- Culture of the 1990s
The 1990s was the last decade of the
20th Centuryand the first decade after the Cold War. Informally, the 1990s may refer to the time period between the fall of Communismin 1991and end in 2001with the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks. Often times the 1990s are associated as a time of relative peaceand economic prosperity between the major conflicts of the Cold War and the War on Terror[http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:L3MTStfUKQUJ:www.easttennessean.com/news/2004/09/02/Lifestyle/90s-Nostalgia.Created.By.Pop.Culture.Phenomena-709576.shtml+1990s+ended+on+9/11&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=us] .
Grunge, Generation X, and the "Alternative" Decade
During the 1980s,
alternative rockand grungewere seen mostly in the underground musicscene. By the early-1990s however, Grunge became a dominant form of music across the United Statesand to an extent a major portion of the Anglosphere[ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2679 allmusic ] ] . The big four bands that formed the basis of the grunge movement were Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. Grunge had its roots in the DIYideology of Punk musicand therefore embraced anti-corporatism, challenging the status quo, and supported indiviualism. Generation X, the primary generation of people born in the 1960s and 1970s (then college age) adopted the grunge culture quickly, separating the 1990s apart from the 1980s. As Generation X's media presence grew, more television shows were focused on their demographic, extreme sportssuch as skateboarding, rollerblading, and skydivingbecame more prevalent, and tatoos, piercings, flannelshirts, and ripped jeans became more trendy [http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:NxsiwqziMtsJ:query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html%3Fres%3D9E0CEED7173BF936A25752C1A964958260%26sec%3D%26spon%3D%26pagewanted%3Dall+1990s+grunge+fahsion+ripped+jeans+flannel&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us,] [ [http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2008/07/24/how_will_we_categorize_our_current_decad How Will We Categorize Our Current Decade of Music? - Starpulse Entertainment News Blog ] ] . These attributes, as well as the rise of alternative music, separated the 1990s from the glamfashions of the 1980s and the later " preppy" fashions of the 2000s[ [http://www.icmrindia.org/casestudies/catalogue/Marketing/Lacoste's%20Marketing%20Strategies%20in%20the%20US%204.htm Lacoste's Marketing Strategies in the US - Marketing Case Studies ] ] creating a period known by some as the "Alternative" decade. Douglas Couplandpublished "" in 1991 regarding the Generation X demographic and popularizing the term.
The grunge movement faced a terrible loss with the death of singer
Kurt Cobainof Nirvana fame in 1994. It is debatable if his death triggered the downfall of grunge, but at some point in the mid-1990s, alternative rock in general replaced grunge's popularity and later post-grunge[ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2771 allmusic ] ] , nu metal[ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2697 allmusic ] ] , indie rock[ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2687 allmusic ] ] , pop punk[ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2928 allmusic ] ] , and a new wave of teen popartists would dominate music charts for the remainder of the decade.
Besides the rise and fall of grunge, Generation X also embraced
environmentalismand an interest in entrepreneurship. The fond love of extreme sports lead some young people to become increasingly involved in outdoor activities that combined embracing athletics with the appreciation of nature.
The Introduction of the Internet
Although the basic applications and guidelines that make the
Internetpossible had existed for almost a decade, the network did not gain a public face until the 1990s. On August 6 1991, CERN, which straddles the border between Franceand Switzerland, publicized the new World Wide Webproject. The Web was invented by English scientist Tim Berners-Leein 1989.
Once the internet was made availiable for the public, it took off greatly. Its widest appeal was the ability to communicate with others around the world, some common examples would be
chat rooms, forums, wikis, blogs, and of course revenueand promotioneventually leading up to the makings of the dot.com boom. It wasn't long before the Intenet began to affect pop culture. The interest in the Bulletin Board Systemdecreased heavily with the introduction of the internet [ [http://www.flakmag.com/misc/bbs.html Flak Magazine: BBSes, 11-23-01 ] ] .
Because of the internet's tendency allowing users from around the globe to communicate with one another, a concept of online social ettiquette developted called "
Netiquette" [ [http://www.dtcc.edu/cs/rfc1855.html RFC 1855: Netiquette Guidelines ] ] . And as a result of the internet's introduction and growth into average use, users began developing their own language of abbreviations and codes. The most widely known symbols and abbreviations used are, Emoticons such as the smiley face[:)] , LOL["Laughing Out Loud"] , and OMG!["Oh, My God/Gosh!"] . Leet, a more complicated form of internet language, also has its roots in the 1990s [ [http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/47607.html E-Commerce News: Trends: A Leet Primer ] ] .
There was however another side to the Internet. Its format made it easy to share information around the world fairly quickly and problems regarding
privacy, piracy, pornagraphy, and copyright infringementfollowed the internet like a shadow. The popular peer-to-peernetwork Napsterallowed users to illegally download MP3files to their computers thus triggering record companies to fire back at the provider and its users in 1999 and 2000. The MP3, although not as common a music format, did not threaten the compact discat the time; the MP3 would grow more popular in the 2000s.
