Gen X’ers Share 20 Things People Get Wrong About The ’90s

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With the end of the Cold War and the spread of the internet, the 1990s is often remembered as a time of peace and prosperity. However, the decade was not without violence and tragedy, including the Rodney King beating and subsequent L.A. Riots, and the bombing of the World Trade Center.

So to get a more accurate view of this iconic era, Reddit user IndieSyndicate made a post on the subreddit ‘Gen X,’ asking it’s members to share the common misconceptions about it.

Born between 1965 and 1980, the cohort stepped up to the task and shared their diverse perspectives and experiences, shedding light on the often oversimplified mainstream narratives.

gen x shares 90s things people get wrong 0

Things People Get Wrong About The ’90s : 1.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

Money was tight then, too. People were happy with fewer luxuries, because we could get by. And the very idea of giving a child a device worth hundreds of dollars was ludicrous! I still feel this way.

2.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

There’s a HUGE difference between the early 90’s and late 90’s. After 1996 it was more millennial, pokémon, Britney Spears vs the early 90’s which was more grunge smooth RnB.

3.

Gen X'ers Share 50 Things People Get Wrong About The '90s

That Nirvana ruled the 90s, and brought an end to all other forms of hard rock. They hit hard for about two and a half years, and then we were stuck with Tonic and the goddamn Spin Doctors.

4.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

Nobody seems to talk about all the maroon and hunter-green wallpaper strips that were added to the top of the walls in houses.

Maroon and hunter-green everywhere. From cars to vacuums and beyond.

Oh, and the prevalence of People magazine. I see stuff about Readers Digest, but People magazine is not really talked about.

I also don’t think people really understand just how much people smoked then either. Smoking in the car with your kids in it, at McDonalds, at school, etc.

Things People Get Wrong About The ’90s : 5.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

The 90s was a lot more analog than it’s presented. People still read newspapers and magazines. Cell phones were not ubiquitous. Cassette tapes and VHS tapes still dominated.

6.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

Internet being widely available, so many tv shows and movies showing teenagers in supposedly early and mid 90s sitting in their bedrooms chatting online on their personal computers or being “hackers” and I’m like “b*tch in 1994 I didn’t even know what the internet was” and I didn’t really get home internet until 1999 (in the one and only computer of the house), and neither did anyone I knew, even the rich kids at school didn’t care or knew about it, you were either out of the house or watching tv.

7.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

The 90s was the dial up era and transition from dot matrix printers to ink jet. That modem squealing sound sums it up. We had technology, but it required patience and we were so grateful to have it, nobody complained. You lose the Internet for 10 minutes these days and people act like they’re going to lose their minds.

8.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

The early 90s and late 90s were two very different times culturally.

I can’t stand it when I see a picture of the spice girls with a “So 90s!” caption.

9.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

That the 90s were some kind of utopia. There was a lot of good things, but the 90s were violent and there were way more ism’s on display.

Things People Get Wrong About The ’90s : 10.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

I loved the 90’s so much. But people do forget that 1/4 oz. Of weed could get you a serious sentence, and homophobia was even worse then i think.

11.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

That everyone loved Curt Cobain and/or Nirvana or that he/they even “spoke” for a generation.

12.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

Grunge always seems to get the spotlight, but an overwhelming number of people were pretty preppy actually. We did, after all, make household names out of the Gap, Banana Republic, J Crew, etc.

13.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

A comment I heard years ago and don’t remember the source: “1997 was the year it stopped being weird to have email.”.

14.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

That the early 1990’s were really bleak economically. Nearly everyone I knew, including people with Ivy League degrees, were working good service or retail just trying to get by. The Information Age felt so distant in 1992 – it wouldn’t explode until another five years. Rodney King, the LA riots, OJ Simpson trial – these were big signs that we were a long way from racial harmony.

Everyone older than us was screaming about family values, while we elected a known womanizer president, and a Speaker of the House who was impeaching the president while getting blow jobs from a woman who would become his third wife. We now had a known sexual harasser on the Supreme Court – gender equality wasn’t that great, either. The Balkans were destroying themselves. Rwanda genocide barely made the papers. Yitzak Rabin is assassinated. Middle East terrorism starts. There was a lot of global uncertainty. At home, Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, the Olympic bomber – these show deep divides brewing.

Matthew Shepherd, whole communities still dying of AIDS, Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell – we have a long way to go for gay rights. But by 1995, the economy starts to heat up. By 1998 it’s exploding. Then the dot com bubble burst. All of these things set into motion the new and continuing problems that continue to dominate our lives today.

Don’t get me wrong – the 1990’s were an amazing decade. Despite all of these things, there was a lot of hope, and the feeling that we could be part of a world that could still do amazing things and we were going to get to see them, participate in them, prosper under it. GenXers were, more than anything, YOUNG.

That feeling of youth is what a lot of people miss when they remember the 90’s. Just as there was neon in the 1980’s, there was prosperity and feelings of possibility in the 90’s. But it wasn’t the norm, and it wasn’t for everyone. We felt great, sleeping on futons at 25, but little we know we were destined to back problems in our 40’s because of them.

Things People Get Wrong About The ’90s : 15.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

I think one of the most interesting transitions from the 90’s into the 00’s can be observed through The Sopranos. It starts with phone booths and pagers and ends with iPhones (Sopranos ran until 2007*, there was definitely overlap. It’s featured prominently in the final season, used by Anthony Jr.) so the cell phone evolution represented there is just one aspect of tech and culture changes at the turn of the century that can be seen in the series.

The inclusion of the iPhone in the final season was some prime product placement marketing for the new product. If you think of the 80’s as “grey” you may have missed the the obsession with “neon” (uv) colors that began in the 80’s and proliferated in the 90’s. The 80’s were hyper saturated with a wholly different palette from the 70’s, and laid a foundation for 90’s design. 

16.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

A lot of people mention grunge and gangsta rap, but country was very hot too. Country line dancing became a big thing, Branson, Missouri became a big tourist destination with its theaters, and artists like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain made tons of money. My grandfather always had the country station on. Alan Jackson and George Strait were his favorites. The country influence made its way into homes, with cow, geese, and rooster decor.

17.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

Us older Gen Xers we’re full fledged, college educated working adults with careers in the 90s. Some of us even had kids and houses.

The advantage was that we had plenty of money for concert tix and Doc Martins.

18.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

I think one idea that’s misrepresented is that we were already online, all the time.

I mean, I was STOKED when I got into the dorm with LAN connections in 1993, but I was an outlier. Lots of kids at my college barely understood using computers, much less anything internet-related beyond maybe an AOL/AIM. Obviously this was an evolution of ten very fast moving years.

19.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

Some of the most popular music artists of the ‘90s were also the most popular music artists of the ‘80s, like: Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi, George Michael, Paula Abdul, and Salt N Pepa.

Things People Get Wrong About The ’90s : 20.

30 People Like To Romanticize The '90s, Gen X'ers Share What They Get Wrong

The Rave scene was bigger and better than anyone seems to remember. PLUR.

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