Essay Example on the 1980s: Societal Dynamics, Entertainment, Art and Culture

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Boston College
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Societal dynamics: the role of men and women

During the 1980s, married women who were working in the corporate environment had more approval rating if they were supported by a man. Thus, women have to assist men to understand how to deal with the changing role. Newspapers and magazines began showing men and women working alongside. Women opportunities in the corporate environment increased tremendously with a sizable number getting administrative and managerial jobs (LaBelle, 2010, 64). Women began getting positions above men with some getting administrative and executive jobs although there were a distinct number of women who had lower paying jobs. During the 1980s, the feminist movements which focused on protecting reproductive rights, handling domestic violence, and ensuring equal pay, began spreading from the United States to other areas in the world. More women joined unions which then advocated for their economic rights, matrimonial rights, employment equity and financial independence (Turkle, 2011, 66). Additionally, divorce and remarriage were acceptable in the society.

However, mens roles were similar to the previous decades where they were seen as the breadwinners. Men had a difficult time accepting that women were acquiring higher positions in the corporate environment (Jasper, 2008, 43). Additionally, women had a hard time to accept that some women were earning more than them although those women were known to have more skills and qualification in employment. Some women were known to get jobs that were initially mens although some men still handled more physical work. There was an increase in the rate of mens participation in the household chores since women began going to work (Quart, 2006, 28).


The 1980s music were important in the history of music since it established a strong foundation on how the music industry was set. The 80s brought more visual experience to music due to the establishment of several TV channels and radios. Musicians were concerned on how their image should be and as a result, they wore stylish clothes and hair. Most music fans in the 80s brought the new style of life to the people due to the type of hair and clothing reflected on music in the media. The decade had more wild music with rock and roll is the biggest form of music since it had more fans than other genres of music in America. The artists began marketing their products to get more sales and attract a high number of listeners. Pop artist Keith Haring is known to create graphic images and selling them (Romanowski, 2006, 164). The 1980s also saw some artists participating in social causes while others made political statements. Therefore, the artists were important since they created awareness on the social issues like discrimination and famine in Africa which then made some countries to assist in whatever they can.

Sports during the 1980s were dominated by few people in the society. Some renowned names in the history of sports include Mike Tyson, Joe Montana, Magic Johnson, George Brett, among others. However, the popularity of games increased gradually as the years progressed since people accepted sports as a form of leisure. Some entrepreneurs in the sports industry began raking millions in the industry (McRobbie, 2013, 104).

Art and Culture

The 1980s was engrossed with image and success, and as a result, a lot of American art during the decade was envisioned by that amid that decade was formed by that. During the period, art industry grew tremendously (Meara 2008, 1990). Painting, showy musicals, and pop recordings became greater in theme, budget, promotion, ambition, and scope. The new scale and impact of art suited Americans in the 1980s. With more discretionary money than in the 1970s, the Americans were tired of pessimism, and as a result, they decided to live life to the fullest. As such, the booming economy since the 1960s made Americans start spending money on the art. Hence, it was an increase in the price of art in the country since it was believed that acquiring art demonstrated financial success (Molesworth &Burton, 2012, 57). However, the government under Ronald Reagan reduced the funding of the arts and as a result; the government was subjected to a lot of rivalry in the country.

During the 1980s, racism was a big issue affecting the colored community although cases of segregation were rare. Several problems affected the people of color, and as a result, the government was quick to enact civil right laws that served to end the ongoing persecution. Many discussions on how to solve the issue were held in the country and consequently, the colored community accessed lawyers easily (Curran, 2010, 70).

The hip hop culture took center stage during the decade such that most people adopted some of the habits and behavior. The adoption of such habits generated a culture among people regarding dressing and hair style. Additionally, the rock and roll music, popular among the whites community made some fans to behave similarly to the artists who then spread to the general population (Zukin 2006, 156). Therefore, this led to the rock culture that continued to exist even after the 80s.



Curran, J., 2010. Democratic value of entertainment: a reappraisal. Media & Jornalismo, 17(9), pp.69-85.

Jasper, J.M., 2008. The art of moral protest: Culture, biography, and creativity in social movements. University of Chicago Press.

LaBelle, B., 2010. Acoustic territories: Sound culture and everyday life. A&C Black.

McRobbie, A., 2013. In the culture society: Art, fashion and popular music. Routledge.

Meara, E.R., Richards, S. and Cutler, D.M., 2008. The gap gets bigger: changes in mortality and life expectancy, by education, 19812000. Health Affairs, 27(2), pp.350-360.

Molesworth, H.A. and Burton, J., 2012. This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s. Yale University Press.

Romanowski, W.D., 2006. Pop culture wars: Religion and the role of entertainment in American life. Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Turkle, S., 2011. Life on the Screen. Simon and Schuster.

Quart, L., 2006. The religion of the market: Thatcherite politics and the British film of the 1980s. Fires were started: British cinema and Thatcherism, 2, pp.15-29.

Zukin, C., Keeter, S., Andolina, M., Jenkins, K. and Carpini, M.X.D., 2006. A new engagement?: Political participation, civic life, and the changing American citizen. Oxford University Press.


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