Editorial: The best, and worst, of the 2010s

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Pop Culture

Are you still watching? Netflix asks as we doze off in the middle of a Stranger Things marathon. What was once a video delivery service now streams online to 150 million subscribers who binge television shows like Gossip Girl and Dead to Me. This decade was defined by pop culture’s evolution, while platforms such as Netflix and Youtube made entertainment more accessible than ever. Whether or not you are still watching, we have you covered. Here are the pop culture highlights of the 2010s: 

Just 10 years ago, we welcomed the new decade while whipping our hair back and forth to Willow Smith’s iconic debut song. As the decade progressed, playlists were dominated by Ke$ha, Drake and Katy Perry. Viral music began to dominate YouTube’s video suggestions. Songs such as Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and PSY’s “Gangnam Style” quickly became middle school anthems, pioneering the capabilities of virality in pop culture and racking up billions of views. 

As the music industry transitioned to prioritize pop over hip-hop, Simon Cowell made his show-stopping exit from American Idol in 2010 and moved onto the X-Factor, where five strangers would become One Direction. 

And while boy bands and Justin Bieber welcomed fandoms and fan fiction, female rappers, such as Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea and Cardi B, reclaimed female influence in the rap genre. Come 2018, Minaj and Cardi B went head-to-head in a Twitter fight. The winner of the fight is up for debate, but there is no doubt that both rappers had an immense influence on rap music in the 2010s. 

Two artists that saw great success in the 2010s entered the 2010s with bad blood: Kanye West and Taylor Swift. As Swift accepted her MTV Music Videos award, West stole the mic, claiming that Beyonce had “one of the best videos of all time.” Come 2012, Swift dropped “Red,” ranking as the second best-selling album of the year. 

Both Kanye West and Beyonce continued to have great successes in the 2010s as well. West kicked off the decade with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and closed with “Jesus is King.” On April 23, 2016, Beyonce released “Lemonade,” alongside an hour-long music, video which could only be viewed on Jay-Z’s new streaming platform, Tidal. Have you canceled your other subscriptions yet? 

Let’s not forget the rise of viral music as we close out the 2010s. The final two years of the 2010s welcomed the Yodeling Boy. As the decade comes to a close, it’s time we accept that we may never know if the dress is white and gold or black and blue. It may also be time to come to terms with the fact that family members will always hear Yanny while you hear Laurel. 

As we turn our calendars, we close out 2019 in a state of Euphoria and say “Thank U, Next” to pop culture trends of this decade and welcome the unexpected that comes with 2020.  

Science and Tech
In June of 2010, the iPhone 4 graced Apple Store shelves, offering revolutionary technology, combining the capabilities of a camera, iPod and cellphone in one. Alongside the upgraded iPhone, Apple launched the iPad. What was once perceived as a “giant iPhone” became a staple in the workforce and even began to replace laptops. 

Beyond technology, humans continued to make monumental scientific discoveries. Come 2011, scientists discovered a potentially habitable, Earth-like planet, Keppler-22b. This discovery became the first of many searches for a potential second home base for human beings. 

As humans sought earth-like conditions in the extraterrestrial world, artificial intelligence began to create human-like software on Earth, such as Apple’s Siri. Similarly, Amazon launched Alexa, its virtual assistant, in 2014. From setting alarms to reading a recipe, Alexa became the universal assistant to families.

Come 2015, NASA released images that proved that liquid water existed on Mars. With the question of life on Mars raised, NASA began to plan for a potential 2024 man-led mission. While companies like Amazon and Apple continue to revolutionize technology with facial recognition and personal assistants in everyday homes, we can only wonder which revolutions NASA will make in the 2020s, as we seek technological and scientific advancement beyond our own planet. 

News and Movements

Headlines from the 2010s will soon translate to the inner workings of history textbooks. Current events become history, and it is important to reflect on the movements and events that shape where we currently stand. 

In May 2011, United States Navy SEALS killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda. The killing of Bin Laden resulted in President Barack Obama’s pivotal address to the nation, stating, “To those families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaeda’s terror, justice has been done,” as crowds gathered in the Nation’s capital to celebrate the success.

Does Dec. 21, 2012, ring any bells for readers? The Mayan calendar predicted it to be the last day of life as we knew it. NASA later reported the Mayan prediction was “a misconception from the very beginning.” While scientists debunked the myth, the phenomenon left many uneasy until Dec. 22 arrived to relieve their concerns. 

