Two 90s 'Trends' Pop Culture Insisted Were Geeky

Two 90s 'Trends' Pop Culture Insisted Were Geeky

It was the best of times, it was the tackiest and rap/rockiest of times.

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TBH, I was part of the hacker "scene", and while Hackers was generally a running joke mainly due to the CGI effects and the "Gibson", the BDSM/Goth scene was almost hand-in-hand with real life hackers. Not every one of us were into that, but it was significant enough to make me feel like this article isn't very accurate. Alongside the Goth/BDSM prevalence was a huge influence of industrial music (should be obvious why) and the rave scene. I attended no less than 100 raves, went to quite a few Goth clubs, with all my fellow hackers.
Maybe not all hackers were into Goth/BDSM, but it was largely represented among them possibly because of how counter-culture it was, and maybe simply because we enjoyed it.
Also there were a lot of punk, rivethead and metal enthusiasts abound. Strangely enough, the most depressing music imaginable, country, had little to no representation in the "scene."

Oh and yes, we did also dress "normal" if you have to use that word. And what DEFCON did you attend? Because the scene has changes a lot since the late 90's/early 2000's. And yes there were various types of dress-styles represented back then too, but Goth/BDSM and punk were very prominent at the ones I attended.

I think ridiculous outfits were just a part of bigger issues with style of 90's
In 90's media most of people looked like they dressed themselves in the dark
And let's not even begin with their idea of futuristic clothing.

From the small picture on the home page Ice-T looks like Peter Dinklage.

blackrave:

I think ridiculous outfits were just a part of bigger issues with style of 90's
In 90's media most of people looked like they dressed themselves in the dark
And let's not even begin with their idea of futuristic clothing.

Well, it's not a list really. Just a couple of talking points.

But as to your second point, yeah, spot on. The 90s were all about big weird clothes.

Man, being a die hard hip hop head in the 90s lead me to a completely different experience than I see people discuss in these retrospectives. This is just the stuff on TV they told us was cool but wasn't.

I find it odd that people mock the fashion of the 90's when fashion now is a joke and certainly not at all an improvement. People dress pretty poorly now. I go outside and it's like a race to the bottom, but then I go play an mmo online and I notice that while people don't seem to put much effort into what they look like irl, they seem to favor aesthetics far more online that seem far closer to 90's sensibilities than modern ones.

I haven't seen fashion this bad in the real world since the 70's. Everyone looks like they all get their clothes at Wal-Mart. I just don't think people should really be judging. Hell, I was homeless in the 90's and I wore suits. I was arrested wearing a tux coat with tails. People back then at least had some class. Now fashion is mostly just trashy. The only styles the mainstream seems to have left are dude-bro douche ware, and hipster (raided their grandparents closet for the ugliest things they owned when they died). Women look at any dress that costs more than $40 aghast.

Batman trying to dj scratch with a compact disc always really bothered me. Just took me out of that movie.

Aramis Night:
I find it odd that people mock the fashion of the 90's when fashion now is a joke and certainly not at all an improvement. People dress pretty poorly now. I go outside and it's like a race to the bottom, but then I go play an mmo online and I notice that while people don't seem to put much effort into what they look like irl, they seem to favor aesthetics far more online that seem far closer to 90's sensibilities than modern ones.

I haven't seen fashion this bad in the real world since the 70's. Everyone looks like they all get their clothes at Wal-Mart. I just don't think people should really be judging. Hell, I was homeless in the 90's and I wore suits. I was arrested wearing a tux coat with tails. People back then at least had some class. Now fashion is mostly just trashy. The only styles the mainstream seems to have left are dude-bro douche ware, and hipster (raided their grandparents closet for the ugliest things they owned when they died). Women look at any dress that costs more than $40 aghast.