A few of the websites developed in the 1990s that became widely known are
Ebay, Amazon.com, Yahoo!, Craigslist, Xanga, classmates.com, Newgrounds, Something Awful, and The Best Page in the Universe.
Gangsta Rap and the rise of Hip Hop Culture
Hip hopand Rap musiccontinued to dominate the music charts alongside grunge in the 1990s and diversified into several different styles. The most prevalent style of rap music during the decade was Gangsta rap, hip hop that reflected the violent lifestyles of some inner-city youths [ [http://media.www.theallstate.com/media/storage/paper801/news/2007/10/03/Perspectives/Baggy.Pants.Get.The.CrackDown-3006260.shtml Baggy pants get the crack-down - Perspectives ] ] . Artists carrying the sound soon found themselves put into the spotlight fairly quickly and it wasn't long before the gangsta style caught on with the youth. Gangsta rap gave rise to the fashion of sagging [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/09/02/LV09RRMJK.DTL fashion police / Pull 'em up or pay it down ] ] , the wearing of very loose clothing and re-introduced the beanie into popular fashions [ [http://www.planet-sports.com/en/product21809/product_info.html TECHNINE Gangsta Beanie black ] ] . Other fashion marks made by the gangsta movement was the wearing a baseball capcocked to one side rather than wearing it normally forward and the wearing of many Tommy Hilfigerproducts.
Due to the violent nature of the lyrical content of gangsta rap songs, many parents and
political commentators thought the songs were too vulgarto be heard by children [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103092,00.html FOXNews.com - Is Gangsta Rap Hurting America's Children? - Bill O’Reilly | The O’Reilly Factor ] ] . Its popularity sparked new debates regarding music censorshipas many songs were considered highly controversal for the time. Pundits and parents believed that Gangsta rap promoted homophobia, violence, profanity, promiscuity, misogyny, rape, street gangs, drive-by shootings, police brutality, vandalism, thievery, crime, drug dealing, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, racism, and materialism. Tupac Shakurof Death Row Recordsand The Notorious BIGof Bad Boy Records, wage a cultural war in the hip hop musicscene, leading to the murder of both Shakur in 1996 and BIG in 1997.
By 1999, Hip hop and rap overtook alternative rock's popularity among the youth, the famous Detroit rapper
Eminemis often creditted as popularizing the genre amongst all of the youth demographic [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/16/international/americas/16bogo.html?ex=1397448000&en=d4259c4a70591b0f&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND|title=New York Times - For Colombia's Angry Youth, Hip-Hop Helps Keep It Real
April 4, 2004|accessdate = 2007-07-15] .
Beginnings of a Global Culture
After the Cold War, world trade increased and the rise of the internet promoted the sharing of different cultures. World
trading blocs and free trade agreements can also be said to promote the sharing of ideals and cultures. The European Unionwas set up and NATOexpanded in the 1990s. Some politicians and political pundits fear that it promotes too much globilization[ [http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spmm_e/spmm39_e.htm WTO | News - speech - DG Mike Moore - The Backlash against Globalization? ] ] and argue it will ultimately lead to one world government, assimilation, or the dumping of cultures altogether [ [http://www.aph.gov.au/library/Pubs/rp/2000-01/01RP27.htm Globalisation: Perceptions and Threats to National Government in Australia (Research Paper 27 2000-01) ] ] .
In Europe a popular form of artistic independent film known as
Dogme 95began to get widespread attention by many in the indie filmscene. It was considered by many in the film industryas 'unprofessional', as many of the cameras were handheld and no elements of special effects were used as per the dogme rules [ [http://www.dogme95.dk/menu/menuset.htm Welcome to the official DOGME 95 - WEBSITE ] ] , but it would later inspire directors all over the world to implement some techniques of dogme into their films.
During the 1990s, there grew an increasing interest in Japanese anime and
manga. The interest in anime was fueled by animated character's surreal yet realistic appearances and great graphics provided by their artists. Popular anime's of the 1990s that gained a worldwide fanbase included Pokémon("1996"), Dragonball Z("1989"), and Sailor Moon("1992"). Media consolidationleads to increased segmentationin styles of music.
Family and the silent rise of Generation Y
The 1990s were considered a prosperous time for families. In the United States, the
divorce ratebegan to stabalize, however early in the decade the number of teenage girls giving birth increased [ [http://www.cnn.com/US/9805/28/family.figures/index.html CNN - Decline of traditional American family slows in 90's - May 28, 1998 ] ] and the number of single parenthouseholds also increased [ [http://www.prb.org/Articles/2001/TheRiseandFallofSingleParentFamilies.aspx The Rise — and Fall? — of Single-Parent Families - Population Reference Bureau ] ] . The early 1990s marked the latter half of the Echo Boom and the late- Generation Yers being born. Over 80 million GenYers were born between 1982 and 1995 [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/01/60minutes/main646890.shtml The Echo Boomers , Steve Kroft Reports On The Children Of The Baby Boomers - CBS News ] ] giving them enormous spending power.
