Pop Culture Comparison Of 20s, 70s, And 90s

  • Category: History
  • Words: 791
  • Grade: 100
Pop Culture Comparison of 20's, 70's, and 90's
        In comparing the twenties, sixties, and the nineties, my first thought was how much
popular culture has changed since then and how different society is today. The strange thing is,
the more I tried to separate between the three decades, the more similarities I found. Both the
sixties and the nineties were about youth, creativity, free-thinking, and expression. With the
nineties already coming to a close and the popularity of anything "retro," I decided to compare
the fashions, people, music, and issues that defined pop culture in the 1960's and its influence
on pop culture in the 1990's.
        In the 1960's, society was changing by the minute and fashion was "anything goes". In
the early sixties, Jackie Kennedy influenced fashion with her elegant, stylish outfits and her
trademark pillbox hat. In the late sixties, the "mod look" was popularized by go-go boots and
mini-skirts, while bellbottom jeans, tie-dye shirts, long skirts and peasant dresses were worn by
the hippie culture. Glance through any fashion catalog or magazine in the nineties and you will
see models wearing the same fashions popularized in the late sixties. This illustrates how the
60's contributed to today's fashions. In the sixties, people in television, film and movies became
the new socially elite and their influence had a profound impact on fashion, attitudes, and social
values. In the nineties, supermodels and sports figures have joined this group. The fascination
the public has with celebrities is perhaps more prominent now than it was in the sixties and their
influence is found in all aspects of pop culture in the nineties.
        As fashion in the 60's influenced fashion in the 90's, the spirit of music in the 60's is
present in the music of the 90's. Many of the artists popular in the sixties are still major forces in
music today. There is no one genre of music that can define either decade. After the appearance
of the Beatles and the British invasion in the early sixties, music changed and everything before
it was all but swept away. There was music from the Beach Boys; folk music from Bob Dylan;
R&B influenced music from Motown and the Rolling Stones; and music from Jefferson Airplane
and the Doors. In the nineties, many new types of music evolved. These include rap music and
hip-hop which came from urban dissatisfaction and unrest, while underground alternative rock
became mainstream. In 1969, the Woodstock music festival embodied the spirit of peace and
love. It was repeated in 1994 and 1999, but unfortunately, the festival in 1999 ended in
violence, marring the essence of the original Woodstock.
        Racial tensions, civil rights disturbances, and deeply divided opinions over the American
presence in the Vietnam war, all served to give the sixties a radical edge. People were
passionate about what they believed in and were willing to give their lives, if necessary, to the
cause. Young people became increasingly opposed to the Vietnam war and had a tendency to
express their opinions more violently than Martin Luther King, Jr., who preached non-violence
while leading the civil rights movement. The idea of free love and the feminist movement was
popularized by the widespread acceptance of the birth control pill. People in the sixties were
intolerant of a government that lied to and misled them. By contrast, people in the nineties are
not as passionate about social issues as they were in the sixties. Most people support issues
based on what is popular and politically correct. In the nineties, it seems most people are more
passionate about obtaining wealth, power and prestige and would rather look the other way when
our president lies. The civil rights movement has been superseded with the fight for gay and
lesbian rights. The AIDS epidemic has advocates supporting safe sex rather than the free love
attitude that was present in the sixties.
        Of course, it is impossible to characterize the 60's and the 90's so simplistically and in
just a few paragraphs. Each was unique in its way. As a "baby boomer" born in 1961, the sixties
to me are a decade of memories. I was too young to understand, much less appreciate the
significance of the events that influenced my generation. Some people called the 60's the
"decade of discontent" because of demonstrations against the Vietnam war. Some called it the
decade of "peace, love, and harmony" because of the peace movement and the emergence of
"flower children". Who knows what society will call the nineties years from now and what they
will remember from this decade? While I will not know the answer for another thirty years, I do
know that the sixties has definitely influenced all aspects of pop culture in the nineties. Many of
people, attitudes and issues that were important thirty years ago are still present and relevant
today.
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