How will you be remembered?
Every decade has their thing. The 60s were rock ‘n’ roll, the 70s housed disco and funk and the 80s and 90s were a tapestry of grunge, pop, conflict, progress and technological boom.
So what were the 2000s? An amalgamation of decades past? Years dominated by a class of hip? The loss of creativity in lieu of laziness?
Grab your UGG boots, green tea and vinyl as we attempt to pay homage to a decade that still seems on a quest for identity.
It’s no surprise that youth culture directly reflects the feel of the times, as those on the fringe utilize the decade’s norms to create counter-identities that challenge the mainstream.
Often these subcultures position themselves as the antithesis of “in”, embracing underground culture in attempts to fight the pod people that dictate every decade.
However, these independent thinkers with their well-cultivated wardrobes, musical tastes and lifestyles are quickly mimicked by the very society they’re attempting to stand apart from.
In response, new undergrounds are created and independence returns, but the cycle quickly begins again. The 2000s have seen this three times.
From the end of the 90s to the mid-2000s, skate and punk culture became the epitome of “badass” attitude as youth used their skateboards and punk lyrics to rebel against social norms and mainstream lifestyles.
Though skate and punk cultures have been around for decades, a new generation attempting to grasp originality relentlessly took up the sport while blaring the sounds of The Clash and NOFX – though failing to grasp the actual history of both cultures while rushing to West 49 in droves.
However, as the movement became increasingly “in”, true skateboarding connoisseurs and punk aficionados took a step back.
Though continuing to embrace their lifestyles, they shifted into a more underground forum while the poseurs floated towards the next big thing.
2. Emo Kids
In response to the popularity of skate culture, a younger generation gravitated toward the dark, misunderstood and sexually experimental tendencies that dictated much of youth culture of the early 70s punk rock.
From 2005 to late 2007, boys began embracing femininity by donning eyeliner and skinny jeans as a challenge to the masculine norms that dictate society, while girls mimicked both the gothic and punk cultures with dark clothing, dark hair and general expressions of grief.
Short-lived and mostly reserved for the young, instead of moving into the mainstream, emo culture (having already amalgamated aspects of the 70s, 80s and 90s) began to adopt the hipster factor.
Though believed to be a newer movement trickling down from the boroughs of New York, modern hipster culture has been prevalent in various forms since the birth of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll.
However, as former emo kids and punks matured, they flooded the ultimate underground scene that has successfully dictated the music, film and fashion movements for centuries.
As the wandering youth stumbled upon the fashion-conscious, politically charged, art-loving subculture which has adopted all things independent, attention has been brought to the hipster demographic, resulting in “the mainstream-ing of hipster-dom” due to the recent surge of fashion/ex-emo kids.
How the up-and-coming youthful generation chooses to rebel against the system again remains to be seen.
Resurgence of Old
Blame Mad Men and vinyl, but the 2000s saw a jump in all things nostalgic – perhaps as an attempt to cling to decades brave enough to forge their own identity.
While the technologically advanced gravitated toward BluRay, the iPhone and BlackBerrys, record players, typewriters and vintage clothing saw resurgence that not only boasted good taste, but street credibility.
Is it a longing for the good old days or are we attempting to mimic the success of the baby boomers?
Maybe we’ve finally realized that our “new and improved” lifestyles are obsolete before removing the packaging. What remains is that everything old is new again.
Hang Loose, Bro
With the increasing popularity of Quiksilver, the Canadian-ization of Hollister and the popularity of Laguna Beach during the early to mid 2000s, surf culture was brought to the forefront as seashell necklaces were worn, highlights were administered and UGGs were flaunted.
While Yellowcard belted out Ocean Avenue, Kate Bosworth did for surfing what Jennifer Grey did for Dirty Dancing in the 2002 teen favourite Blue Crush.
Perhaps an attempt at mimicking the careless, fun-loving and free-wheeling lifestyle of most West-Coast dwellers, teens and 20-somethings adorned themselves with surf brands and adopted surf lingo, never quite mastering the dedication exuded from professionals as the next trend came and the long boards were abandoned.
Keeping it real
As the decade progressed, art got both lazier and darker as reality TV replaced legitimate programming and dramatic films began to shock and depress.
For every Survivor there was a Saw, for every Big Brother another independent film left audiences in tears and dismay.
Where creativity lacked in television, film’s dismal-yet-easy-to-relate-to qualities reflected the concern and anxiety of the later 2000s as 20-somethings faced quarter-life crises represented by movies like Garden State, Lost in Translation and The Last Kiss.
While the 2000s did offer some respectable comedies, television dramas and feel-good films, the grittier storylines and staged blowouts earned critical acclaim, award nominations and in the case of Heidi and Lauren from The Hills, countless magazine covers.
Irony at its best, reality television portrayed the exact opposite, while the mysticism of film captured the hopes and fears of a society lost.
So how will the 2000s be remembered? Think pop without the culture.