Conforming to Mass Culture in America

In: Social Issues

Submitted By long
Words 1527
Pages 7
Americans like to imagine themselves as unique individuals unlike anyone else and that we all possess specific characteristics that distinguish us from the pack. However, despite our illusions, the majority of human beings conform to some set of societal rules most of the time. We drive on the right side of the road; children attend school and adults work; these are examples of conformity for obvious reasons; society is based on rules that keep our society functioning, if there were no rules then our entire structure would break down. The question of this thesis is to investigate why individuals give in to less important reasons to conform. Why do a group of teenagers prefer to wear one brand of clothing over another, why do teenagers judge others for their choice of clothes, electronics, and hairstyles? Why do adults feel the need to live in certain areas over others, why do they find fulfillment in the type of car they drive?
For decades, advertisers have portrayed a happy and successful lifestyle by using images of consumption. We are told that to measure our success in life we must use status symbols of designer clothes, cars, jewelry and our choice of neighborhoods and homes. Americans have been seduced into the belief that without designer labels and expensive electronics, our lives are not complete and that we are not truly fulfilled. Through advertising, consumers are persuaded to base purchases not on need or want but as a way to show others that they are happy, healthy, and successful and to show their prestige.
People want others to acknowledge their prestige (Henslin 2010) and conformity is the tendency of an individual to change their thinking and behavior to the social norms to garner respect. The most apparent effect of conformity is shown in fashion and style. I wonder about whether the majority of our population likes the clothes they wear…...

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