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B2 1990s Majask

Page history last edited by Daniel 14 years, 1 month ago

Daniel Martinez, Miller Sartori, Alex Morscinin, Michael Hall



MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?


The 1990s



Business & the Economy





     Education in the 1990’s was fairly uneventful. One of the main things with education in the 90’s was flexibility. For example, children could go to a school even if it was further away if the parent chose to let them. Also, standards were a big part of education. Schools wanted to measure each student’s improvement throughout their learning years, and a way to do that was to give standardized tests. These tests would measure how a student has advanced in learning.

     The goal of some people in the 90’s was to improve the teaching techniques of teachers.  With these techniques, teachers would teach more in earlier years of a student’s learning career, such as in elementary school. Also, the bar for teacher standards was raised. Most schools required qualifications from organizations outside of the traditional bachelor’s degree.



The 1990's is thought of as the start of the casual trends we have today.  This is when certain people, Generation X-ers, started expressing themselves through clothing and hairstyles. Some even pierced body parts other than their ears. Some major Generation X fashions were shirts that showed mid-drift, or shirts that had band names on them.


Even though Generation X-ers had controlled a lot of the fashion in the 90's, Abercrombie & Fitch controlled most of the fashion market, and still do today.  A&F's invention of the "magalog", which consisted of a catalog of their products as well as a magazine, revolutionized the marketing of the clothing business.

Another trend from the 1990's was the gothic trend.  Goths would dress in dark, sometimes out-dated, clothes and wear dark make-up.


Film and theater



The "Pokemon fad" that had started earlier in the 1990's reached a head in 1999. The TV series,video games, trading card game of Pokemon were all extremely popular with school children of all ages. An animated feature film was released which was a smash success in the box offices.The most striking thing was the series originated in Japan. With films like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Princess Mononoke being released in the 1990's, all of which were serious, and mature films, examining themes of technology, and how it effects nature and our lives in profound new ways. Foreign films, particularly from Japan, began to gain a strong cult following in America, composed of children and adults alike.


Poster for the first Pokemon movie. You can tell they knew there was going to be a lot of them from the title. They were right.


Movie poster for Akira. It accomplishes the integral task of appealing to a mature audience, despite being animated. At the time, animated movies never targeted adults, which was part of the exotic flair that these Japanese films had at the time.


At the same time, the American animation business was booming. Disney produced several animation masterpieces, including Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story, and of course, Mulan. Toy Story in particular was revolutionary, in that it was the first full length feature film that was completely computer animated. Films like The Lion King and Aladdin were notable not for revolutionizing the genre, but for standing tall as the pinnacle of animation at that time. Many of the films became instant classics, and are how many children remember the time period. Disney continued to produce quality movies thought the 90's. The quality of the movies began to deteriorate neat the end of the era. The cause of this can likely be attributed to the massive success of previous projects. After making so much money, Disney only wanted more. Quality began to take a backseat to profit, and the begging of the end occurred.

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Food &  Drink






     During the 90s, people had more active lifestyles than before. A good amount of new cartoons were also introduced during this decade that kids absolutely adored. The food industries took advantage of these factors by creating new foods that went well with people’s lifestyles, and also to appeal to the youth. Examples of this are Go-Gurt Yogurt, Kool Aid Bursts, Kid Cuisine, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Pokemon. Most new snacks and foods created in the 90s were intended to be eaten wherever and whenever. The snacks such as Go Gurt Yogurt and Push-Pops could be eaten wherever you were, whether it was playing with your friends or watching television at home. Pokemon was one of the most popular fads during the 90s, so to take advantage of this, foods such as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese created a Pokemon version of their food. Since kids loved the show, they of course wanted these foods.


Print Culture


With the advert of the internet, the way media was shared was forever revolutionized. Magazines and newspapers began to offer online editions of their print, for a small price. Following suit, publishers began to distribute books in an "e-book" format. It was the same basic principle of selling an electronic document of a printed work. Admittedly the trend didn't quite catch on, but it still remained a profitable side project for many magazines and publishers. This evolution of perhaps the oldest way of storing information, the book, is representative of the way the rise of the internet rocked the world as a whole. The 1990's was a time where just about everything was changing in profound new ways, and not even ancient institutions like the book were left untouched.


