Growing up…’80s style.

February 3, 2012

In 1985, I was 15 years old. A pure ’80s teen.

I can’t help but smile at the tragic elements that made the ’80s so unique…and how I love them so. For all the Aussie readers, I was watching Rage the other night and they’re going through a retro stage, by playing countless episodes of Countdown – from the mid ’80s. MOST excellent! As I watched, I couldn’t help but cack at what the audience looked like. Classic!

There were lots of girls wearing baggy jeans, that came in a bit at the ankle (mmMMmm), with bunched up white socks, lace up shoes (think Duran Duran….my idols!), baggy shirts and big bows in their hair. Noice.

From memory, there were also the shoulder pads, tube skirts, odd hair-cuts (long on one side, short on the other – as well as the classic massive, teased fringe or spiky numbers), big shirts with a belt over the top, fingerless gloves, flouros, pastels, paisley, tartan, bubble dresses….aaaahh, good times. I can literally see the younger readers flinching…and you’d be right to…because on the whole, it was a baggy look…and we looked like dags. *still grinning*

Fortunately for us – it was the fashion. It was ‘in’.

Please cast your eyes on the wonderful specimen I was in 1984, at the Year 9 dance – my first ever dance with boys:

There is a white TIE at the front of this fabulous outfit….that I wore to attract a male of the spiecies (no luck, though – Ha!). Please also note the girls in the background with their full, long skirts. Imagine a Yr 9 dance todaywhat would the girls be wearing? Mmmm….exactly.

So, on this Countdown episode, Howard Jones is up and starts to lip-sync (as they all did back then) to his song:

“I’d like to get to know you well…I’d like to get to know you well…I’d like to get to know you well, so we can one, we can be one, to-gether.” (Remember that one?)

So as I’m watching him, with his long shirt, teased hair and excellent lip-syncing skills, surrounded by all those daggy audience members, I start to smile because they really do seem like more innocent times.

But not on the inside – it was the same hormones, same wants – just not so transparent and ‘in your face’.

I suppose the realisation I had, was that the music lyrics and videos of the 80’s were endearing because it was ‘tongue-in-cheek’. We all knew, like a ‘secret club’, what the lyrics were really about. Younger kids would be oblivious, because the video clips didn’t match what was being sung. I remember Cindy Lauper had a song called, “She Bop”. Now at the time, the word around the school yard was that the song was about masturbation (oooOOooo – so naughty *wink*) – but the video clip featured her in a suit, with a top hat and tails. It kind of felt a bit grown up to be part of the secret club – my younger sister certainly had NO idea what the song was about.

So what do we have today?

Well, about five years ago, I remember there was a VERY popular song on the radio that had a lot of the words beeped out (Eminem *gag* was one of the singers). I did remember the line, “I wanna girl who will do whatever the *beep*  I say, every day she’ll be giving it up.”

Nice. Classy. So I looked the lyrics up and this is a sample of it:

[Eminem]
Get buzzed, get drunk, get crunked, get fuuucked up
Hit the strip club, don’t forget ones, get your dick rubbed
Get fucked, get sucked, get wasted, shit faceded, pasted
Plastered, puke drink up get a new drink
Leave the bathroom sink [puke], wipe your shoe clean got a routine goin’
Still got a few chunks on them shoe strings shoin’
I was dehydrated till the beat vibrated
I was revived as soon as this bitch giyrated
Them hips and lickin’ lips and that was it
I had to get Nate Dogg here to sing some shit
[Nate Dogg]
Were gonna have a party, turn the music up
Let’s get it started, go ahead shake ya butt
I’m lookin for a girl with a body and sexy strip
Wanna get it poppin’ baby step right up
Some girls they act retarded, some girls about it bout it
I’m lookin for a girl that will do whatever the fuck
I say everyday she be givin’ it up
[Eminem]
I’m a menace, a dentist, an oral hygienist
Open your mouth for about four or five minutes
Take a little bit of this fluoride rinse
Swish but don’t spit it, swallow and now finish, Yeahhh!
Me and Nate D-O-Double G lookin for a couple Bitches
With some Double D’s pop a little chapagne and a couple E’s
Slip it in her bubbly, wheee fittin ta have a party                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               [Nate Dogg]
Were gonna have a party, turn the music up
Let’s get it started, go ahead shake ya butt
I’m lookin for a girl I can fuck in my Hummer truck
Apple bottom jeans and a big ol suck
Some girls they act retarded, some girls are bout it bout it
I want a bitch that sit at the crib with no panties on
Knows that she can but she won’t say no
Now look at this lady all in front of me, sexy as can be
Tonight I want a SLUT, would you be mine?
I Heard you was freaky from a friend of mine

I mean seriously.  They’re singing about drugging girls in one line, amongst the rest of its hideousness. Could young men hear this and think that’s the way it is – or worse still, the way it should be? Surely, the answer to that must be YES. They’re singing it in a song on the radio, aren’t they?

