Many changes, events, and attitudes defined the 1970s. In fact, 70s culture was – by the end of the decade – far different than that of the previous decade, when the hippie culture dominated the scene, especially in the United States.
One change that made a huge impact on 70s culture was the growth of women’s rights. As the 60s became the 70s, women were making their way out of the kitchen and into the workplace.
Of course, there have always been women that work for a living, but in the 70s it began to be “okay” for wives and moms to distribute responsibility for their home and family to others while they went out and made some extra bucks, money that helped pay for the houses and cars that were growing in size and cost.
But even though mothers were heading out to work each morning, the family unit was still an essential element of 70s culture, though what the family looked like certainly began to change. The divorce rate began to skyrocket towards the end of the decade.
Technology entered the picture in the 1970s as well and affected the way people spent their leisure time. Americans of all ages were awed by new-fangled video games that first appeared at arcades and then invaded the house, hooked up to the family television. If you had an Atari game and/or one of those new home computers, like the TRS-80 from Radio Shack, you were cool!
Music was also a huge part of 70s culture. The Rock and Roll genre that took the 60s by storm continued to burgeon and had a great influence on the youth of the decade. All sorts of Rock sub-genres emerged and much of it had adults shaking their heads and wondering what would become of their kids if they kept listening to this loud music with the undistinguishable lyrics.
And at the end of the decade, young adults found a new kind of music and a new way to have fun. Disco music prompted the opening of hundreds of dance clubs around the country, even in small towns but especially in large U.S. cities. Though disco music would disappear by the end of the decade, it would have a huge impact on many aspects of life in the 70s including movies and fashion.
But regardless of the changes, people of the 70s pretty much wanted the same thing as those who came before – a happy life. Perhaps, however, they tried a little harder to get it, protesting wars and promoting peace both within the U.S. and with their neighbors around the world.
People became free thinkers, questioning government and demanding that their voices be heard. Citizens were more likely to speak out against the status quo and were also more self-aware, a culture recognized by author Tom Wolfe, who eventually dubbed the 70s the “Me Decade”.