Mainstream culture is any trend or fashion that is followed by a large majority. American mainstream culture, especially amongst teens, however, is slightly bewildering. Artists such as 1975 or Lana Del Ray, who are considered to be artists followed by hipsters, are technically now a part of mainstream American culture as it seems everyone knows them. Flower crowns, large black glasses and an overall boho-chic style were once considered hipster, but are now seen in every fashion magazine.
A hipster is a person who follows trends and fashions regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream. Ironically, it seems that being a hipster is part of the new mainstream culture (which itself is a paradox). That’s not to say Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are no longer the Queens of the music industry, and stores such as PINK are not as popular as before, but it seems that alternative and electronic music, and stores like Pacsun are also on the rise.
Looking at our culture in an academic scene is just as confusing. Everyone seems to want to go to the best college, as we value education, however ditching class also seems to be on a large majority’s to-do list.
It seems that the values and beliefs that are held important in this culture as very wide-spread.
This might be why it seems that there isn’t a specific mainstream culture in American teens. There obviously trends that are largely followed by teenagers, but the ideas behind them are very widespread. At first, the many trends may seem random, but it’s because instead of being part of one large mainstream culture with one set of beliefs and values, we’re part of a culture that allows us to have different values and beliefs based on the people we’re surrounded by.
Our mainstream culture is to have a mix of cultures. Rather than that holding onto a single set of values and beliefs, we all change depending on the environment.
I can say that I am, without any doubt, a part of this culture. What I believe in front of my parents is not necessarily similar to my beliefs when I’m with my friends. My values when I’m at school is very different compared to what I value when I’m outside campus. At times I am thankful for this, it makes it easier to adapt to different environments and people. However, this also means that at times opinions and beliefs are easily manipulable due to our constant adaptation. Although I am fully immersed in our mainstream culture, there are times when there are many benefits but also times when there are disadvantages.
Being part of American culture comes with many advantages, one of the biggest ones being it teaching you how to be flexible and adaptable. Our ability to switch our beliefs in different environment makes it easier for us to communicate with and relate to different kinds of people. It helps us easily fit into new environments which people from other cultures may find more challenging.
However, being highly adaptable also has its drawbacks. In the process of becoming flexible and changing some of your beliefs in order to get along with different groups, you can often lose your identity and the traditions of the culture you came from. It also leads to inner turmoil as you have to decide between your beliefs and everyone else’s beliefs at times. Picking your own could lead to alienation and picking society’s beliefs could mean putting your values into something you don’t believe.
We often find ourselves in situations where we cannot decide whether we want to be flexible and morph our beliefs of whether we want to stand our ground. We are forced into high levels of inner turmoil.
American mainstream culture is a mix cultures. However, the overarching theme is the ability to adapt to different cultures at different times. This flexibility makes it easier for us to relate to other people, but at the same times can cause a lot of inner conflict when it comes to deciding which set of beliefs are best for us, whether adapting or staying true to your old beliefs is the answer.