People Who Lived Through The 1980s Are Sharing Things That Pop Culture Never Mentions Or Gets Right

    From people smoking everywhere to the real fear of nuclear annihilation, these are the things that don't often get mentioned when talking about the 1980s.

    A few years ago this "Summer Mix 1999 burned CD" went viral all over the internet. Many, many people shared it because it really felt nostalgic and was such a throwback. However, I immediately called BS because A.) Making mix CDs in 1999 was not really a thing B.) Anyone making a mix/burned CD would add more than nine songs to the disc C.) This burned CD is actually a DVD+R, which is something that not only didn't exist at the time but that you wouldn't even be able to use in a CD player.

    Handwritten tracklist on a 'Summer Mix 1999' CD featuring artists like Jay-Z and Britney Spears

    So, where am I going with this? Well, it's an example of how the further we get away from a time period, the easier it is to confuse things, only remember certain things, or think of the entire decade as looking and being like its latter half. Sometimes, movies and TV shows set in other decades also make those same mistakes, with exceptions to shows like Mad Men and Stranger Things, which really went out of their way to make their time periods look historically accurate.

    Woman in patterned dress and man in suit sitting, laughing, with applauding guests in background at an event

    Recently, I stumbled upon a Reddit thread that touched up on that very subject, in it user Jerswar asked, "People who were adults in the 1980s: What does pop culture tend to leave out?"

    Five teens from "Stranger Things" with '80s school hallway backdrop, holding books, looking alarmed

    Well, the thread got lots of responses from people wanting to share what they think gets brushed over about the '80s. Below are some of the top and best comments:

    1. "Anything we wore that wasn't neon. Pop culture acts like the '80s were just a sea of nothing but neon for 10 years."

    Group in vibrant 80s attire with neon accessories, boombox, gestures energetically

    2. "The wild amounts of smoking inside. Especially in restaurants."

    Woman smoking next to a man reading a newspaper on a subway, other passengers in background

    3. "I was a child in the '80s, but something that I don't think I've ever seen in modern pop culture retellings of '80s life, which I recall witnessing, is this: people think of the weird, wacky, fun colors and hair, etc., of the 1980s — like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George styles. BUT for many people and mainstream communities, that was considered a 'weird' or 'rock and roll character' kind of presentation. People would often openly stare, laugh at, or disparage people who looked openly unique. It took a lot of courage to go out styled like that. It was acceptable to have a more 'subtle' take on the fun color trends."

    A group of people in a diner, one gesturing dramatically, engaged in an animated discussion

    4. "Reading everything — literally everything — I could get my hands on. Cereal boxes, newspapers, magazines. Luckily, my library was a bike ride away but carrying those back on my bike was fun."

    Boy on bed reading a magazine; plush toy beside him; retro vibe

    5. "How much decor from the '70s and '60s were still in houses and offices throughout the decade."

    1970s living room with an abstract painting, floral couch, and a mix of armchairs

    6. "This isn’t specific to the '80s, but the experience of boredom. There were many periods of time during the week when you simply had to sit there with your thoughts and be bored. This has been almost completely eliminated by smartphones, and I think it explains why attention spans are so f'd."

    Child in a red top and jeans sitting on a step with knees up and resting head on hands, looking thoughtful

    7. "TV was just adult shows for most of the week, especially during summer break. Just soap operas and other boring things."

    Four contestants and a host on the set of the game show "Super Password."

    8. "Might be my own bias but being a kid in the '80s there was a lot of casual bullying and conformism. Not that bullying and conformism ever went away, but the '90s was more about counter-culture a bit."

    Three actors in a classic film scene, one holding a book and engaging in a conversation

    9. "I was born in the early '80s. I've been totally blind since birth. In the '80s, accessibility was virtually non-existent. That new Nintendo that the kids had? Good luck. Scholastic Book Club? Not in braille or audio. Everything is in print. Nothing to see here for me or mine. Then computers finally got accessible and Windows came out and they had to start all over again. I wouldn't want to go back to the '80s. I now have my phone that I can use to access the world, read what is on my grocery labels, have pictures described to me, and basically know what's going on in the world. In the '80s, so much went by without any context, and that was in the formative years of my childhood."

    A vintage Scholastic Arrow book club flyer with a red "X" superimposed, suggesting disuse or nostalgia

    10. "The sheer sense of doom and pervasive low-key terror of nuclear war. The Soviets' nuclear arsenal pointing at us, and their nihilistic posturing in some ways remind me of the climate change dread we now have. Living with an existential threat is not something new."

    A historical photo showing a large mushroom cloud in the distance with a person viewed from behind witnessing the event

    11. The cheap gas in the late '80s. There was one time when I only had $2 and I rolled my truck into the gas station on empty. I pumped in $2 and had a quarter tank."

    Old gas station with high fuel prices, car at pump and person in background

    12. "The homophobia."

    The image shows multiple people holding up protest signs with anti-gay messages

    13. "The devastation of AIDS. We lost three guys just at my office. So many great creative minds were disappearing day after day. Artists, fashion designers, musicians, dancers, and actors. But all the news wanted to talk about was the occasional child or straight person who was infected by a tainted blood transfusion."

    Three individuals among a crowd, on a patchwork of panels with names, embracing in solidarity

    14. "Being a latchkey kid it was no frequent communication with your parents. I can't tell you how many times I stayed out all night as an 18-year-old and no one but who I was with knew where I was or what I was doing. My parents didn't know what I was doing all day as a 12–17-year-old, either! You only called your parents at work only if it was an emergency."

    Smiling person holding a telephone receiver, wearing a pink top and white pants, in a kitchen setting

    15. "Cars finally started not to suck. Lots of higher quality foreign imports and less Detroit rust buckets."

    A Nissan car dealership lot with a lineup of vintage cars under a large sign

    16. The obsession people/media had about the '50s and '60s. Part of it was stuff like Back to the Future, '50s-themed diners and baseball jackets being popular, then there was the 20th anniversary of things, like various Beatles albums. I think the boomers at that point were in positions of influence and were looking back on their teens and twenties with rose-tinted glasses, so the rest of us had to suffer these cultural echoes from the generation before."

    Three women sitting in a diner booth from the movie back to the future

    17. "Cruising. Before social media, we would drive up and down the street, see and be seen. Stop at different businesses, the cool kids hung out at the Walgreens parking lot, the jocks at the McDonald's. But it was a small town so we would stop at all of them during the evening. That was our social world along with keggers in the desert all through high school and for folks that stayed in town for years after high school."

    Group of 9 people posing casually with playful gestures, some holding cups, in a low-lit setting

    18. "What a mess it was to get cleaned up! That sparkle-blue eye shadow didn't come off easily and if it got in your eyes it was torture! That red lip gloss ran all over. And shampooing your hair three times to get out all the hair spray and the mousse. I loved the '80s and I had a marvelous time. But it was messy... but way worth it!"

    Woman in sparkly top with voluminous hair, embodying a retro '80s style

    19. And lastly, "Trying to find something to read in the bathroom to pass the time. I remember shampoo bottles and the contents of my wallet were my go-to's when a magazine or book was unavailable."

    Bottle of Pert Plus shampoo for normal hair against a wooden backdrop

    You can read the original thread on Reddit.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.