Awful Things From the 70’s That Would Get Instantly Cancelled Today

By Krystal Brown

The 1970s marked an era of unbridled expression and pushing limits, yet certain behaviors and norms that were deemed acceptable during that time would undoubtedly clash with our modern sensibilities. 


Man smoking
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The rise of the vape in modern times has brought about a new generation of smokers all around the world. However back in the 70’s cigarettes were still a very sociable and accepted hobby. In fact it was common practice to smoke literally everywhere. People would smoke in restaurants, shopping malls, planes and even at schools. Of course as it became more known that passive smoking could cause the same if not worse effects on your body, it  slowly came to a stop. Nowadays smoking anywhere in doors will not be tolerated.

Children’s Toy Advert

Parent helping child to put toy inside box
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Back in the 70’s gender specific adverts were mainstream and common amongst every household. One type of advert that would definitely be banned today was the promotion of kids toys. Companies would portray boys playing with action figures and girls with dolls. Classic gender roles were promoted as the normal belief system and behavioural patterns which then bled into adulthood. However in today’s era toy companies have taken a more gender neutral approach with the main focus being boys and girls can play with anything that piques their interest.

On-screen Racism

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Blatant racism in Hollywood was a huge problem for much of the 70’s and unfortunately is still sometimes seen today. The lack of African American stars was mainly due to racism in the industry. One common practice amongst producers was something called blackface. This was when white actors would paint their faces black and brown leaving clear definition in their eyes and lips. They did this to imitate an African man or woman and in this era it would be cancelled immediately. It’s sad to say but the whole concept came about because of inequality and racism that was prevalent throughout much of world history. African men and women were seen as lesser and wouldn’t be given the same jobs as their white counterparts, which led to people painting their face for roles in movies, plays and any type of circus or theatre. It slowly fell out of fashion in the 40’s but was still seen on our screen as late as 1990.


Woman saying no
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As many of you know, a man who is caught being blatantly sexist to a woman would be cancelled immediately. However snarky remarks and casual jokes were a common and socially accepted form of flirting back in the 70’s. It was seen as a sign of confidence amongst peers but at the same time must have been extremely bothersome for many women who suffered at the hand of sleazy men. Women would be sexualized publicly with no real consequences as laws and workforce guidelines were not something that catered for them in the slightest. It’s good to know we have come a long way since then.

Cultural Appropriation

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Cultural appropriation is when one culture inappropriately adopts aspects of another culture without consent or some sort of acknowledgement. Many mistake this concept with cultural exchange where two cultures participate in each other’s customs and rituals, whether that be wearing their clothes, eating their food or singing their songs. Many people in the 70’s would take offence as things some would find cool and adopt on a whim, were actually important culturally and held great significance to others.

Wearing Fur

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Picture big bear rugs, puffy leopard skin coats, and a pair of shiny snake skin Boots. This type of clothing was a staple product amongst the rich and famous for much of the 19th century. However nowadays the killing of animals to use in production is frowned upon and many species are close to extinction because of excessive hunting. In the 70’s it was common for a Brit or American to sail the seas to hunt large elephants for their tusks and sometimes the rich would go just because they were bored. Since then massive initiatives have been launched to protect countries native animals and species.

Shoulder Pads

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Oh how far women’s fashion has come. Imagine you’re walking through the streets in your local neighbourhood and you see a small framed woman walking towards you with these massive frames resting on her shoulders. I would freak out! For much of the 70’s and 80’s this was seen as a fashion statement and many women would wear either pointy or enlarged shouldered blazers and suits to work every day. Thank god this concept has been abolished in todays era.


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I wish I could say we would cancel this men’s hairstyle straight away, but unfortunately i’ve started to see the infamous mullet come back to life. In recent year more and more people have started to rock this look giving us a glimpse of what the 70’s may have looked like. Thankfully a majority of people still think this hairstyle belongs in the past, (Thank goodness!).

Dangerous Toys

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Child safety laws and regulation were not a major concern back in the 70’s. Kids back then had many opportunities to seriously injure other kids and sometimes even adults. With toys like Model rocket, clacker, seriously menacing BB guns and lawn darts were amongst just a few of the crazy toys that they were allowed to use. Now of course child safety guidelines have come a long way and the toys manufactured have to go through rigorous testing before they are distributed.


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Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that can be woven into insulation. They were very popular in houses and kept many people warm for years. The problem here comes when the material is moved or damaged. This then causes the mineral to become airborne and once inhaled can cause lung disease such as cancer and asbestosis. After a period of time people will suffer shortness of breath and fatigue amongst many other symptoms. Because of our knowledge in today’s era all houses that contain the material have been deemed uninhabitable unless you completely get rid of the insulation in the walls.

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