Now we have the women joining in, singing songs that sound like soft porn (how else are they going to make money, if it’s not to sell themselves short?) Why would a guy want to call a 0055 number, when he can turn on a popular radio station or go into any shop that plays the music and hear a girl moaning and singing, “I like it when you lick me there”? (I heard this one recently).

So couple this sort of music, with their corresponding video clips and hyper-sexualised women and surely you start to mould a generation.

Where’s the ‘secret club’ gone?

Question #10: How can we combat the influence of the current paradigm of music and their videos?

8 Responses to “Growing up…’80s style.”

  1. Ah … brilliant. Honestly, as daggy as the 80s were (mmmm maybe why I love them!!) you’re right. We didn’t deal with overtly, in-your-face sexuality in music. Hell, we didn’t even know most of them were gay (Village People, Wham, Adam Ant … I was gutted over Adam Ant…) And Mi-Sex was just a nervous giggle fest. But that’s exactly the point. It wasn’t about sex, it was about music and fashion (ok, a loose interpretation by today’s standards) but the sex was all a bit mysterious and hidden. Today it’s ‘suck my dick bitch’ Hmmm, may I? Only, at 7 or 9 or 11 years old, do young girls have the sense of mature sarcasm required to handle these situations? I don’t think so.
    Then again, the beaches girls were still acting out Puberty Blues, and in the 70s it was probably worse .. maybe we were just spared in the 80s. Regardless, I heard ‘Born in the USA’ on the radio this morning and it brought me right back to going to the Bruce Springsteen concert when I was 15 years old and being in awe. That song still sends shivers through me. Now there’s a man that was pure sex on a stick without the need to belittle women to get there. Ways and means people…

  2. MsLJ said

    I was having a similar conversation with a 21 year old the other day. I said I blame Madonna. Before her Like a virgin video you NEVER saw underware as outerware. The young girl was stunned. She just couldn’t fathom it… So while we love Madge for showing us we can be a strong, woman in control, business mogul, we need to question what other legacies she has left us!

    I also miss a good musical euphamism. 😉

  3. Mechelen D'Souza said

    FINAAALLY! i have gotten the chance to comment! Firstly, i would like to say your blog is aaah-mazing it definitely represents everything you fight for and you my dear are also amazing. I decided to comment on this post to say that i think our generation is not as naive and misdirected as everyone thinks. Just because yes, everything is EXTREMELY over-sexualised these days doesn’t mean that we still do not have a choice in how we associate with boys and the likes. For the girls around the 15-19 mark we surely all can make our minds up about how we act regardless of whats going on around us. I think there has always been the “thosee” girls that all the “normal” girls sorta laugh at and acknowledge the fact that they were like that… ya know? haha anywaays my suggestion is that there have always been those types of girls but the scales are tipping out of balance now with majority being the gangas (our word for the putas ) 😉 haha and the minority being the normal ones. Some of our favourite pass times have been laughing at the stupid statuses the young gangas write about. well this is just an updated video of what you’re talking about in this post. ENJOY. My whole group loves him! p.s mind the profanities 😛 ❤

    • questionsforwomen said

      He certainly has his manner (profanity galore *wink*) – but he defenitely had some excellent and true points….very funny at times! Thanks for sharing it! It’s actually nice to see a young male thinking that way…although he was refering to his 13 yr old self as not needing money, but “bitches” (I thought that’s what he said anyway….slip of the tongue, perchance?).
      Thank you so much for your positive comments! Hearing from young women is the most exciting for me. I will probably be asking you youngins more direct questions because you’re the ones who are really in the line of fire and really saturated in all this.
      Hope to hear from you (and a lot more young women) again. *big smile*

      • Mechelen D'Souza said

        oh that part about *F**k B*TChes, get money. thats something that all these annoying little teeny boppers keep saying. So, i think just continued with the phrase to prove his point i suppose?

  4. Verina said

    I think one of the differences is also that violence is now linked with it.
    I remember the song “afternoon delight” I loved the song.. very catchy. and yes we all knew what it was about… but there was no violence.. no coercion, no blurring the lines between consent and rape…
    there were many songs the were euphemisms for sex but what they lacked was the violence and rape culture that go with today’s music …
    the words are violent in nature but the music clips often are not.. (sometimes are)
    this causes confusion… as people often don’t really listen tot he words.. or find out what they say… they just sing along…
    I see this as a great change in the culture and the attitudes towards women by some men and society…..
    thanks for your insightful article…

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