March 24, 2013

What icons of the '80s should stay in the '80s?

The greatest decade since the '20s was not without its faults. In the interest of painting its portrait warts and all, what would you include?

The low-fat / low-cal obsession. It wasn't as bad as now, but that was when it started to go mainstream. File vegetarianism under this theme too.

Jogging craze, running shoes, "performance" shoes / clothing / accessories in general. I know jogging began a little earlier, but the whole Nike Air, biker shorts as everyday attire, etc. thing got going then.

Bodybuilding. Nowhere near today's level of bro-science, but still something newly mainstream back then.

Working out at the gym, as opposed to doing athletic activities. Again, just getting started, but still something unmistakably on-the-rise. I don't mind women going to their aerobics classes, since that was more group-interactive, and women aren't going to be playing team sports or doing much athletics anyway, so no huge loss. But guys doing all those repetitive isolated movements, mostly in isolation from other people, is a step down the ladder.

Those are just off the top of my head, I didn't plan to focus only on health / exercise. But that does seem to be one area where we can find roots in the '80s of today's weirdness. Focusing on "health" mostly means personal, not public health, and invites OCD thinking and behavior, touching so easily on taboo foods, well known cures and routines that can wave it away, though only with frequent repetition.

These trends therefore went against the decade's overall spirit of carefree and unpretentious living, and don't ever need to see a revival.


  1. The hairstyles. Oh, God, the hairstyles.

    The mullet was big in the 80s. So was the shellacked-straight-up bangs look on girls.

  2. How about those yellow "baby on board" signs people hung from their car windows?


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