As Generation Y grew, their parents and the media began to catter to them while they were young. Mothers of Generation Yers became known as
soccer moms as soccerbecame a phenomenon among this generation. They were being nurtured to become multitaskers and teamplayers [http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/careerist/38889] . And as the soccer mom prevalence in US culture grew, so too did the rise of the Sport Utility Vehiclethroughout the world [ [http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080625/COUNTY09020101/806250350/1177/COUNTY0902 1990s drop in gas prices fueled rush to large SUVs | www.tennessean.com | The Tennessean ] ] , replacing the station wagonand minivanas the stereotypical family vehicle.
In the 1990s, television becomes more violent and provacative than in previous decades. In response to complants, a parental rating system was introduced in 1997 known as the
The beginning of the
Gulf Warbegins the era of 24-hour CNNnews coverage. Later on in 1996, Fox Newswould debut, also formatted as a 24-hour news service. The introduction of 24-hour news brought people an increase of awareness and coverage of world events and Infotainmentprograms. Al Jazeerabegins broadcasting in 1996, subsidised by a grant from the emir of Qatarand expanded their programming range across the Arabic-speaking world.
After the success of "
The Simpsons" with adults, networks begin premiering more animated shows targetted towards the Generation X and older demographics. MTVshifts away from music videos throughout the decade, focusing more on original programming and reality television[ [http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article613944.ece MTV struggles to keep the attention of its young audience - Times Online ] ] . Reality TV would become more prevalent in the 2000s. The music network also tried with limited success with the record industryto try and force Electronicaand Euro-popmusic into the United States in the late-1990s [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE0D6173BF93AA25752C0A961958260&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/R/Recordings%20(Audio) A New, Spacey Look For MTV - New York Times ] ] . Electronica in the United States however still existed in the underground and within the raveculture. Eurodance, Techno, and electronic musicdid continue to dominate discotheques and had numerous major mainstream hits on European radio. Besides alternative rock and electronic music, R&B, and an increasing number of Christian rockartists grew to mainstream success.
The sports of
NASCARand Professional wrestlingexperience a huge rise in popularity during the 1990s [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FNP/is_11_40/ai_75452780 Earnhardt legacy drives Nascar popularity boom - Nascar being promoted - Brief Article | DSN Retailing Today | Find Articles at BNET ] ] [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4182/is_19981116/ai_n10123463 Pro wrestling enjoys a second `90s boom | Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City) | Find Articles at BNET ] ] . Satellite televisionbecomes more affodable in the 1990s with the introduction of Dish Network, British Satellite Broadcasting, and DirecTVexposing viewers to hundreds of more channels and also global networks.
Following the 1980s media counter-culture lead by
tabloid talk shows popularized by Oprah Winfreyin 1986, which provided high-impact media visibility for gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transgender people [ [http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/280640.html Joshua Gamson, Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity, excerpt and interview ] ] the 1990s saw a further increase in gay visibility in the North American mainstream media.
In 1990, the
World Health Organizationremoved homosexualityfrom its list of diseases.
AIDS epidemicof the 1980s and 90s helped the general public develop a more sympathetic attitude towards gays. Movies and televison programs with gay characters saw mainstream success, and celebrities spoke openly about their sexuality.
Bill Clintongenerally held a pro-gay rights viewpoint, however the " Don't ask, don't tell" policy he implemented into allowing gays into the military became quite controversal among both the right-wingand left-wingsides of the political spectrum.
Other Cultural trends
Extended alcohol salesare implemented in the US to reduce alcohol abuse.
The exploitation of the collectability of
comic booksresults in a trend of "gimmick" packaging and storylines (most notably The Death of Superman). The comic book industry collapses as interest in print comics decreases among younger generations and casual readers. Comic books disappear as a familiar sight at the newsstands. As comics, including Japanese mangaand other graphic novels become more available in bookstore chains, the role of the comic book store as a source for comics and social gathering wanes. The domination by industry giants Marvel Comicsand DC Comicsends as various independents produce popular titles. The era of comic book collecting for speculative investmentends. Webcomicsby amateur cartoonistsbecome popular.
Block schedulingbecame a trendy initiative for United States schools.
* The 500th anniversary of
Christopher Columbus' discovery of America in 1992 was popularly observed, despite controversy and protests against Columbus' expeditions victimization of Native Americans. The holiday was labeled by some as racist, in view of Native American experiences of colonialism, slavery, genocideand cultural destruction.
1990s in fashion
Culture of the 2000s
* [http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade90.html Kingwood College Library: American Cultural History 1990-1999]
* [http://www.retrojunk.com/ Retrojunk]
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