The Sixties And The Nineties Cultural Studies Essay

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The sixties and the nineties; not all that different?

An overview of pop culture in the sixties and pop culture in de nineties.

In trying to compare the pop culture of the sixties with the pop culture of the nineties I expected to find lots of differences. One would think that things have changed and that society had to be so much different in these two decades. Despite of these expected differences there are more similarities than one would think. Both the sixties and the nineties knew main issues like youth, fashion and music. In other words, is it possible to state that a difference of thirty years can be ignored let alone to emphasize a reasonable comparison?

While both the sixties and the nineties believed to be unique, people in the sixties were concerned about what they believed in, the people in the nineties, although influenced by the sixties, seemed to be more influenced by technology and wealth.

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The sixties were the start of a different era in which youth had something to tell and were taken more seriously; moreover, youth in general living in the sixties were not seen as a problem but as a consumer. They were a large group, spending a lot of money.

It was also a time of protest and sit-down actions, also youth fought and battled for many causes. Moreover, it was an era in which youth got more interested in politics and racial issues. White beatniks and blacks fought against racism; as a result they became part of the freedom struggle. There were many demonstrations against the existing policy, youth focused against the ideals of morality and decency, sexuality was almost a public affair. Society blamed upbringing and education, failing parents were the cause of these problems.

Accordingly, many of these younger people had ideas about personal freedom and greater individualism. It is a shame that these thoughts slowly disappeared throughout the years and became rare nowadays. Furthermore, during the nineties a deluge of information reached mankind such as more and more television channels, airtime and internet where more and more people seem to be connected to. Younger people make use and take advantage of these possibilities and know how to reach others of their (sub)-culture all around the world very quickly. Life in the nineties is determined by society, there is unemployment, war, and nationalism. Also politics and culture influence mankind. New development in technology provide new jobs in media and communication. The media determine daily life; people see things that let reality and fantasy blend together. By contrast youth culture of the nineties spent their time playing computer games and watching television and are not all that much passionate as their peers of the sixties.

Meanwhile the sixties were the years of revolution in society. The first generation after the war resisted against former generations, youth determined fashion and social idealism. They wanted fashion that fitted into their lifestyle and was affordable. Fashion designers looked at what was worn by younger people and copied that in their workshops. The elegant lady from de fifties was replaced by a young, naive girl with big eyes. Women wanted to look young and they were influenced by Ives Saint Laurent; he designed pinafores and jackets without a waist, narrow above and converged wide downwards. These pinafores looked girlish a the female form was not highlighted. They were made of stiff, synthetic fabrics without a decorative design. Evening dresses were made out of cotton for the first time in history. The colors that prevailed until 1960 were mainly pastel shades, during the sixties primary colors like yellow, red and blue became more common. More and more people dressed according to the latest fashion. Clothing was worn a few seasons and then thrown away, it was produced in low-waged-countries and thus much cheaper than before. Fashion had become a real consumerism.

In contrast to the sixties there is no arise of a new specific new fashion style in the nineties; old elements are newly interpreted and fashion from the eighties is further developed. Consequently there are many variations in fashion styles and differences become smaller; furthermore, also dress codes are more flexible, etiquette is less taken in account. People dress accordingly, you wear what you like. All sort of styles can be combined and where there was a difference between the fashion of the younger and the elder; that difference is almost gone; children, adults and older people wear the same clothes.

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Therefore fashion still is determined by what is being worn and just like in the sixties the nineties are characterized by "anything goes".

Furthermore, at the beginning of the sixties there is a growing interest in rock-'n-roll and blues of which beat music was a mixture and subsequently began to play an important role. As a result people began to combine elements of past decades and beat music into an own style of fashion and accompanying dance. As a result bands like the Beatles reached an immense popularity and inspired other great groups like The Rolling Stones, The Monkees and The Beach Boys. Accordingly, the battle for popularity led to a new direction in pop music; pop music became a form of art where the increasing possibilities of the studio were used and albums became more than just a collection of songs.

The nineties started off with a reaction against the music of the eighties called grunge represented by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. In conclusion this mend the end of the popular glam rock of end of the eighties and the demarcation in pop music became increasingly unclear. Subsequently during the nineties music evolved to "Brit-pop"; Beatles music with a new look. At the same time there is also a wide range of accessible music appreciated by millions and most of all known by Britney Spears, The Spice Girls, The Backstreet Boys and Take That.

Not only the nineties provided us with a wide range of music but also with initiatives among those one which led to the opening of the Rock-'n-Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Even though both decades brought us different styles of music not only innovation and renewal is a shared equally but also the sixties influenced music thirty years later.

Of course it is not possible to characterize the sixties in a few paragraphs. Each decade was unique in its way. I cannot remember much of the sixties since I was born half way through this decade and my remembrance of the nineties is that my children were born in it, not anything else. Some people remember the sixties by the demonstrations while others remember "peace, love and harmony". The nineties are remembered by the arise of technology and the evolution in music.

I do know that the sixties have influenced pop culture in the nineties and that many of (young) people, fashion and music that were important forty years ago were still present and relevant in the nineties. Therefore, in spite of their differences and similarities, both the sixties and the nineties have their own identity. Although influenced throughout history they remain both unique.

A total of 1189 words.