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I miss the Eighties

(39 Posts)
BewaretheIckabog Thu 17-Sep-20 19:21:00

Joking apart, I just don’t understand how far we have regressed in gender / sexual stereotypes.

The fabulous Annie Lennox has short hair and wore masculine suits, no one ever questioned her womanhood. Apart from the odd myopic, elderly relative no one doubted whether Boy George or Marilyn were men.

The sex symbols in rock had long hair, flowing and / or lacy clothes and wore make up. The cool girls had short hair cuts and bovver boots.

Men had perms and highlights, women wore donkey jackets. Eyeliner and heels were for all.

Why so backwards now? I used to think gender identity was fine and everyone should express what they want. Suddenly I’m like WTF is gender identity.

Why have we moved backwards?

OP’s posts: |
midgebabe Thu 17-Sep-20 19:23:49

Backlash and advertising

Advertising...the fewer social groups you have the easier it is to create and sell products . The more dissatisfied your groups are with themselves, the easier it is to create and sell products

So abnormal ( airbrushing ) , uniform role models -> string sales and strong stereotypes

BewaretheIckabog Thu 17-Sep-20 19:33:43

@midgebabe Interesting because I always thought identity politics was about the opposite. Smaller, marginalised groups being convinced they are small and marginalised so need to band together.

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midgebabe Thu 17-Sep-20 19:46:41

Previously gender identity did not exist so you had to make do with sex/age and class ..too limited

Having 7 billion different identities is impossible

Creating a few tens of identities and pushing people into those boxes ...

CaraDuneRedux Thu 17-Sep-20 19:47:17

I miss them too in many respects (though I don't miss the in your face sexism of girly posters on the office wall, and the predatory older men preying on teenagers in a culture where it was all seen as the teenager's fault for leading the poor men on...)

midgebabe Thu 17-Sep-20 19:48:08

It's still the teenagers fault

CaraDuneRedux Thu 17-Sep-20 19:50:28


It's still the teenagers fault

True - but at least we now have laws which mean that it's illegal where it's a man in a position of authority (thinking back to the men who worked in youth groups in <insert-hobby-of-choice-here> who were openly shagging the girls in their care so long as the girl was over 16, and just being a bit less open if she was under 16).

midgebabe Thu 17-Sep-20 19:53:08

Illegality means nothing when prosecutions don't happen and underage girls are arrested for prostitution

user1471448556 Thu 17-Sep-20 19:56:11

I know what you mean. Add people like Sinead O'Connor to the mix - she never conformed.

But I think the tide may be turning - look at artists like Sigrid - no make up, jeans and a T-shirt, Billie Eilish - not conforming to current beauty standards, Harry Styles wearing pink frilly blouses ... hoping we may be emerging from that era where female artists were hyper sexualised.

OhHolyJesus Thu 17-Sep-20 21:04:57

God so do I! Still love Annie Lennox.

We have Harry Styles in a pink blouse but then there's Sam Smith...

Having 7 billion different identities is impossible

Yes I think we just used to call it personality in the 80s. I'm so very bored of the word identity or 'identifies as'.

Any spare Flux capacitors hanging around? Anyone?

frogswimming Thu 17-Sep-20 21:11:04

I was thinking that in relation to the thread about someone's dd being in a relationship with a trans girl and insisting they were lesbians. Ignoring the labels that's like the 80s and dating a new romantic boy.

BewaretheIckabog Thu 17-Sep-20 21:21:55

But also the being out and proud.

I’ve just posted on another thread which I can’t find

It was great to be different, to demand the world accepted and rightly celebrated our differences.

Very different from pretending we’re not different and being shot down for saying those differences exist.

OP’s posts: |
AlecTrevelyan006 Thu 17-Sep-20 21:25:51

Chrissie Hynde, Deborah Harry, Viv Albertine, Siouxsie Sioux, Poly Styrene, Pauline Black

gardenbird48 Thu 17-Sep-20 21:27:06

Adam Ant had such good lip gloss and rocked a frill. It makes me feel so old to think about the 80s as much simpler times - Adam & The Ants or Billy Idol (or both) - we could try out different personas - goth, art student, punk whatever but it was all just growing up. I feel for today’s kids.

Antibles Thu 17-Sep-20 21:44:09

Why have we moved backwards?

Progress in women's legal rights means there very little a man stands lose by identifying as a woman.

This has created opportunities for some men to get things they want at very little cost to themselves.

BewaretheIckabog Thu 17-Sep-20 21:47:08

Yes, imagine being pigeonholed for how you dress? Seems a bit regressive.

