Contributor: Storey Zimmerman
Since 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA, has been rating movies. Jack Valenti, the longtime President of the MPAA, felt that there needed to be some organization of censoring instead of the mishmash of censorship boards that existed before. There were over 45 censorship boards when the ratings were set in place. Filmmakers were required by the states to send their movies to each of the boards and get approval before being able to release them. In an interview, Dan Glickman, CEO of the MPAA, said “Jack determined that we needed to put some order and structure to this system to give parents some predictability. He felt, rightly so, that the prime purpose of ratings were to give parents information about movies.”
Contributor: Elizabeth Webster
Every year around Christmas time, thousands of teenagers beg their parents for the latest clothes from the well-known trendy retail store, Abercrombie and Fitch. In 2003, parents were not so easy to convince. Just days before the grand start of the Christmas shopping season, Abercrombie & Fitch, suffering from numerous boycotts, ordered its 651 stores to stop selling the latest edition of their A&F Quarterly titled “The Christmas Field Guide.” These boycotts were the result of the forty-five overtly sexual images in the first 120 pages of the magazine. Read more
Contributor: Hannah Vickers
Growing up, being the youngest of four girls and a daughter of a pastor, my sisters and I never really were allowed to view a great deal of violence on TV, so besides the occasional hair pull, or a slight shove now and then, we were oblivious to the harshness of reality. Our games, books and movies were filled with the usual Disney storyline that always ended with a happily-ever-after. PBS was a must, and anything outside of our little town of Cut-N-Shoot, Texas was blurred by a force field of safety. But, even the strongest parental protection over us could not shield us from a worldwide phenomenon that touched American children in 1997—the magical world of Harry Potter. Read more
Contributor: Devon Tincknell
Beavis: Hey Butthead, what did people do before they invented TV?
Butthead: Don’t be stupid, Beavis. There’s always been TV. There’s just more channels now.
Beavis: Oh yeah, (snickers), progress is cool.
- “Beavis and Butt-head,” Killing Time
Debuting on MTV on March 8, 1993, Beavis and Butt-head quickly became two of the nineties’ most iconic characters. Created and voiced by Mike Judge, the duo’s self-titled series was the Seinfeld of low-brow animation, yet another “show about nothing.” Most of the series’ short vignettes centered around Beavis and Butt-head heckling MTV, using television to determine what was “cool” and what “sucked,” and chortling incessantly, all while completely bereft of adult supervision. Read more
Contributor: Priyanka Thupili
Like many children, my first reading experiences were dominated by illustrations plastered across pages and the captions that accompanied them. As a four-year-old, I relished flipping through pages and wreaking havoc upon them with the scribbles of crayons and whatever instruments I had access to at the time.
Not too long afterwards, I progressed to books with fewer pictures, if any. Once I turned six, I was rather proud of the fact that I was now civilized enough to stop scribbling in books. Apparently, so were my parents; this was around the time my mother introduced me to the local public library. We had established the habit of a weekly excursion to this oddly quiet place, and as I learned to read faster, I grabbed more and more books. When I was a six-year-old, the first few of these books that legitimately had me hooked were from R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” series. Read more
Contributor: Samantha Stillman
Eminem, Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers; no matter the name, this 39 year-old “white-boy” rapper has been a controversial topic in American pop culture since his debut in 1998. Brought up in a less than what is considered ideal household, Eminem makes clear through his lyrics the hatred he feels for his parents, in particular his mother.
I was eight years old when Eminem released his album, “The Eminem Show.” Read more
Contributor: Carol Perales
“Sex in the City” was a 90’s American cable hit television show. Set in New York City, the show broadcasted on HBO from 1998-2004. The comedy series focused on the life of Carrie Bradshaw, a New York writer who discussed various themes centered on love, sex, and relationships. The show touched on various issues affecting Carrie’s life as well as that of her three best friends who were also dealing with various challenges facing the single 90’s woman. The show became very popular with young women ages 18-34 who were attracted to the show’s humor, or felt a connection to its themes.“Sex in the City” was very straightforward with sexual references and crude humor and therefore faced much criticism from parents and religious groups who felt that these shows had a negative effect on its audiences, especially children and teenagers. Read more
Contributor: Colleen Nelson
Over the past decade, children’s idols have drastically changed shape. The once revered Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear have been replaced with reality TV stars. The cast of shows like Jersey Shore have invaded the homes of American families, and their actions have begun to influence our children in many ways. Children’s vocabulary, clothing, actions, mannerisms, and ideals have all transformed to mimic these TV idols.