Come 2013, President Obama’s second term began. Amongst world leaders, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in almost 600 years to resign after resigning for health reasons. Within 24 hours, Pope Francis was announced to the 1.2 billion global Catholics awaiting the reveal. 

In 2013, one of the most impactful movements of the 2010s, #BlackLivesMatter, was officially founded after African-American teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a white police officer. The movement led the 2010s in a fight for social justice. 

As the decade progressed, more citizens led social movements that led to concrete changes in legislation. On June 26, 2015, love won as The Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal in all 50 states in the U.S. This decision was a pivotal step in equal rights with regards to sexual orientation, protecting all love under the law. 

Come 2016, the U.S. presidential election left many shocked. Trump was officially announced as the winner on Nov. 8, 2016, when he won the electoral vote 304 to 227. The switch in power was led with the slogan “Make America Great Again.” On Jan. 6, 2017, the U.S. government intelligence agencies found that the Russian government had interfered in the elections. 

Following Trump’s inauguration, over 500,000 women gathered in Washington, D.C., to advocate for women’s rights amongst other marginalized groups. “Welcome to your first day. We will not go away,” marchers chanted at women’s marches worldwide. The Women’s March was the first of many movements of the latter half of the 2010s. 

The Women’s March sparked conversation across social media, and in 2017, the #MeToo worked to raise awareness for victims of sexual assault. The social media movement resulted in over 200 men losing their jobs after being charged with sexual harassment, nearly half of whom were replaced by women. 

In 2018, the #MeToo movement put Judge Brett Kavanaugh on trial after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged he sexually assaulted her as a teenager. Supporters of both Ford and Kavanaugh tuned into the hearing, and the Senate Judiciary Committee officially voted in favor of Kavanaugh, 50 to 48.

The 2010s continue to raise voices and demand justice. With the 2020 election on the horizon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House launched a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump on Sept. 24. As the House explores the constitutional right to impeach as a result of bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors, witnesses take the stand in order to provide a fair trial against the president. 

Fashion

Picture this: It’s the first day of sixth grade in 2010. A group of five girls struts into earth science class rocking hair feathers, side bangs, Ugg boots and jeggings. The boys glance over as they show off their neon athletic wear. As we grew up, 2010s fashion trends evolved with us. 

With the rise of social media, fashion trends spread more quickly than ever. Influencers shared lookbooks on Youtube and Instagram, highlighting street and boho style. Here are some trends from each year that you may have forgotten about, or at least tried to forget about. 

2010- Silly Bandz posed a threat to the circulation of thousands of elementary and middle school-aged children. While the trend was quite youthful, celebrities, such as the Kardashians, endorsed the bracelets, spreading the craze even further. 

2012- Peplum Style Tops offered a flare to traditional professional wear and quickly found their way into casual fashion. 

2014- Flannels made their way into both the men’s and women’s fashion industry. For the outdoorsy type, this style was for pure warmth and survival, but even city-goers and street-stylers found themselves with a few in their wardrobes. 

2016- The return of grunge led many to dig through their parents’ trash bags of old clothing. Street-style stores, such as Urban Outfitters and PacSun began to sell vintage graphic t-shirts with bands like Nirvana and The Rolling Stones.

2018- The death of the skinny jean came with flashbacks to the 90s as mom jeans and a more laid-back look dominated fashion. For men and women, 90s fashion trends resurfaced including crop tops, graphic t-shirts and overalls. 

Social Media 

TikTok. Social media has rapidly revolutionized how and when we receive information. The beginning of the 2010s welcomed Instagram and Snapchat to the social media realm. As Facebook continued to grow, reaching 1 billion active users by October 2012, Instagram and Snapchat provided unique experiences with special filters and story capabilities.

Twitter became much more than a platform to share what we were up to and became a news platform, with over 60 percent of users viewing it as a trusted news source. 

The App Store reminded us to update our apps, while it became the norm to have constant access to friends’ locations and updates of their day-to-day lives. The newest addition to the dominant social platforms, TikTok, which many view as a modern rendition of the long-lost Vine, which died in 2016, the year of TikTok’s release.  

As the line between the digital world and reality fades, we welcome the unknown of 2020 and all of the discoveries and achievements that will come with its arrival.

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