The popular culture of the 1930s reflects the class tensions of the time. The Great Depression had forced many to accumulate wealth, and the mass media reflected those class differences. As the economy struggled, people sought escapism in various forms. However, it’s worth noting that this popular culture is not without its faults. Its elitist values exacerbated socio-economic class tensions. The underlying message of the 1930s culture is a disdain for the elitists.
The public sought escape from the gloomy conditions by turning to various forms of entertainment, such as movies, radio shows, print media, fads, and sporting events. Technological developments spurred creativity by enabling mass distribution and consumption of entertainment. Music and sporting events were no longer confined to concert halls, and network radio allowed people to listen to them coast-to-coast. The Depression-era also saw the emergence of superman, the comic book hero of the 1930s.
Popular music of the 1930s still enjoys pop culture. In addition to pop songs, popular magazines featured the faces of popular singing stars. Fans could also purchase a magazine with the lyrics of their favorite songs. By the late 1930s, radio stations began introducing announcers to accompany recorded music, giving them the title of “disc jockeys.” The announcers would often pair up the music with news segments or comedic routines.
Popular films of the 1930s reflected the escapist and fluffy nature of the period. Some films in the genre were gangster and comical, while others portrayed melodrama or drama. Others emphasized the importance of family and friends, while others focused on the glitz and glamour of the time. This culture was largely represented by the arts. Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo is a great example of this trend.
This cultural history of the 1930s reveals the role of the arts, entertainment, and politics in the context of the Great Depression. Besides the economic aspects, the 1930s also reflected the importance of modernism and social documentation. Many people have a hard time comprehending the importance of these arts and culture in the 1930s. A new book titled “Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the 1930s” by Morris Dickstein is a good starting point.
The great depression had a profound impact on the fashion of the 1930s. While many people preferred the feed sack look during the Great Depression, women still wished to look smart and fashionable when they went out on the town. During this time, women wore fashionable clothes made of rayon crepe and silk, and often wore puffed sleeves, belted waists, and hats. However, their clothes were not as fashionable as they are today.