These Things Would Have Been Frowned Upon 20 Years Ago, But Are Totally Cool Today

These Things Would Have Been Frowned Upon 20 Years Ago, But Are Totally Cool Today

Need a Lyft?

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Stepping into strangers cars. 1997: "Never get into a car with a person you don't know, they could be a rapist or a murderer!" 2017:"Let's find a random person on the internet and have him pick us up at 3 am and then give him my address! Maybe he'll give us candy too!"

Know Your Worth

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Expecting people to work for free. As a journalist it's staggering the number of publications that are trying to get people to write for free (its exposure!). And surprisingly there are people who agree to this, thus taking a job away from someone who needs the money to live.


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I would say being gay, 20 years ago when I was in high school there was nobody coming out. (I)t's easier to come out today than 20 years ago.

Stranger Danger

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Meeting people from the internet. Now it's like: order an Uber and jump in a stranger's car to go on a date with a stranger you met on Tinder and when it goes well take them back to your place and order late night burritos online to be delivered to your door by another stranger.


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Stay at home dads. Admittedly I live in a pretty liberal, urban area, but most people I know have done a total 180 on stay at home parents. Stay at home dads used to be considered lazy layabouts who didn't want to or couldn't manage to support their families. Now, though, if you're a stay at home dad you're usually congratulated for being progressive and feminist, for being a good, present dad, and for supporting your career-focused wife. And I think that's great: we should all be in favor of stay-at-home dads, because dads should get the chance to be present, participatory parents too. Families should be flexible.

However, I've noticed that a parallel change has occurred: stay-at-home moms are honestly kind of denigrated and looked-down-upon nowadays. While in the past stay at home moms were seen as wholesome, nurturing, and honorable, now they're often seen the way stay-at-home-dads were viewed, with an added touch of unhelpful "lean in" career-focused feminism; they're seen as lazy, not wanting to work, not "leaning in" to their careers enough, not "real" feminists, not independent women, and having "given up" on themselves. It bugs me a lot. Why can't we just be chill with all parents, so long as they're kind and good, whether they stay at home or work or whatever?

Body Art

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Tattoos, probably. I wouldn't say they're encouraged per se, but they definitely seem to be way more common and accepted these days.

Terms & Conditions

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Agreeing to stuff before reading the agreement.

Seems Safe

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Entering your credit card info on a website.

Ad Revenue

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Non-pop musicians selling out. Back then it was okay if Madonna did a commercial for a major brand because, hey, she was Madonna. She's pop. That's what they do. But if a band like Green Day allowed a song of theirs to used for, example, in a Coke commercial, there would be a loud roar of, "Sell out!" These days, fans would be overjoyed to hear one of their songs pitching their favorite brands. The "sell out" cry as an insult is dead. Now people are, "Get that money anyway you can!"

Long Engagement

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Being someone's fiancée for ever and ever and ever without ever marrying.

Big Brother

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Online dating and being open on the internet. Both in a good "the world is better for this" way but also in a "we have everything there is to know about you on a server".

Charge It

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Personally people these days have so much debt, when I was a kid I was encouraged to not let myself get into debt but nowadays seems like everyone is up to their ears in it.

it's basically accepted as part of adult life that you have to put yourself massively in debt to get anywhere. Especially since the easiest way to build credit when you have none is to get a credit card.


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Wearing leggings. 20 years ago, in 1997, leggings had gone out of style recently enough ago that they weren't plausibly retro, and long enough ago that wearing them was seen as frumpy and trailer-trash, even for exercise or under a dress. (It's possible some serious competitive athletes had fitted pants that were specialty wear for their sport, but regular people going to the gym or going for a run wouldn't even consider it.)

Mentally Healthy

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Starting at 1998, I'd say people can more openly speak about mental illness. Depression, anxiety, etc. aren't "as" dark of a secret anymore.


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Speaking out on sexual harassment seems to be more and more encouraged.

Baby Got Back

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Having a big arse. 20 years ago I remember everyone wanting to look like Winona Ryder or Kate Moss, and lots of jokes were based around the whole "Does my butt look big in this?" thing. Now Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian are in all the magazines, and women are incorporating squats into their exercise routines deliberately to get bigger butts. I realize that social ideas about beauty vary culturally and historically, but it has been interesting to see it change in my lifetime.


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Allowing a corporation to have a microphone always on in your living room. Where I'm from, 30 years ago government put microphones in the living rooms. They would have killed for opportunity to put microphones in every single living room. Or pocket. Instead they had to rely on old fashioned treats to neighbors to make them observe you and write reports every week.


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Fathers taking paternity leave, thankfully. Raising kids should not be exclusively a women's issue. Dads want to spend time with their kids as well.

Likewise, kids should be given the opportunity to grow up spending time with both parents.


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Putting your whole personal life online for the world to see. I deleted Facebook years ago, but there's still a sloshed party video with my full name in the title that comes up whenever you search for me.


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Putting your real identity online was a big "Heck no". I don't get how some people are okay with showing their faces on YouTube in front of potentially millions of viewers, along with their full names and where they live. They may not know your address, but if they know what state and city you live in, that could cause some problems.

Internet Safety 1997: Use your real name and a psycho will find you.

Internet Safety 2017: If you don't use your real name YOU are a psycho.

Instant Access

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Being available 24/7, be it for friends or calls from work.

That's one of my pet peeves. If someone texts or calls you and you don't answer right away, a lot of the time they seem to want an explanation. You're always "on call" for everybody.

Touch and Motion

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Touching the computer screen. When I was a kid, we used to laugh when my mom would try to play Mario and she would lift the controller to try to make him jump. Now when I visit my nephew, he laughs his ass off because I don't raise the controller to try to make Mario jump. Technology is funny that way.

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Note: Comments have been edited for clarity.

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