I largely blame the economy. The 90s was Clinton Era. The economy was good, we had no wars going on, the BIG Boss was having happy time under the desk, things were ok. People could afford to dress how they liked, when they liked. Leather straps were optional and affordable. Now after 8 years of Bush and an economy that's digging itself out but isn't quite there yet, people are going to a lot of hand-me-down thrift stores for their clothes. There's no real style involved, just whatever's functional. Doesn't matter if the clothes haven't been worn since the 70s. If they fit and they're cheap, they get worn. We'll see what happens in the next 6 years. Maybe we'll get a good Pres and a congress that'll work with them and fashion will become a thing again. Or we get another Texan who decides to blow our economy sending ground troops against Isis and, well, everyone starts dressing like Mr Rogers because they cannot afford anything current. /rant off

I have to agree with the person pointing out that the "hacking" community did actually heavily associate with Goth and BDSM scenes. I really only dabbled with that sort of stuff at the time (I've always liked knowing how things tick), but yeah.

Also, I did have better taste in music than you. That's right, you, reading this right now. I can stare into your soul from behind my monitor and I cast judgment upon that record you love so much. You know...that record. The one you won't admit to having. The one you fear someone finding. The one you have nightmares about accidentally popping on your playlist when you're in the middle of lovemaking! I look at your collection and I laaaaaaugh!

...God, I miss working at a record store.

Real hackers listened to the Oilz. Just ask NASA.

To be fair, regarding your last point;
Big Bang Theory isn't about geeks celebrating geeks, it's about "Normal people" mocking geeks.

The only reason I ever liked Hacker was because Angelina Jolie was so freakin' hot there and I was at that critical boy age when I first saw the movie. She was constantly on my mind, if you catch my drift.

blackrave:

I think ridiculous outfits were just a part of bigger issues with style of 90's
In 90's media most of people looked like they dressed themselves in the dark
And let's not even begin with their idea of futuristic clothing.

I really have no memory of people dressing like that in the 90s. Most of what I saw were baggy everything. Flannel shirts and baggy pants was more the norm. Now and then you'd see some Goth trying hard to be 'special' at school and wear a kilt along with his black everything look. But only now and then. Let's face it, no one ever dresses as they do in the movies unless special occasions.

Zachary Amaranth:
Also, I did have better taste in music than you. That's right, you, reading this right now. I can stare into your soul from behind my monitor and I cast judgment upon that record you love so much. You know...that record. The one you won't admit to having. The one you fear someone finding. The one you have nightmares about accidentally popping on your playlist when you're in the middle of lovemaking! I look at your collection and I laaaaaaugh!

...God, I miss working at a record store.

Oh yeah? Well I'll bet you didn't work for a record store as epic as Wax Trax in Denver, then blew your entire paycheck on goth gear right across the street at Fashionation.

NEENER NEENER!! ;)

Yeah, I'm just being a smartass, but that was exactly what I did during my senior year of high school. lol I also hung out at all the goth nights I knew of. Those were the days when I did my hair and makeup like Siouxsie Sioux circa '84, but with one half dyed black, the other white (used Manic Panic, of course).

The association with the hacker image always bugged the crap out of me though, probably because I never saw it in my narrow slice of reality. In mid-'95, after graduating high school, I moved to Baltimore and started working as a fetish gear and BDSM model. You know, unassuming college kid by day, torture goddess by night? Oldest trope in the book! xD I and almost everyone I knew could have landed roles as hackers in a lame-o Hollywood movie based solely on how we dressed, but I was the most computer-savvy of the bunch. Even then, my haXXing skills peaked at knowing the password to my girlfriend's Prodigy account because that's what we used to communicate for the few months we were apart (before I moved to Baltimore to be with her).

As for the rest of my little dark*clique, they were pretty much into one thing: drugs. Lots of drugs. I didn't do drugs and didn't WANT to do drugs, which is why I quit the sex industry at the end of '96.

Though I was thoroughly entrenched in the goth/punk scene from about '93 to '02, I only met one person with hacking skills. So yeah, that stereotype always rubbed me the wrong way.

Ten Foot Bunny:

Oh yeah? Well I'll bet you didn't work for a record store as epic as Wax Trax in Denver, then blew your entire paycheck on goth gear right across the street at Fashionation.

