How And Why Did American Popular Culture Influence Australian Society In The 1950s And 1960s? To What Extent Did Australia Develop Its Own Response To These Influences?

1614 words - 6 pages

The 1950s and 1960s were times of unprecedented change, and Australian society was influenced greatly by American popular culture, through various mediums, such as: music, film, television and fashion. This especially affected teenagers. It will be explained how Australian society was impacted by American popular culture, and also why American popular culture had such an affect. Australian developed its own responses to these influences, and the extent of this will also be explored.The 1950s meant the emergence of the teenager; it also brought peace and prosperity to many. And during the fifties there were far more American films released in Australia, and they became more popular than many Australian films. Films were of great influence to the youth of the 1960s, films such as The Wild One and Rebel Without A Cause showed a new type of teenager, one who was not only different, but was rebellious. This new view of what a teenager could be gave birth to the idea of "bodgies" and "widgies" which is what many teenagers became known as during the fifties.These "bodgies" and "widgies" were greatly influenced by the culture of rock-'n'-roll music. The term "Rock-'n'-Roll" was invented in the mid 1950s for a new and exciting music. This type of music was to become popular beyond belief, it not only began to dominate the tastes of America's youth, and it soon became the popular music of choice for youths throughout Australia, too. Popular artists such as Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the comets were among the top entertainers influencing Australia's impressionistic youth.The lifestyle trends of Australia were also, to a great extent, impacted by the trends of America. During the 1950s the lifestyle of a typical American was very different to that of a person during the forties. The lifestyle was more laidback, mainly due to the end of the war; people believed that they were entering a new age, where anything was possible. Australia followed Americas lead, and many of their lifestyles changed with the Americans. By the late 1950s, television was the most important form of mass entertainment and culture; it had become an important part of many people's lives. Through television Australia saw the American life, and then modelled (to a certain extent), parts of their lives on what they saw of the American lifestyle.During the 1960s, Australian society remained hugely affected by American popular culture. And although the culture of the youth was no where near as strong or powerful as it was in America, Australia was, to a great extent influenced by what was happening in America at the time. What happened in America was almost always mirrored by Australian teens (although to a smaller extent). Fashion-wise, the sixties saw the flowering of the Hippie Movement. All of a sudden the tight black pants, bright socks and hair grease of the fifties were gone, and in came the mini-skirt, velvet pants and paisley shirts. As American teenagers began to grow their...

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