I think that the elements of pop culture that some people may have considered to be guilty pleasures may have been the ones that came out of a specific group's influences. Like jazz or hip hop. I think those who were not part of those specific groups may have felt out of place compared to the intended audience when they interacted with this piece of culture. They listened to the music but with the knowledge that they were not the intended audience for it.
One of the first topics that comes to mind when I hear the phrase, guilty pleasure, is the time of disco and how it revolutionized the world. The dance form originated during the time of the Stonewall riots and came about during a time when two men dancing together was considered illegal. Early clubs, such as the Loft, offered a chance for individuals to secretly dance thus indulging in their guilty pleasures. Another topic that comes to mind is fast food in general. Although many people may not know what goes on in slaughterhouses or how animals are treated, most choose to be ignorant of this information so that they can indulge in fast food without feeling guilty. Moreover, although individuals know that fast food is not the healthiest option, it is cheap and easy to access. For both these reasons, I would consider fast food to also be a guilty pleasure.
One of the things I can see as being a guilty pleasure are movies. I'm thinking specifically in movies made in the late 1970s to early 1980s. In class, we were given a few examples of movies which have a nostalgic revival of the 1950s (i.e. Grease) and also, movies which show the disabilities of the working class. Economically, the U.S. ran a trade deficit and President Nixon took the country off of the gold standard. Both genres of movies highlight the hard times the U.S. was under in the 1970s. In the movie Flashdance, Alex ends up achieving her goals in the end. The same goes for Tony in Saturday Night Fever (although his story is a little more complicated than just a "happy ending"). In Grease, the 1950s are romanticized. In my opinion, I think that people watched these movies as an escape from the hard times in the 1970s. Although some movies showed the obvious disadvantages of the working class, I think people enjoyed seeing the main character pull through in the end. Equally, I think that the revival of the 1950s proved the necessity for a fantasy escape in popular culture.
When thinking about the possible guilty pleasures of the 1970s and the 1980s, the first thing that came to mind was dancing.Take for example, break dancing and "vogueing." These types of dancing attracted certain audiences, and like Ashley mentioned, if you weren't part of those intended audiences, you might feel out of place participating in such dance moves. Break dancing probably wouldn't interest most upper class people during these times, and vogueing probably wouldn't attract straight men. Nevertheless, these people who weren't intended to like such dance moves might end up admiring them.
The first thing that came to mind when thinking about possible guilty pleasures in 1970s and the 1980s, are many of the movies released during this time period. Movies such as Taxi Driver and The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three, shed a different chaotic view of the city that was not stressed in past films. These dramatic and suspenseful films underline many problems during this time period. Another guilty pleasure, as mentioned, would be the new forms of art being expressed. Break dancing allowed people to move in a new and creative way, breaking many norms of the past. Graffiti also was a new type of art coming into the picture. This art more public and linked with a new type of self expression that was not necessarily appealing to all classes.
I believe in 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s we can see the entertainment industry emerge as a guilty pleasure. People at this time were turning to music and film as an outlet. We can see remnants of people of this time in the same forms of media they enjoyed. Movies, like “Flashdance”, encouraged people to chase their dreams and stressed hard work. Music, like “Vogue”, offered people a chance to express themselves and show their individuality. The themes were obliviously important to people at the time due to their continued emergence throughout the 3 decades.
When I think of guilty pleasures, I immediately think about hip hop-- specifically the dancing. It became an art form used to express how you felt and broke the dancing boundaries which had previously existed. From this, we can look at vogueing as many above have stated. This brought together different groups who had previously never mixed before. People like Madonna took this new dance style and incorporated it into her music after initially creating the song Vogue.
When looking at everyone's response, I think we all had similar ideas of what people saw as guilty pleasures during this time. Most of us brought up examples, movies and dance, to support our claims that people sought out difference mediums to express themselves. From this, we can see that people at this time were seeking out different ways to express themselves and show their uniqueness.
I agree with Michael. Most of the guilty pleasures we have been learning and thinking about are all things people did to express themselves in some way. I can easily see this with disco. Just the fact that disco was a way that minorities (LGBT, women, etc.) could freely express themselves and celebrate who they are. I think we also see this with breakdancing because it was a way for teenagers to be active in their community.
Reading through, I agree with Michael and Kelsey. A lot of these pieces of pop culture that we have identified allow for individual expression. Again with the dances like break dancing and music like disco because I think they are a large part of this, they came out of certain groups as a way to stand out before they were more absorbed and accepted in mainstream culture. They also bring those individual groups closer together as people identify with these forms of expression.
Looking through everyones responses, it seemed that we all agreed that entertainment and many different forms of art acted as guilty pleasures. Anything that broke away from a norm in the past and allowed others to express themselves in a more individual manner. This was a new way to stand out and shine light on everyones differences. The different forms of expression acted as guilty pleasures and attracted a wide variety of attention.
After reading through the responses of my peers, it seems like we have all come to a general consensus about what people considered "guilty pleasures" in the 1970s and the 1980s. The different forms of entertainment such as movies, music, and dancing during this time period all defied what was considered "normal." People liked what was different than the expected because it allowed them to freely express themselves as who they truly were.
It seems as though the general consensus among all of us is that guilty pleasures arise individuals partake in forms of creative expression whether is through the entertainment industry, dance, art, etc. Especially during this time period, there are many movements that are occurring in order to rally against societal norms - for example the stonewall riots and the gay movement. I agree with others in that individuals use these guilty pleasures as a form of freedom of expression in a society where they may be continually oppressed by laws and regulations.
I specifically identify with the comments made by Kelsey. I think Americans were always looking for the happy ending in movies, but wanted to also feel as if they could relate to the main characters. By watching films, it allowed for the American people to pull away from their everyday lives and live vicariously through others. I also agree with Michael when he states that he thinks people were looking for ways to express themselves in different ways. As the country was moving out of the more conservative eras, people wanted to show off their personal styles and express their viewpoints through dance and movie choices.