NEENER NEENER!! ;)

pwnd. :(

I actually only worked in a record store for about a year. I live in small town without much business for music, especially once Wal-Mart came along. And while I was called a Goth a lot, I didn't spend much money on goth stuff. Except in the most generic sense. I have long hair, a trench coat, and celtic jewelry (but more because my family has had a celtic obsession for years and years). I painted my nails, but bright colours as often as black. Oh, and I did play White Wolf RPGs, which isn't so much being a goth as roleplaying one. >.> And I did listen to my share of Goth and Industrial music. Oh, and I started getting migraines at like 12, so I would sometimes wear sunglasses indoors because of sensitivity to light, giving me a reputation as a vampire wannabe. Crap, now even I want to pick on me. Still, at best I could really be considered "goth lite."

Yeah, I'm just being a smartass, but that was exactly what I did during my senior year of high school. lol I also hung out at all the goth nights I knew of. Those were the days when I did my hair and makeup like Siouxsie Sioux circa '84, but with one half dyed black, the other white (used Manic Panic, of course).

I share Siouxsie's birthday.

The association with the hacker image always bugged the crap out of me though, probably because I never saw it in my narrow slice of reality. In mid-'95, after graduating high school, I moved to Baltimore and started working as a fetish gear and BDSM model. You know, unassuming college kid by day, torture goddess by night? Oldest trope in the book! xD I and almost everyone I knew could have landed roles as hackers in a lame-o Hollywood movie based solely on how we dressed, but I was the most computer-savvy of the bunch. Even then, my haXXing skills peaked at knowing the password to my girlfriend's Prodigy account because that's what we used to communicate for the few months we were apart (before I moved to Baltimore to be with her).

Most of the goths I knew had at least some coding tendencies, but I doubt it was a global thing. It's just common enough that I can see why the trend's there. People always assumed I knew everything about computers, too, but I really didn't get past the dabbling level on most ends. I'm good at absorbing stuff, but then I lose interest and wander off. I am a sponge with ADHD! Much like the "goth" bit, I had enough knowledge to impress/fool the casual observer.

Funny enough, I'm editing a section of story in which my characters are derisively referred to as 90s fashion mistakes. I'd forgotten about that line, even as I read this article, but it's kind of fitting: it's basically the adventures of Grunge Chick and Goth Boy. Which...actually, kind of bewilders me.

As for the rest of my little dark*clique, they were pretty much into one thing: drugs. Lots of drugs. I didn't do drugs and didn't WANT to do drugs, which is why I quit the sex industry at the end of '96.

I don't blame you. Then again, I'm strange enough without drugs. I'm terrified of how weird I'd be on them! A good chunk of my friends were on drugs in high school, and after high school, and in college, and the various jobs since....

Though I was thoroughly entrenched in the goth/punk scene from about '93 to '02, I only met one person with hacking skills. So yeah, that stereotype always rubbed me the wrong way.

I'm a couple years behind you, which might have made all the difference. Or, you know, personal experience. Just saying, it could have been a slight change in the time frame. But then, I've always been a little out of sync, so who knows.

Ten Foot Bunny:

Oh yeah? Well I'll bet you didn't work for a record store as epic as Wax Trax in Denver, then blew your entire paycheck on goth gear right across the street at Fashionation.

NEENER NEENER!! ;)

Yeah, I'm just being a smartass, but that was exactly what I did during my senior year of high school. lol I also hung out at all the goth nights I knew of. Those were the days when I did my hair and makeup like Siouxsie Sioux circa '84, but with one half dyed black, the other white (used Manic Panic, of course).

The association with the hacker image always bugged the crap out of me though, probably because I never saw it in my narrow slice of reality. In mid-'95, after graduating high school, I moved to Baltimore and started working as a fetish gear and BDSM model. You know, unassuming college kid by day, torture goddess by night? Oldest trope in the book! xD I and almost everyone I knew could have landed roles as hackers in a lame-o Hollywood movie based solely on how we dressed, but I was the most computer-savvy of the bunch. Even then, my haXXing skills peaked at knowing the password to my girlfriend's Prodigy account because that's what we used to communicate for the few months we were apart (before I moved to Baltimore to be with her).