OP’s posts: |
youkiddingme Thu 17-Sep-20 21:49:50

It saddens me no end when I hear most of a generation talking as though sex stereotypes are set in stone. Younger people in my own family don't really believe me when I tell them about the seventies and eighties.

BewaretheIckabog Thu 17-Sep-20 21:54:29

But the wonderful idea you could present in anyway you chose - sleep with whoever you want. Be proud of what you are and not have to pretend you are something you aren’t.

OP’s posts: |
Al1Langdownthecleghole Thu 17-Sep-20 21:54:52

I completely accept your point about the artists you mentioned, they were all people whose style I loved.

But. The eighties wasn't a good time in general to be gay. Outside of teen culture, boy George was regularly referred to as a poof. Comedians routinely referred to gay people as Nancy boys and most gay people in professional occupations hid their sexuality. Not to mention clause 28.

So yes, the gender non-conformity was great and I agree that in that regard we have gone backwards. But let's not pretend it was a great time to be gay.

Auridon Thu 17-Sep-20 22:17:37

I'm so glad I'm not the only woman who occasionally thinks about this! I completely agree with you.

I was in a punk rock band, living behind the iron curtain in the late 1980s. I had lots of friends of both sexes and never ever felt like I was being treated differently from the boys, told to dress properly or do typical girly stuff. I was just me.

I've been living in the US for a few decades now and I can honestly say that, in some ways, on this particular issue, this culture seems to be regressing. Girls are mirroring what they see on social media to the point of absurdity and what ends up escaping them is that individuality and coolness are actually very desirable characteristics that a lot of men appreciate. It's a bit sad, really.

I'm not sure what to attribute these changes to, so I'll blame the usual suspects - religion and porn. smile

TeiTetua Thu 17-Sep-20 22:39:03

In the 1980s, Jimmy Savile was in his prime.

OhHolyJesus Thu 17-Sep-20 22:46:07

Not that I disagree but both Philip Schofield and Andi Peters we're children TV presenters, Kenny Everett went before them but to be kids presenters I think was significant.

(Obviously Schofield has only come 'out' recently but back then everybody knew anyway.)

I forget when Sam Fox came out, that must have been later...

CaraDuneRedux Thu 17-Sep-20 22:54:47


In the 1980s, Jimmy Savile was in his prime.

I made a similar point upthread, Tei.

I think there's a certain amount of rose-tinted spectacles going on. Yes, in some respects things have gone backwards, in that sexism was so overt in the 80s at least you knew what you were fighting against. Whereas now it's dressed up as progressive and woke, and a lot of young women are being conned.

Yes, there was gender-bending in the pop scene.

But meanwhile in the real world, I still had to fight tooth and nail to be taken seriously in STEM subjects (there was an admissions tutor in my university who used to boast that he'd take one woman every 3 years to "keep the equal ops people quiet"). There was still an expectation that girls would go into secretarial jobs. Rape within marriage was still legal.

DaisiesandButtercups Fri 18-Sep-20 11:43:19


*Why have we moved backwards?*

Progress in women's legal rights means there very little a man stands lose by identifying as a woman.

This has created opportunities for some men to get things they want at very little cost to themselves.

I am really, really afraid now that we are headed somewhere worse than it has been for British women in living memory. The 80’s were great for being GNC and self expression but not great as regards sexism and homophobia. Things got better in the 90’s and early 00’s.

Now I fear a future where all that we as women have gained is taken from us and moving forward we will be more marginalised, we won’t even be able refer to “women’s problems” as we could before we discuss those things openly. We won’t even have the WI and GirlGuiding, we won’t have the various mothers groups. We won’t be allowed anything with the words woman or girl in the title. We will be separated from each other, unable to support one another in our various life stages. Our physical and mental health will suffer and data will not be available and we won’t be able to organise to improve access and services, many won’t even know that other women or girls share similar experiences. Eventually we will have no words to describe ourselves at all! We’ll be pushed out of the workplace, the leisure centres and sports clubs, even shopping centres as there will be no single sex facilities for us. Employers will surely prefer the kind of men and women who can’t get pregnant and we have already seen how we have lost out in awards and political positions intended for women. Any woman who tries to talk about such things will be effectively silenced. We already see the consequences for women who speak out publicly. We are already learning to close our mouths and lower our eyes. Just be quiet, just keep your head down, hope they leave you alone. Don’t say anything. Be kind. But it is still worse yet, silence is not enough. We must repeat the mantras, use the new words and ways of speaking. We are required to actively participate.

Yes I miss the 80’s!

gardenbird48 Fri 18-Sep-20 17:23:23

Obviously Schofield has only come 'out' recently but back then everybody knew anyway.

I remember being surprised to find out that Philip was married to a lady. I guess he had a vibe :-))

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