From oct 2010 my educational posts are published only on Pip

19 juli 2010

Girls’ Games III – 1984-1994

In 1984 I was eleven and games had become quite male gendered, but I didn’t really notice. At that time all we wanted was to have fun together. We watched videos at home or hung out in the park and made all old school pranks we could come up with. The first ‘date’ was a gang of us going to see Splash and the next we went to the Tivoli, always with our parents in the background. They kind of supported us to do fun stuff together in a demi freedom.

This absence of problems soon turned to something very complex and confusing – the teenage. The old classmates went out of status as we changed school and the run for the top started. The top equaled being popular and seen, preferable by everyone. There was no self analysis or strategy in that plan, only thoughtless action. And the peer pressure was heavy. Everyone did their best to sit on everybody they could sit on to reach higher status. It was all about doing things nobody else dared and about doing things everybody else did - rebelling from parents, school, teachers and old friends – embracing new friends and media. Brands, style and music were some of the very important details to get right.

In the late 80s the supermodels were the most unreachable goal every girl aimed for. Elle McPherson, Paulina Porizkova, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington were later run over by even more unattainable Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campell and Kate Moss. I scanned every magazine, knew every Stockholm based model and even today I know every image from these times by heart. They almost feel like old friends of mine when I see them today. The girls with contracts were admired by everyone. My doubtlessly biggest focus was not to get a boyfriend, it was to lose some weight. I was 100% convinced that that would do my success in all ways.

The goals were clear: to be popular, to be seen

The method was: to lose weight and become a supermodel

During ‘college’ years the girls started to work weekends to earn extra money to save. The boys did not in the same extent for some reason, maybe they trusted everything to solve by itself, maybe they were always saved by parents when needed?
Everyone was going to the gym, solarium and spent a lot of time on their hair. Things were more relaxed and the hunt for popularity in school was not at all as intense. Studies, work and a few selected friends and gossiping occupied all our time. We played board games, went to discos and parties and baked a cake in the afternoons. We never watched TV, at most an hour between school and homework. Games did not exist. To the girls.

But the boys played all along though we didn’t know.
Or rather – we did know, but we were that uninterested that we didn’t even hear them talking about it. It was something they did by themselves or boys only and probably didn’t talk about not to be a bore to the girls.

I realized this when I met my first boyfriend (I was very late on this, more interested in myself than in boys as said before) and a console was a natural part of his apartment even though he wasn’t a big gamer. I had no fear though and outplayed him frequently. I didn’t last for very long there. I'd say that both he and his friends had no problem with the girls playing though, rather that they were not going to change their interest for any girl and almost forced us to play if we were going to hang out.

On the arcades I felt a little more mal placé. Those places were dark, uncozy and non social. Not very girly in any way.

Finally, in the university, Internet, e-mail and mobiles appeared!!! The two first were easy to adopt. No more did we have to run around all libraries to find the information we were looking for, and no more did we have to send letters by snail mail to our abroad friends.

The mobile phones took some time though to approach.
They were no very user friendly to begin with and many girls hesitated to use them when it went ok as it did, but finally we did and no more we have to get up early in the weekend mornings to not miss everyone before they were out of their homes.

So what’s the same and where are the differences in teens’ habits today? To be continued…

Previous posts on Girls' Games
Girls' Games I - 1980-1984
Girls' Games II - kids 2010

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