outcasts because her message in both music and life is that it is okay to be yourself no matter what others want or what social convention dictates.

As a teenager, Lady Gaga was the only Pop artist that I had on my iPod. She was the lone electro-pop sound amidst the grunge and rock and roll that I was in to at the time. A friend of mine was a huge fan of Lady Gaga and I learned a lot about the pop artist through her such the inspiration from David Bowie (she is also a huge David Bowie fan), meanings behind certain songs, and her message in general. Lady Gaga has far more to say than a lot of the other pop music you hear on the radio and I think she was a fantastic pop icon the past few years, if a little peculiar.


image from: http://www.boomsbeat.com/articles/158/20140130/50-interesting-facts-about-lady-gaga.htm


Etsy is the online shop for everything vintage and handmade. You want something done custom? Go to Etsy. You want your NES turned into a piece of art( pretty much all it’s good for anymore)? Go to Etsy. You want that wedding dress that your grandma wore in 1940? Go to Etsy. Etsy has become a huge part of people’s everyday lives. We are a world of e-commerce and for those who hand make products, trying to sell them to locals only or at conventions can be costly and ineffective. Etsy allows a person (artist, collector, tailor, blacksmith, haberdasher, pack rat, old-lady-crocheting-with-five-cats-on-her-lap) to sell their handmade items in a similar way that eBay allows you to sell items you own with a small seller fee. The only difference is that Etsy is supposed to be handmade or vintage, no mass-produced items, no cars (unless you built it yourself), and no stolen clothes for still-too-high prices. Handmade and retro are in right now and Etsy allows people who make those things to offer their goods for sale in a place where anyone around the world can purchase it.

Etsy has been a place where I have found many personalized gifts that would be hard to find in a store. I like it because just browsing it you can find creative things that people have done with their old stuff or get ideas of your own for art projects or interesting gifts. It is also a great place for me to find renaissance festival costumes of good quality which I have trouble finding in a physical location other than at an actual renaissance faire which I can only attend in October. I also am trying to help my little brother promote his guitar-making business and finally got him to open an Etsy shop and I can’t wait to see him get some stuff up there and get some business!


image from: http://pbrnews.com/etsy-ipo-too-big/

Star Wars

Star Wars was a hit in the 80s, the first trilogy bringing in over $2 billion dollars in box office sales. The second trilogy in the new millennium wasn’t received quite as well but Episode I was in the top 10 grossing films in America in box office sales. Star Wars had the unique opportunity to release 10 years apart each time—long enough for older fans to have children and then have them watch it as they grew up and for the younger generation to get into it before they got too old. Star Wars is a sci-fi movie through-and-through, but it many values that it tries to impress regarding family, faith, and altruism. Throughout the seven films currently released, we frequently see family ties tested (some ending in blood loyalty, others not), faith in the Force being tested, criticized, rewarded, and the constant struggle between good and evil—between the desire for power and the desire to make things right. Now that Disney owns Star Wars merchandising for the franchise has exploded, making it easy for someone to see it and wonder what it is, possibly creating a new fan. You can get Star Wars everything now and it’s everywhere—and not just Episode VII, but the older films as well.

My family is a Star Wars family through-and-through (no one cares for that other popular sci-fi show). On my dad’s side of the family most of the kids (my aunts and uncles) were teenagers when Star Wars came out which and of course, it would be the movie to see at the time. They all loved it and all the kids (my siblings and cousins) in my family grew up watching it. I still remember when my mom worked 2nd shift and we would get to stay up watching Star Wars on VHS until she came home from work pretty much every day. I love Star Wars and I cannot be happier about the current merchandising. I was not too thrilled when Disney bought the franchise; I was convinced that they were going to ruin it. But I love that I can now walk into any department store and buy women’s Star Wars clothes; though I didn’t particularly enjoy Episode VII, there is plenty of classic themed clothing available.

star wars

image from: http://screenrant.com/star-wars-episode-7-official-cast-image/




Popular Culture

  • What is popular culture, and what does it mean to you?

In Common Culture, pop culture is defined as “the shared knowledge and practices of a specific group at a specific time” (Petracca, pp. 4), though it is mentioned that is very hard to define because it constantly changes or causes change. To me, pop culture is the thing that everyone is doing: the styles worn, the TV shows watched, the technology being used. IT is what people want and crave for once they have seen someone else using it. It constantly changes and sometimes repeats itself (bell-bottoms, anyone?), but it can also be the latest and greatest that is available (HD TVs to 3-D TVs to 4K TV’s).

  • Why is an understanding of popular culture relevant to you in a business environment and in your present and future career?

Understanding pop culture is relevant to a business environment because it helps to determine what changes need to be made to keep people comfortable and complaint. From an advertising standpoint, it helps us to determine how to portray certain ideas or items (would sex sell a minivan better or a sports car?). An example of pop culture affecting a business environment and forcing changes in order to keep associates comfortable would be the acceptance of tattoos and wild hairstyles. It used to be that you had to keep tattoos covered, piercing out if they were more than just a single set on your ears, and hair must be a natural color and not be offensive in any way. That has changed dramatically in the past couple of years. No you can see business people with half-shaved heads, tattoo sleeves, multiple piercings because it has become a normal part of our society. It’s no longer just deviants and criminals that have these sorts of styles, it has become a form of art to alter your body. My current career has little restrictions of dress code as long as what you are wearing is safe around moving machinery and you are wearing something. But I work for a company that sells clothing, accessories, and beauty products which requires us to know what will be able to sell and adapt our styles to fit with popular culture. Yoga pants and other activewear are fantastic sellers right now, but what if that trend ends? What if flared jeans come back into style again like they did 10 years ago? A couple of our brands that sell clothing will have to adapt to that change and sell more jeans and less activewear or we could lose business, money, and jobs.


  • What would you consider to be an example of a pop culture artifact? And why would you choose it?


An example of a current pop culture artifact is the Avengers. The first movie came out in 2012 after the successful releases of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2008 and Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 and since has released a sequel and many more character-centered movies and is slated for two more Avenger movies to release in 2018 and 2019. These movies have done fantastically well, with The Avengers grossing over $1.5 billion worldwide, and becoming the third-highest-grossing film during its theatrical run. Many Marvel movies have come before The Avengers but none have done quite as well as this one. I chose Avengers as a popular culture artifact because it showcases a lot of things that currently help to sell it. We have action and romance in every movie, stunning visual effects, snarky personalities, heroes rebelling against “the man”, and of course, sexy, skinny, muscly bodies being thrown in our faces. The comic books only appealed to a certain audience (usually young men), but these movies have thrown super heroes into our daily lives by creating something that everyone can enjoy watching. The movies have drawn a larger audience to the comics themselves. People have begun to read these, crave more information about the Marvel Universe, and find characters that they can relate to or enjoy watching/reading. The Avengers movies have found a balance between humor, romance, and action that allows for a larger audience to enjoy it, creating massive appeal for these characters and more for those yet unknown or not created.


“Picture from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/f/f9/20160130115640!TheAvengers2012Poster.jpg”