A cultural icon is a person or artifact that is recognized by members of a culture or sub-culture as representing some aspect of cultural identity. Icons are judged by their ability to be an authentic proxy. When individuals perceives a cultural icon, they compare it with their perceptions of the culture identity it attempts to mimic. Cultural Icons can also be identified as an authentic representation of the practices of one culture by another.
In the media, many items of popular culture have been called “iconic” despite their lack of durability. Some commentators believe that the word is overused or misused.