Finally, friends, we’re up to my decade. The decade of my birth. The decade of my formative childhood years. The decade of me. And quite fittingly, the ’80s was the Me, Me, Me decade. The decade of excess. The decade of social- and career-climbing. The decade of…big hair and shoulder pads.
The ’80s By The Numbers
*National Debt: 1980 – $914,000,000,000
*National Debt: 1986 – $2,000,000,000,000
*Average salary: $15,757
*Life Expectancy: Male 69.9 Female 77.6
*Minimum Wage: $3.10
*BMW was $12,000; Mercedes 280 E was $14,800
*Attendance: Movies 20 million/week
*Science and technology soared to new heights as people began using pagers, cell phones, computers and video games.
*The Challenger space shuttled exploded 74 seconds after lift-off, killing all seven on board, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.
*President (and former actor) Ronald Reagan introduced the world to Reagonomics. The stock market tripled in 7 years yet survived the 1987 crash
*Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman Supreme Court Justice.
*Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman presidential candidate, Jesse Jackson was the first black candidate.
*The two-earner family was even more common than in previous decades, more women earned college and advanced degrees, married, and had fewer children.
*A 1980 study by UCLA and American Council on Education indicated that 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.
*Eighties’ mothers ran carpool after work, kids had after school and week end cheerleading, baseball, football, soccer, gym, dance, jazz, etc.
*Nerd’s became a hot commodity in the 1980s. Who didn’t fall in love with Cameron, Ferris Bueller’s best friend and partner in crime?
*Teens ruled the scene (think Pretty in Pink, 16 Candles. The Breakfast Club). The Brat Pack was king.
*Collectibles were big in the 80s. Smurf and E.T. paraphernalia, Cabbage Patch dolls, camcorders, video games (Nintendo, Pac Man, Game Boy), Rubik’s Cube, Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles, and Barbies (now Hispanic, Black, Asian) were big. New were discount air fares, lite foods, aerobics, minivans, talkshows, and Valley Girls (grody to the max).
*Power dressing was in. Anne Klein, Perry Ellis, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein were the top designers.
*The Flashdance look had young and old in tank tops, tight-fitting pants or torn jeans, and leg-warmers.
*Cable was born and MTV, orginally intended to be promos for albums, had an enormous impact on music and young people.
*VCR sales rose 72% in just 12 months.
*Everyone and their brother sat captivated trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube.
*Care Bears, My Little Pony and Cabbage Patch Dolls were a girl’s best friends. So were the girls from The Babysitter’s Club and the twins from Sweet Valley High. So were Smurfs, PEZ and Hello Kitty.
*Girls the world over screamed for Bon Jovi, New Kids on the Block and Vanilla Ice.