Everyday Practices in the Nineties That Raise Eyebrows Today

By Aaron Stone

The 1990s was a decade of bold fashion choices, catchy pop music, and iconic TV shows. But what was totally cool in the 90s might be cringe-worthy today.

From butterfly clips to cargo pants, we’re taking a look at some of the things that were totally normal in the 90s but frowned upon today. So get ready to cringe and reminisce, as we dive into a decade of questionable trends.

Slow Internet Connection 

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The yearning for a fast internet connection was not at the loudest in the nineties due to factors like its newness, lean usage and the fact that dial-up internet was the most popular choice. People had less worry about slow internet speed based on that premise. But in today’s era of widespread usage that we rely on the internet for the majority of our daily life, including connection to family and friends, banking services, staying up to date with news and entertainment, and even getting on with our daily routine. The thought of a slow internet connection is a sin and falls into the pool of things people frown upon. 

Phoning your Friend’s Home 

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What is seen as an intrusive attempt nowadays was very popular in the nineties. The reason is that only some have access to cell phones, and the surest way to contact your friend is to call their home phone number. Most times, you are more likely to call in at a family bad time or interrupt their moment, which they see no reason to frown at. But nowadays, that everyone has access to mobile phones, it has become intrusive to call directly into the family line because everyone expects you to text the person directly or call them on their line. 

Smoking in the Public Places 

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In the nineties, smoking was seen as a sign of sophistication and wealth, placing it among socially acceptable habits that people see no need to frown at. In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness about the effect of secondhand smoke, highlighting the devastating impact of smoking on people’s lives, which has brought about stringent laws being passed by the government to address those issues. All this has spiked how much people frown at smoking in public places. For instance, the United States government banned public smoking in aeroplanes in 1998, while the United Kingdom did the same for enclosed places in 2007. 

Showing Up at Someone’s Door Unannounced 

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This was just a harmless gesture in the nineties that anyone could do without ruffling some feathers or being frowned at has now become gatecrashing and an unwelcome theme in today’s world. The widespread rudimentary medium of communication during those times made it acceptable to drop by someone’s door without prior notice with the thought of meeting them at home. In today’s world of busyness and heightened awareness about personal space, people count unannounced visits as rude, lacking etiquette, and frown at people who do so.

Lack of Diversity in the Mainstream Media  

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The idea of diversity in the nineties was merely a thing of representation or just the formality of having people of different races on the screen. Lack of diversity in the mainstream

Media was not a big deal based on these perspectives. However, today, there has been a significant increase in the call for diversity due to an enhanced understanding of inclusivity in the mainstream media and a shift away from the old perspective of mere representation. In recent years there has been a growing awareness from different movements that call for diverse media that gives everyone a voice which speaks of how people nowadays frown at the lack of diversity in mainstream media compared to people of the nineties. 

Zero Environmental Awareness 

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The issue of ozone depletion, climate change and pollution was not a significant concern for people in the nineties, which was shown in how they didn’t place that at the center of their public consciousness. Nowadays, the rise of environmental activism, scientific publications, and increased coverage in the media have shaped public opinion about the importance of environmental protection, which is apparent in how they frown at any idea of indifference to that. This is a significant shift from the nineties when lack of environmental awareness was a norm and not frowned upon. 

Using Landline Telephone 

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The landline telephone was the primary mode of communication in the nineties, and using them was considered normal and a sign of affluence in society then. The development of mobile phones with unlimited capabilities has changed people’s opinion about landline telephone use. Nowadays, people see landline telephone users as old-fashioned and sometimes frown at the inconvenience posed by its usage.  

Widespread Use of Disposable Plastic 

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The many use cases of disposable plastic in varieties of products such as straws, bags, utensils and others was such a beauty to behold for people in the nineties that was shown in how they paid lip service to its unsustainability and hazard it can cause to the environment. The growing awareness against the use of disposable plastic in recent years due to its many hazards that, include environmental pollution, the possibility of ending up as a landfill or in the ocean, and the nonrenewable resources being used for its production, has resulted in several backlash against the use of disposable plastic. 

Not Using Seatbelts 

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It was not uncommon to see people drive without wearing seatbelts in the nineties, even in the front seat of their car. This habit receives zero-backlash due to less awareness about the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt. In today’s world, we have seen the growing advancement in safety research that unearths how seatbelts significantly reduce the risk of severe injury or death in a car crash; this has opened people’s eyes to the importance of using seatbelts, which changed social norms. As a result, driving without using a seatbelt is now considered a great offense that is frowned upon by many people and can lead to hefty fines or arrest if caught. 

Overconsumption of Fast Fashion 

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The realization by most people that fast fashion is a significant polluter responsible for more than 10% of carbon emissions has caused a shift in the global view of fast fashion. This was not the case in the nineties when many people were comfortable using cheap, synthetic, nonbiodegradable clothing, which later polluted the environment. In recent years, people are much more conscious of these fashion brands’ ethical and environmental implications, which has made them more critical and frown at people who buy cheap disposable clothes.