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U.S. History 11. Culture of the 80’s. Technology. More people are using personal computers (PC’s) in their homes, offices, and schools Columbia- U.S.’s first reusable spacecraft. Major Events. January 1986- explosion of the Challenger just after take off All seven astronauts were killed

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Culture of the 80’s

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U.S. History 11

Culture of the 80’s


  • More people are using personal computers (PC’s) in their homes, offices, and schools

  • Columbia- U.S.’s first reusable spacecraft

Major Events

  • January 1986- explosion of the Challenger just after take off

    • All seven astronauts were killed

  • 1988- Human Genome Project

  • Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Supreme Court Justice

  • Hostages in Iran were released in 1981

  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated

Major Events

  • Geraldine Ferraro was the first female presidential candidate

  • Jesse Jackson was the first black presidential candidate

  • Sexual revolution of the 70’s encountered an adversary with the AIDS epidemic

  • Violent crime rates had tripled since 1960

  • Cocaine addiction was up by 35%

    • “Just Say No” campaign

Family Life

  • More divorces

  • More unwed couples living together

  • More single parent families

  • The two-earner family was even more common than in previous decades

  • More women earned college and advanced degrees, married, and had fewer children


  • Popular to auction art from famous artists

    • Picasso's 'Yo' brought 5.4 million

    • By 1987, Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' brought $39.9 million while 'Irises" brought $53.9 million

  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) reopened double its size


  • Espionage thrillers- Ken Follett, Tom Clancy

  • Top writers of the decade- Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Danielle Steele

  • Autobiographies became best sellers

    • All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Robert Fulgham)

    • The Beverly Hills Diet (Judy Mazel)

    • Miss Piggy's Guide to Life

    • Trump:  Surviving at the Top

Children’s books


  • Efforts to censor books tripled in the eighties

    • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, and Catcher in the Rye were among books banned in New York State

  • College freshmen were more interested in status, power, and money than at any time during the past 15 years

    • Business Management was the most popular major.

  • Columbia University, the last all male Ivy League school, began accepting women in 1983


  • Team sports became popular

    • Mothers ran carpool after work, kids had after school and weekend cheerleading, baseball, football, soccer, gym, dance, and more

  • Nerd's became a hot commodity

    • Wealthy and brainy computer wizards like Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs helped

    • So did movies like Revenge of the Nerds, Lucas, and Stand by Me


  • Fast food- Taco Bell, McDonalds

  • Kids loved Sweetarts, Skittles, Nerds, Runts, Hubba Bubba Chewing Gum, and Five Alive

  • Collectibles- Smurf and E.T. paraphernalia, Cabbage Patch dolls, camcorders, video games (Nintendo, Pac Man, Game Boy), Rubik's Cube,  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Barbies (now Hispanic, Black, Asian)

Fads and Fashion

  • New fads- discount air fares, “light” foods, aerobics, minivans, talk shows,  and Valley Girls

  •  Power dressing was in- Madonna was a big influence on young fashion

  • Anne Klein, Perry Ellis, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein were popular designers

  • The Flashdance look had young and old in tank tops, tight-fitting pants or torn jeans, and leg-warmers

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYrdZz-xbxo

Fads and Fashion

  • Teens not wearing designer clothes opted for Michael Jackson's glove or Madonna's fishnet stockings, leather, and chains

  • Older women wore the Out of Africa look popularized by Meryl Streep

  • Sneakers

  • Tanning Salons

Fads and Fashion

  • Fitness craze of the 80’s

  • http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/dancing-with-myself-the-vintage-80s-workout-vide?sub=1669768_433473

Music and Media

  • Cable was born and MTV, originally intended to be promos for albums, had an enormous impact on music and young people

  • The digital compact disc (cd) revolutionized the music industry

  • Dances learned on MTV  included slam dancing, lambada, and break dancing

  • Pop, rock, new wave, punk, country,  and especially rap or hip hop became popular

Music and Media

  • Early hip hop/rap groups are MilliVanilli, M. C. Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Queen Latifah, and L.L. Cool J

  • Michael Jackson's album Thriller became the best selling album of all time

  • Madonna had a major impact on fashion, the ‘vogue’ dance move, and pop music

Top Charters

Top Charters


  • Revival musicals- West Side Story, The Music Man, Anything Goes, Me and My Gal, Brigadoon, Grand Hotel, Gypsy, and The King and I

  • Sell out musicals- Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera

TV and Movies

  • 1981, VCR sales rose 72%

  • 1989, 60 percent of American households with televisions received cable service

  • Memorable movies of the decade included:

    • On Golden Pond

    • Tootsie

    • Arthur

    • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

    • The Big Chill

    • Flashdance

    • Beverly Hills Cop

    • Out of Africa

    • Back to the Future

  • The Breakfast Club

  • Platoon

  • Star Trek

  • Good Morning, Vietnam

  • Fatal Attraction

  • Rain Man

  • Driving Miss Daisy

  • Rocky IV

  • Wall Street

  • The Terminator

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvmVYNr0lk0 – John Hughes Movies

  • What’s your favorite 80’s movie?

TV and Movies

  • Popular shows- Roseanne, Married...with Children, Cosby Show, Cheers, Golden Girls, The Wonder Years, AFV

  • Tabloid TV with Geraldo Rivera and Oprah Winfrey

  • Info-tainment included Nightline with Ted Koppel, CNN Cable News,20/20 with Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, and  60 Minutes

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxfQl5rtNlM – best sitcoms

  • What’s your favorite 80’s show?

What’s you’re favorite part about the 80’s?

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