What is a cultural icon and how does he or she shape the values of society?
I am having trouble defining how a cultural icon shapes the values of society.
If you were to use Oprah as a current cultural icon I guess you could say that she has enlighted many women to due better for themselves by looking at her success.
you have asked for an explanation of the cultural icon phenomenon, and how such a person (Oprah, for example) can shape the values of society.
A cultural icon is a famous individual who has transcended "mere" celebrity to come to represent a given Zeitgeist to a sizable part of the world. As such, a cultural icon is not simply a famous face but a complex, multi-layered personage who reflects the conflicts and contradictions of his or her time. While cultural icons aren't by definition a phenomenon of the 20th century, modern mass media and popular culture have contributed greatly to the creation of these symbols.
Zeitgeist is originally a German expression that means "the spirit (Geist) of the time (Zeit)". It denotes the intellectual and cultural climate of an era.
The concept of Zeitgeist goes back to the German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder, but is best known in relation to Hegel's philosophy of history. In 1769 Herder wrote a critique of the work Genius seculi by the philologist Christian Adolph Klotz (German Wikipedia article) and introduced the word Zeitgeist into German as a translation of genius seculi (Latin: genius - "guardian spirit" and saeculi - "of the century").
Zeitgeist has achieved a unique status among German loanwords in other tongues, having found an entrance into English, Spanish, Dutch ...
This solution provides a solid explanation of the cultural icon phenomenon, and how such a person (Oprah, for example) can shape the values of society.