As for the rest of my little dark*clique, they were pretty much into one thing: drugs. Lots of drugs. I didn't do drugs and didn't WANT to do drugs, which is why I quit the sex industry at the end of '96.

Though I was thoroughly entrenched in the goth/punk scene from about '93 to '02, I only met one person with hacking skills. So yeah, that stereotype always rubbed me the wrong way.

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Please MARRY ME!!!

80sboy:

blackrave:

I think ridiculous outfits were just a part of bigger issues with style of 90's
In 90's media most of people looked like they dressed themselves in the dark
And let's not even begin with their idea of futuristic clothing.

I really have no memory of people dressing like that in the 90s. Most of what I saw were baggy everything. Flannel shirts and baggy pants was more the norm. Now and then you'd see some Goth trying hard to be 'special' at school and wear a kilt along with his black everything look. But only now and then. Let's face it, no one ever dresses as they do in the movies unless special occasions.

The problem is people are talking about very specific styles among niche groups, or those trying to act like they belong to niche groups. Don't forget that during the 1990s Grunge was a big thing, and guys like Kurt Cobain were at the height of their popularity, to the point where when he committed suicide it was a big thing, as it was blamed for a lot of teens doing the same thing. Grunge being a lot more mainstream at the time, and the point was kind of to look like crap in defiance of social norms. Likewise a lot of punk looks (real punk) holdovers from the 1980s were also into a very "thrift store", the popular image of things like fancy leather jackets and combat boots, wasn't quite the reality of people who would go out of their way to find vintage Chuck Taylors (old, cheap, canvas sneakers).

One thing to understand also about the time period is that there weren't a lot of really serious hackers and phreaks, it's just that it was becoming popular, and really at the time when most online activity took place over BBS systems and things like Echoes, pretty much anyone who knew an admin password to a commonly used set of software fancied themselves a hacker.

The real hackers were groups like Masters Of Deception http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masters_Of_Deception and Legion Of Doom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_of_Doom_(hacking) two groups which eventually met in battle (maybe, since it's been denied) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Hacker_War

Likewise a lot of the popularity of hackers in the 1990s happened due to things revealed due to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Sun_Devil a major crackdown on computer crime which captured the public's imagination.

As a general rule being a real hacker or a phreaker wasn't so much about making a fashion statement, hanging out in clubs, attending conventions, or any of that kind of stuff, it was mostly about information. Indeed one of the big differences between MoD and LoD during their runs was whether information about this kind of thing should be free to all, or whether it needed to be earned and kept within the hands of a few people. Some suspect that this difference of opinion might have lead to the previously mentioned "Great Hacker War" which has also been attributed to some leaders involved in these groups selling out to run cyber-security firms. I'm not the biggest expert on the subject, and honestly I'd prefer not to (again) use Wikipedia because there are probably better sources but I haven't been keeping track of this anywhere close to how I used to.

At any rate, for once I'm actually going to defend the point made by an Escapist article, where usually I play the whole "you've got it wrong" (or partially so) card. The thing is being a hacker was about keeping a low profile, and not wanting to be caught, especially in the 1990s where part of the popularity of hacking was due to a public awareness coming from the government actually taking it seriously. Indeed the whole point of using handles and such is specifically to conceal who you are, and showing up at some goth club in fetish gear going "I'm a hacker" is of course counter productive to the entire process, and is exactly why some of the big groups did NOT want to share a lot of information because when people who did things like that went blabbing around it wasn't long before whatever hole they were talking about would wind up being plugged.

I'm not saying anyone here is wrong specifically, but merely pointing out that those who did "the style" were more akin to what we'd called "Script Kiddies" nowadays than serious hackers.

The odd thing is that now, decades later, it seems some people doing TV and movies and the like are finally getting a better idea about things. Some will laugh at this but, look at the show "Covert Affairs" and the character "Auggie" when he decides to walk around as a hacker. He dresses normally, but wears a shirt with a vintage video game character (old Pac Man ghost) that's not perfect of course, but the point is that it's *fairly* subtle, in showing your really into tech. More so than looking like your an extra from "The Matrix".

