The rumors are true: the 90s are back. Looking around, one can see an abundance (or obsession) of flannel, Ray Bans, long hair, boy bands, neon colors, Fresh Prince, or just about anything from Generation Y’s childhood cartoon favorites.
As a member of our society’s youth who grew up in the 1990s, I see absolutely no problem with this resurgence of the past, especially since it just leaves me feeling nostalgic and overcome with happiness. But, I still have the urge to ask myself, “Why is this happening now?” I am just starting to creep into the next decade of my existence, so why is it that my childhood still resonates with not only myself, but with youth in general? Gen Y could have waited a couple more decades before realizing how awesome the 90s were and how much of an impact they made on our childhood and, eventually, our entire lives. Instead we decided while immediately stepping into adulthood to reminisce on the images and music and time period of when we were young…er.
This “changeover” has occurred not only with our nostalgic past, though, for it has occurred with children of the 60s, 70s, and 80s as well, and probably even decades before then as well. The children of these decades have interests and personalities that reflect the pop culture of those times, but the difference between those kids and the kids of the 90s is that we have the internet. With the help of the internet, the children of the 90s are beginning to immerse themselves into the adult world and take control of pop culture.
It is a lot easier today to recreate childhood by bringing back the music, movies and television shows by creating websites and Twitters to commemorate favorite 90s things. One example is of the Twitter duo @90sgirlproblem with 590,296 followers and @90sboyproblem with 33,197 followers. Some Tweets include “My Polly Pocket was too big and ripped my pocket,” “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!!,” and “I can’t feel my tongue after the 20th green apple Warhead in a row.” These are only a few of the innumerable Tweets that relate to all the 90s kids out there, but each and every one has a special meaning that Gen Y tucks away into our Lisa Frank folders for safe keeping.
Another huge trend that has cropped up again is the old school television show obsession via the web, featuring hit shows such as Boy Meets World, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Saved by the Bell, and Full House, in addition to hit cartoons such as Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Doug, The Wild Thornberrys, Sailor Moon, Dexter’s Laboratory, and Ed, Edd, ‘n’ Eddy. Justin.tv was one of the few online websites that allowed fans of the shows and even children in today’s society to watch streamed episodes of these TV shows, and now Netflix and Hulu, among other websites, are jumping on the band wagon for this huge shift in popular culture.
Our generation introduced pop culture into technology with such a high demand, and today pop culture is most prevalent in technology through not only television, but through internet even more so. Music and those in the music industry have become even greater pop culture sensations with the help of Youtube.com, generating tween sensations such as Justin Bieber and reality TV shows such as The X Factor which produces more boy bands such as One Direction from the United Kingdom. Just as Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys were such huge sensations for my generation in the pop industry, these sensations are for today’s children – but development was different with the 80s introduction of teen pop stars leading to 90s pop stars, which led to the introduction of teen sex appeal, and so on.
Even though the 90s ended, the idea of the 90s has never stopped living. N*SYNC may have split, but Justin Timberlake continues to make terrible yet catchy pop music. Britney Spears is still crazy. Everyone either still owns a pair of Ray Bans, or now owns knock-offs. And as television becomes worse, we still look to the internet to catch back up on how Corey and Topanga were doing back at age 15.
Why is it that we are already so obsessed with an era that ended just over a decade ago? Because our generation can be. Because we control the media now, and what attracts more attention than something you’re already familiar with and nostalgic about? The world of pop culture is in a vicious cycle with Generation Y emerging into adulthood and immersing into the realm of the media and the internet, taking from what is remembered from childhood and recreating it explicitly. But honestly, people strive for connection, and we can connect easily with 90s culture: it was fun, exciting, and it reminds us of the good old days.