As of this past fall, I have started working for the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Dominican University.
I was thrilled to start, but when I learned in detail of my job description, my optimism sank a little. I was placed in charge of making social media posts about pop culture. This would be a great job, except that I am not American.
How could I post pop culture posts for a culture I am still trying to assimilate to?
In what ways could I appeal to the connoisseurs of pop culture consumption, that is, the Dominican University students?
Dear readers, laugh all you want, because as someone who does not have a Netflix account and who cannot (for the life of me) tell the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek, this posed a serious challenge. For several days on end, I searched all the major newspaper websites, under their pop culture section, for something that would draw the attention of my fellow Netflix-and-chill college students.
As it turns out, much of today’s pop culture revolves around Netflix shows (obviously), movies (interestingly), and social life (surprisingly).
As I scheduled various posts for the department, I began to wonder the origins and growth of pop culture. What is pop culture? Is it something that becomes so popular that it becomes our culture? Or is it something within the culture that becomes popularized by people?
Which came first: pop or culture?
These questions gnawed at me as I sat down one day to decide the next pop culture posts. My roommate happened to be in the room with her friends. She is a social butterfly and a proud member of the pop culture generation. At that moment, she was talking animatedly about To All the Boys I’ve Loved, a new Netflix romcom.
Infected by their enthusiasm, I searched online for clips of this infamous Netflix show. As soon as I saw the first clip, my mind was blown. Is that an Asian girl? Just like me! I thought I would never see someone remotely like me in American romcom. Thinking of it now, I have never seen any.
But as I looked closer, I realized the plot of the show reveals much more than an interesting story. It is about the accidents between a girl and all the boys she ever had a crush on. How relatable! As she fights with her sisters, falls in love with boys, communicates her frustrations, the main character outlines all the epic moments of a teenage girl’s love life.
Thus, a review about this romcom was posted. I had mixed feelings, but the post was reposted and liked many times on Twitter. I was amazed by how many students who felt the same way as me.
Isn’t it interesting? Culture is the American culture we are exposed to constantly, yet “pop” stands for humanity. While pop cultures are unique for different cultures, at the end of the day, we are all humans and we like what reflects our experiences.
Here is just my experience working for the department. I am still discovering and learning new things about my job, pop culture, and the American social life in general.