One thing I'll also point out about Cyberpunk is that in those novels part of the entire schtick was that the people doing this stuff actually blended into the world they lived in to an extent. Running around dressed like an 80s punker wasn't the same as running around dressed like an 80s punker in the actual 80s. In "Johnny Mnemonic" it's also important to note that the character is a high class courier, not a hacker or punk, he's sort of from the opposite end of the social spectrum, he just happens to get in over his head, Johnny is kind of a douche, he's just a fairly talented/dangerous one (more so than the people setting him up realize). I never thought that movie as very good, especially compared to the story is was based on. Another thing to understand about a lot of dark future settings is the transient nature of society, the basic idea is that the way things have collapsed a lot of people live like gypsies, but technology had progressed to the point where it was pretty easy to have a portable computer interface in a world that was heavily interconnected. Part of the point was that when you force people to live on the streets like gypsies and have no permanent address, they become increasingly hard to track as well, which means they can behave a little differently (though concepts vary from story to story and writer to writer). Basically unlike a hacker at the time with a desktop and/or needing a very stationary internet connection for their modem, a hacker in one of those books could say be hacking from the gutted building across the street once second, from an abandoned subway tunnel tomorrow, or from a passenger platform for an orbital elevator the next. Something which seems a lot less radical with today's tech than it did at the time, and arguably a lot more effort was put into security and finding ways to track users because of those stories than probably would have been if they had never been written (or so I suspect), at any rate that's another big reason why your "cyberpunk hacker" can get away with looking "Radical" in the near future. IRL though, it's always been different.

Ah well, I'm rambling. The point here (which is as much a general post as it is to you) is that the article writer is more or less correct, and you (and others) are all also right in your own ways. There were a lot of clashing fashions in the 1990s, more so than today.

It's nice to see someone reflect my opinion of Big Bang theory. Also yay for hacker gear! -.-

Remus:

Aramis Night:
I find it odd that people mock the fashion of the 90's when fashion now is a joke and certainly not at all an improvement. People dress pretty poorly now. I go outside and it's like a race to the bottom, but then I go play an mmo online and I notice that while people don't seem to put much effort into what they look like irl, they seem to favor aesthetics far more online that seem far closer to 90's sensibilities than modern ones.

I haven't seen fashion this bad in the real world since the 70's. Everyone looks like they all get their clothes at Wal-Mart. I just don't think people should really be judging. Hell, I was homeless in the 90's and I wore suits. I was arrested wearing a tux coat with tails. People back then at least had some class. Now fashion is mostly just trashy. The only styles the mainstream seems to have left are dude-bro douche ware, and hipster (raided their grandparents closet for the ugliest things they owned when they died). Women look at any dress that costs more than $40 aghast.

I largely blame the economy. The 90s was Clinton Era. The economy was good, we had no wars going on, the BIG Boss was having happy time under the desk, things were ok. People could afford to dress how they liked, when they liked. Leather straps were optional and affordable. Now after 8 years of Bush and an economy that's digging itself out but isn't quite there yet, people are going to a lot of hand-me-down thrift stores for their clothes. There's no real style involved, just whatever's functional. Doesn't matter if the clothes haven't been worn since the 70s. If they fit and they're cheap, they get worn. We'll see what happens in the next 6 years. Maybe we'll get a good Pres and a congress that'll work with them and fashion will become a thing again. Or we get another Texan who decides to blow our economy sending ground troops against Isis and, well, everyone starts dressing like Mr Rogers because they cannot afford anything current. /rant off

I was mostly just venting my frustrations about the locals where I live. I live in what has become known to the rest of the world as The OC, even though no one here calls it that. The cost of living here rivals Los Angeles which is also right next to us. The people here largely try to pass themselves off as wealthy or upper class, and we do have a lot of that. They just spend money on "designer brand names" that look like garbage and that is where my frustration comes in.

I just realized I am wearing the same tail tux today that I was arrested in almost 20 years ago when I was homeless. I'm not really convinced that it is simply the economics of the time. I was homeless with no job and wearing suits. I still have a 3-piece black suit I got a thrift store for $15 from my homeless years.

 

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