Although many established authors, such as Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Michael Crichton remained extremely popular, the new series that really captured the hearts and minds of so many Americans was the Harry Potter books. First published in 1998, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was able to quickly climb to the top of the New York Time's best-seller list, and stay near the top well into the year 2000. The story, while aimed at older children, managed to appeal to all ages, and became one of the defining pop culture icons of the late 1990's. The books continued to be made well into the 2000's, and were relatable to the turbulent times of the late 1990's: A world of technology that seemed like magic at the time, while still being believable, and grounded in real logic.


The first of many Harry Potter books in all its glory.

Sports &  Games


            Tiger Woods is often thought of as the underdog of the 1990’s sports scene, the rookie.  But Tiger was not the only icon of the decade.  Women had also made a debut in sports. The Women’s World Cup was created in 1991 and in 1997, the WNBA was formed.

             Referring back to Generation X-ers, there was a group of people who started playing extreme sports, sports that put lives in danger. The X-games were also invented in the 90’s and are still popular today. Some extreme sports from the X-games include street luge, moto-cross, and skateboarding. Other extreme sports like snowboarding were even added to the Olympics.




Music in the 90’s was representative of the eras willingness to accept others and new ways of thinking. The alternative rock scene became very popular during this decade; supporting innovation in the music industry beyond the generic pop of the 80’s. Styles borrowed heavily from the artists of the 60’s and 70’s in addition to artists own personal tastes. Rap music also gained popularity during the 90’s, the early  part of the decade being part of the golden age of hip hop and rapping, which drastically changed the tone and message of the genre as lyricism and fluidity became more prominent aspects.


Also during this decade, electronic dance music started to gain popularity. While not the most popular form of music, it, and the sub culture it created reflect the general attitude of the 90’s. Younger people would join together for parties where they would dance to electronic music. These parties are called raves. These raves are generally associated with mid altering substances such as ecstasy, but are also very open and accepting of all kinds of people. The want to enjoy oneself with the others around you despite differences defines generation x from this era perfectly.


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Here is an example of electronic dance music, more specifically hardcore techno.


"The Way We Lived"






     The 1990s were a time of great technological advances. This strongly influenced the day to day lives of people and the time they spent with their families. The most influential change in the 90s was the computer. More and more households began to have them. Families used to spend a lot of their free time with each other on picnics or on the beach or just spending time with each other, but now that there were computers, many people spent a large portion of their time on a computer. People were also very busy during the 90s. As a result of this, microwavable TV dinners also took people’s time away from their families. Instead of sitting down at a table as a family, many people just micro waved a quick meal, ate it while watching television, and then left to do whatever it was they planned.



Government & Politics

     At the outset of the 1990’s, the face of global politics was changing dramatically. One of the world’s two superpowers, The Soviet Union, had collapsed into many different nations, and the Russian state we know today. The government’s ability to deal with foreign issues and policy during this tumultuous time was its one of the largest concerns, as internal issues were limited to social reform during the longest period of economic growth in U.S. history. Taking advantage of the social unrest of the time, dictator Saddam Hussein used the opportunity to settle an territorial disagreement dating back to the first world war. He seized control of the oil-rich country of Kuwait, an action condemned by the UN in 1991. While the crisis was quickly solved by a UN taskforce, the United State’s prominent role in the situation set a precedent that set America as the de facto world police. It also made painfully clear the West’s dependence on oil, which led to more political strife in the US in following years. The global role of the US continued to expand, filling the role of its now non-existent rival.  This mindset regarding foreign policy would lead to friction with other nations in the next decade.

A tank is shown in front of the burning gas wells

     During this time period, President Bill Clinton had the North American Free Trade Agreement put into effect in 1994. The agreement was economically groundbreaking in its allowance of free trade between nations, but its political importance is also important to the US. The concept of several prominent nations allowing each other to trade without taxes or tariffs can be contributed to the growing sense of global awareness. The idea was developed further by the European Union in 1999, but the United States and other North American nations were the first to make another concrete step in global unity since the United Nations.




            In 1989, George H. W. Bush was elected as the 41st president of the United States of America, and he was president until 1993.  He started off strong, with an 89% approval rating, but that all vanished when a recession hit, and Bush had to break his promise of “no new taxes”.  As a result of the recession, many people were laid off, and Bush was responsible for giving the unemployed more benefits.  Although he made a couple flukes, he issued several beneficial organizations, such as the Clean Air Act.  This act required that factories had to clean up the fossil fuels they were burning.

