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Pop Culture Through the Decades: How Have we Changed?

Variations of this meme are still popular today.

It’s interesting to see what goes viral through the years.

I won’t go too far back in this particular timeline, I lied, I’m jumping into the 20s, but what is considered popular over the years might just surprise you.

I’ll be starting in the 2010s and working my way backward, so take a seat and buckle up tight.

The 2010s: Goodness, as if graduating in 2009 from high school wasn’t enough of a trend.

These years are a mess of questions and I believe the most popular question of the years was, “Is it blue or gold?” Yes, the infamous dress that went viral which sparked a debate on a color. Turned out it was the angle of the user looking at the dress and the answer was that it was gold and white not blue and black.

Now I’m not saying that the entire decade was based on sad frog images, but we also had some interesting trends such as
Books: The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, the Hunger Games Series
Music: Boy Bands (namely One Direction), Pop, and Rap
Celebrities: The Kardashians, Hillary Clinton, Beyonce

Clothing is pretty prep these days. Tight jeans, pop rock shirts and all around a stylish feel.

The 2000s: I feel like it was just yesterday that I was in Middle School trying to figure out what social group I belonged to.

Two things really sum up the early 2000s; Myspace and dieting

Good Ol’ Tom, if you don’t know who Tom is, then you’re not old enough to know the “real” Myspace.


The early 2000s was simple. Early mornings consisted of either watching music videos on MTV or BET and R&B was extremely popular. Artists like Aliyah, Beyonce, and Snoop Dogg ran the scene. Not only was R&B popular, the emo outfit was the way to go. When I was in middle school I always wished to have the black baggy jeans with the chains and I really wanted to dye my hair. I’m glad I drove right on through that phase of my life.

The 1900s: This is my childhood. Being born in 1992, I can easily say that my tomogachi never saw the light of day again.

Stripes and polka dots, horizontal and verticle strips, everything was just so colorful in the 1990s. We’d hit a transition period of still crazy designs from the 80s with a mixture of smaller hair of the 2000s.

Personally, I think the 90s had the best years of entertainment. Other than these bad boys pictured above which lead to years of being a horrible pet owner because your digital pet would die, or the batteries would die, we had the Gameboy (which transitioned into the Gameboy color, and FINALLY the Gameboy with a backlight), and Furbies. I hear everyone now, Furbies are creepy, and yes when the batteries started to die and your Furbie sounded like a dying demon, it was bad, but they were intelligent little AIs.

Not only was the digital entertainment great (because let’s be honest getting online with dial-up and having your parent pick up the phone was horrid OR downloading a movie, going to school, then coming back and having the movie 3/4 of the way downloaded was just not right), Harry Potter was introduced. Yes, the first three books came out in the late 90s. In fact, I was in third grade when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released.

The 1980s: Big hair and music that’s all we need to know.

No, really, the 80s were a crazy time, if you were a young adult or teen you probably owned at least one cabbage patch kid, a Rubik’s cube, and went to the arcade and tried to beat Johnny’s high score on Pac-Man.

Clothing was definitely colorful and big hair, jumpers, leg warmers, and leotards were in full swing. It was the decade of being able to wear anything and it would still be considered a fashion statement.

Not only was the clothing colorful but so was the music. I believe the 80s blew us away with music. Michael Jackson, Boy George, David Bowie, and Cindi Lauper, were just a handful of big names in the music scene.


“Aha- Take On Me”- 1986

The 1970s: The year of movements and change.

Contrary to the previous decades, the 1970s were a bit more serious and were all about making a change in society.

Among all the movements for a better society, roller rinks, video games, and disco were the most popular trends of the 70s. Of course, we can’t forget to mention parachute pants and afros. It’s all very iconic and I’m sure you’ve already merged all those together into a colorful music video in your mind.


Gloria Gaynor- “I Will Survive” (A classic example of disco)

I’m going to take a small jump from the 70s to the 20s. During the 50 years, many things happened. Kennedy was assassinated in the 60s, Elvis shook his hips in the 50s, World War II sparked many movements in the 40s, and movie stars dazzled the screens in the 30s.

The 1920’s
Finally rounding out our trends we take a trip back to the 1920s. I think for many of us it’s hard to see anything trending in an age where there was no internet. However, the 20s is where it all began.

The first television was made in 1927, but it gets better than that. The 1920s was all about dancing and feminism.

Women made a strong statement in the 20s starting with the flappers. Straying away from conservative confirmatory women began to show off leg and arms creating a new feministic movement.

Not only did women make a statement, but all the biggest names came out in the 20s. Music was a big area as well. Large record companies such as Columbia were producing artists left and right. On top of that technology was changing. Better microphones and methods of recording were evolving.

So as you can see, while there are definitely huge differences, there is a foundation within all of them that has been the same for the last 98 years.

Source: The roaring 20s culture, Women’s fashion in the 1940s, “The 1930s”, Most influential people of the world, Jolie Tim

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