Opinions that were considered taboo just a few years ago are starting to gain their well-deserved recognition and openness, and we can thank pop culture for that. From topics like marijuana and sexuality, movie stars and singers are helping to catalyze an acceptance process among fans. The authoritative word of influential people is enough to give certain topics a whole new perspective, and artists often reveal that perspective in their work, social media, and interviews. Here are a few ways pop culture has helped dissolve taboos across different areas.
Sexuality and Female Power
Back in the 1950s, most sexual innuendos went unnoticed in lyrics. After all, explicit lyrics could easily be associated with promiscuity, and it’s no secret that people were more conservative during that time. Arguably, people didn’t even have the same type of sex that’s common nowadays.
What used to be the norm has been twisted around. Marilyn Monroe sang out about how her heart belonged to daddy, which, in the modern world could deviate from the independence women have fought hard to acquire. Modern pop lyrics written by females often have one overarching message: women are powerful, they can do as they please, and no one can hold them back. Popular, empowering examples are Ariana Grande’s ‘God is a Woman’ and Marina Diamandis’ ‘Man’s World.’
Musicians like Lana Del Rey, on the other hand, often sing that there’s nothing wrong if you want to meet your sugar daddy. You’re a woman, and you can do as you wish. If you want to be showered with money and love from an older man, go for it. It’s not uncommon for female college students to make use of a sugar daddy relationship when it comes to paying for their expensive tuition.
Of course, some women hold a more conservative opinion towards sexuality based on religious beliefs, and that’s completely fine. That’s what Real Sex by Lauren F. Winner expands on: the truth about devoting oneself to chastity in a world where sex is openly practiced and spoken about.
Marijuana and Cannabidiol (CBD)
Celebrities who smoke weed are no longer seen as stoners (except for Snoop Dogg, of course). A lot of stars have spoken openly about smoking weed and using CBD products like full spectrum CBD oil, and how it helps them relax and manage certain conditions.
For example, Lady Gaga herself mentioned that smoking marijuana helps her deal with the painful condition fibromyalgia, as well as the stress that accompanies fame in her documentary, ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two.’ Kim Kardashian has also spoken out in support of CBD, publishing the following caption on an Instagram story: “anyone that knows me knows I am obsessed with CBD everything!” She even had a CBD-themed baby shower for her fourth child with rapper Kanye West.
Additionally, actress Whoopi Goldberg and entrepreneur Maya Elisabeth used to have an entire medical cannabis company (Whoopi and Maya) dedicated to relieving menstrual pain. Such companies help break notions that marijuana can’t be used for reasons other than just smoking. When asked by Forbes about getting into the cannabis business, Goldberg replied, “Jump in and try it, you never know what can happen until you do.”
LGBTQ+ People and Gender Identities
In December 2020, actor Elliot Page from “The Umbrella Academy” came out as trans. On Twitter, he shared a long, heartfelt text about how freeing the experience felt to him. In the text he said, “I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer.”
Trans fans cheered the encouraging words and replied by welcoming the actor into their loving family. Stars like Elliot act as supporting sources for fans who are still in the closet, while still warning them about his fear of potential hate crimes, which is sadly rising against the LGBTQ+ community.
Gradually, pop culture gives “taboo” a new name and meaning. There’s still a long road before the above themes can be mentioned naturally, without restraint. But the journey has been successful so far, that’s for sure.