            Another president in the 90’s was Clinton, who served in the office from 1993 to 2001.  At the beginning of his term, Clinton followed by Bush’s example and raised taxes to rid the US of the recent recession.  Clinton is probably best known for a relationship he had with a white house employee.  He was impeached not because he had this relationship, but because he lied about having the relationship in court.




Law &  Justice

One of the more controversial developments when it comes to law in the 1990's was the beginning of televised court cases. The OJ Simpson Trial, which began in 1994 and ran until 1997, was the most memorable of these. After the court made the call that live footage would be allowed during the trial, a new movement was born. Televised trials, or at the very least extreme media coverage of them, for celebrities became somewhat of a normality over the course of the 1990's. In 1996, the still popular to this day Judge Judy began its run. Each episode was a tapping of a real court case, usually a minor offense so that several cases could be resolved in each episode. It was the first popular show of its kind.
This solidified the rather odd trend of justice becoming a public even in America. Now not only where celebrity trials receiving massive amounts of coverage, now petty disputes where being broadcasted across the country. This likely has some relation to sparking America's interest in reality shows and similar programs.


One of the major changes in laws over the 1990's was the modifications made to environmental protection laws. For years, there had been a struggle between factions pushing for stronger protection of the environment and using the environment for profit respectively. During the 1990's, federal courts were packed with right wing supporters who pushed for giving more rights to landowners on how to turn a profit off their land. As a result, the environmental vs property rights argument began to grow in popularity among average men and women. As time went on, the environment became an issue that both sides were strongly divided on, the precursor to today's arguments over off-shore drilling and similar topics.



Religion in the 90’s did not change much from the previous decade, or from the century. The Muslim population was still increasing, but the Catholics still held majority.


            At the time, there was no huge discrimination of a certain religion, so most people were open about what religion they were a part of. All in all, religion stayed the same throughout the 1990’s






Positive Political Cartoon


Maybe not positive, but still more of a light hearted jab at the American of the time...


Negative Political Cartoon


... While this cartoon describes a serious issue, and is more chilling than humorus.


MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?


The 1990’s was a decade in which the American people began understanding and defining themselves on a global scale. The collapse of communism in Russia spelled the end of the cold war, leaving America as the world’s sole superpower with an optimistic outlook on the future. People became more trusting and open to outside influences ideas. They expressed their individual thoughts and ideas through many different mediums. The clothes of the decade were based solely on the social statement, or lack thereof, a person was trying to make. Music branched off into many different subgenres, each experimenting with unique ideas and methods and sharing them with their own subculture. The entertainment industry began exploring more foreign ideas; importing animation styles and stories from around the world to be instilled in the newest generation. Also, equality and acceptance was being reached in many aspects of American culture: religious views no longer as contested, women in sports were becoming more prominent, and computers becoming more readily available to all people.


During this time of openness in the United States, several events that changed the world and the United States occurred. The Gulf War was evident of the world’s willingness to cooperate wit one another, as well as the inherent problems with Western and in particular American society. Oil was the driving force behind the war, and it became painfully evident that interests in the Middle East would continue to be threatened due to a lack of stability. This led to America putting itself in the mindset that it needed to protect anything that included their interests. This is still clear today in the US’s persistence in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The leadership int he Us during this decade, most prominently Bill Clinton, also relflected the new ideas of many Americans. Although being condemned later in his presidency for indecent relations with an aide, during his tenure President Clintion accomplished a great deal. He reformed welfare which cut poverty rates, and attempted to reform social millieus to be more open. He also opened the US up to the world more, signing into effect NAFTA. This changing and open policy reflected how many Americans felt the US needed to be moving in the future.


Works Cited


American Decades. Judith S. Baughman, Victor Bondi, Richard Layman, Tandy McConnell, and Vincent Tompkins, eds. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 5690 pp. 10 vols.

Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Eds. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 3: 1940s-1950s. Detroit: U*X*L, 2002. Print.
Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America. David Bradley and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, eds. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference, 1997. 1018 pp. 3 vols.
Encyclopedia of Recreation and Leisure in America. Gary S. Cross, ed. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004. 1036 pp. 2 vols.




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