A look at my childhood in the 90s as I understand it through popular culture and academia.
1) fashion: bright vibrant colors on the same clothes, guys tucking normal t-shirts into jeans, girls with super V swimsuits. Places with vibrant colors.
2) words: dweeb, hunk
3) things: California surfer "dudes", ninjas, dinosaurs
4) news: ridiculous crime and pollution, anti-drug and save the earth programs
5) sayings: "come on get with the times, it's the 90s"
6) US shows off modern military technology
I had these thoughts pop up due to finished Saved by the Bell on netflix. I also had a short convo with Lisa on the 90s. Anyway my examples go off several things, among them are my memories growing up and TV shows like Fresh Prince.
1) It's weird seeing Zack Morris dress with colorful clothes. It's less weird with Will Smith because black people can wear whatever the heck they want and not look weird. For example only black men can pull off white suits. Of course that doesn't stop fob Asians from doing so, but meh. The V-swimsuits were cool, it makes women's legs look longer.
A sidenote: many of the places in Rowland Heights were built in the late 80s or early 90s. I know because the 24 and the Taco Bell here look like the MAX from Saved by the Bell. It's got triangles and circles and colors like purple, yellow, green, red.
2) some words were popular in the 90s, I only listed two. If you ask some high school kids what those words mean, they may never have heard it but can probably correctly guess what it means. It just fits phonetically. Dweeb is close to dork and hunk is close to hulk.
random sidenote: I remember from my linguistics class a lesson where most languages follow this: for words meaning "small" the words are small mouth vowels like (i): for example tiny and "ti" in Viet. For "big" words, the words use large mouth/guttural vowels like (u): huge and "bu".
back to the main point, I would guess that some common words now that will not be common in ten years are "lame" and "owned". By the way, the "get owned bro" of the 80s was "you got moded dude"
3) surfing culture was really popular. Saved by the Bell was based on a Malibu high school, California Dreams was pretty much all surfer culture. Ninjas were popular. Anyone remember the three ninjas series? The one about three white boys that use karate to stop bad guys. Then there was the Karate Kid, Power Rangers, and Mortal Kombat, etc. Dinosaurs were also popular, I've mentioned in a previous post the popularity of Jurassic Park and dino books due to fossil discoveries at the time. All kids knew at least five dinosaur species, some could go over ten. Want to know the best example of all three combined? Ninja Turtles. They were ninjas, duh. They were reptiles, so sort of like dinosaurs. And they talked with a California surfer accent! In NEW YORK.
4) Crime was bad in the 90s. Detroit and South Central LA come to mind. This is purely academic for me, as I have no memory of the LA riots of the early 90s. I have no clue why crime was so bad, but I just hear older people say that the 90s were bad. But just from watching TV shows I could get a gist of how bad things were.
You guys also definitely remember programs like DARE/STAR for anti-drugs and TV show PSAs right? Every 90s show had an anti-drug or anti-gun PSA. I think the whole purpose of GI Joe was to have the PSAs at the end.
I also remember at least a couple times from 1st to 5th grade the teacher put a video on TV about recycling and doing things to cut down on pollution. And good things did happen! Environmental damage is alot less now than it was in the 90s, and the schoolchildren of the 90s are now the young adults pushing for a greener society.
5) Jesse from Saved by the Bell, Hillary from Fresh Prince, and Laura from Family Matters have all at least said "come on it's the 90s" at least once. They were all referring to female empowerment, breaking the glass ceiling, and putting down stereotypes. I think that was the whole purpose of the show Living Single's intro song: "in this 90's kind of world, I'm glad I got my girls".
Feminism still exists now, but not in popular culture. It's got it's up and downs. You had women's suffrage movement in the 20s, women going to work in the 40s, the sexual revolution in the 60s, and the popular culture movement of the 90s. Interestingly enough, you can tie all those events to WW1, WW2, Vietnam, and the end of the Cold War. I'm pretty sure war changing society had something to do with it. When men are away, women finally stop being put down and have the chance to stand for their rights.
But anyways, why did the women's movement of the 90s fade away? I don't know, but I have a feeling the popularity of Britney Spears in the late 90s set women's rights back a few steps. So much for taking the mantle of "girl power" from the Spice Girls.
Fast forward to 2012 and guys are still laying down the sexism. How terrible for the women of the 90s who are now mothers of teen girls. The advent of the internet and memes has totally spread "sandwich" jokes. Jokes are funny, but uncalled for. Due to this retrospection, I hereby declare that I will try not to say sexist jokes anymore. Some might slip out, but eh, no one's perfect.
6) This one isn't from pop culture, but it's worth noting that most countries now do not have the military technology of America in the early 90s. During the first Iraqi war, America showed off it's new toys to the world. Alot of things were just a few years old: stealth technology, UAVs, the Abrams tank, an M-16 that doesn't jam. HAX.
any thoughts on the above or did i miss anything?