Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

“In West Philadelphia, born and raised…” If you can’t resist finishing that, this article is for you, ya ’90s kid

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.


…so…all of you at Cal Poly…

The first-years on campus right now are probably the last of the “‘90s kid” generation. Some say these kids aren’t part of the ‘90s group because they were only four or five when the ‘90s ended.

But, isn’t the entire ‘90s kid culture made up of the toys we had and the games we played and the shows we watched? Well, all of these things that ‘90s kids cherish continued into the early 2000s.

It wasn’t until “Blue’s Clues’s” Steve was replaced by Joe (2002), until Mickey Mouse became computer-animated and had a clubhouse (2006), until the popular music was no longer by the Black Eyed Peas and Kelly Clarkson (circa 2004) that the beloved ‘90s era ended. So yes, I believe the last members of this group can include those of us born in 1995.

There are a lot of factors that go into knighting yourself and others a ‘90s kid. First of all,

Did you watch:

  • “Kenan and Kel”
  • “Rocket Power”
  • “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
  • “Pokémon?”

Were you a master of:

  • Bop-It
  • Tamagotchi?

Do you remember every lyric from:

  • ‘N Sync
  • Aaron Carter
  • Britney Spears
  • the “Now That’s What I Call Music” album?

If so, congratulations! You’re part of the coolest generation! (that is, in our eyes…) But being deemed a ‘90s kid isn’t just about being the last generation before Apple products took over everyone’s lives and shows like “Dog with a Blog” pushed out “Full House” and all its cheesy-life-lessons glory.

Being part of this community, this bond built between Tumblr posts and other social media outlets, is really the formation of one huge comradery. We can run up to a stranger and say, “Yo! ‘Iiiiiiiin West Philadelphia, born and raised…’” and there’s a very small chance that this startled stranger could resist finishing your sentence.

Check out this ’90s party playlist, it’ll take you way back.

Perhaps Generation X can do this with the “Happy Days” theme. But, the question is whether or not they have enough nostalgic one-mindedness to feel the need to, and nostalgia is what drives the ‘90s kid culture. However, it seems a little early for people 25 years of age and under to be so nostalgic. Why is this generation feeling the effects of nostalgia so much earlier than past generations?

We were born just before the world went into a technological revolution. We spent our childhood outside until the streetlights signified it was time to go in. We knew jump-rope rhymes, we made up games to play in the streets and now we watch Generation Z (1996-undetermined) obsess over Snapchat and play all their games on iPads and the like.

Not only did we not grow up with this technology, we watched kids slightly younger than us become grossly attached to it. What 17-year-old looks at someone four years younger than them and says, “What are you doing on your iPad? Why don’t you go outside, play with your friends in real life?” We might as well pull out the “Back in my day—!”

It’s also plausible that our generation sees the age before 9-11 as a period of innocence, a time before the recession when we were younger and life had an ease that only comes with childhood.

“Nostalgia comforts people and the Millennials are probably craving comfort right now,” said David Browne is his New York Times article in 2009.

“The political and economic climate of the late ‘90s had been as soothing as a Backstreet Boys ballad: no wars, unemployment as low as four percent, a $120 billion federal surplus. Neil Howe, an author of several books on what he calls the Millennials (another term for Gen Y), draws a parallel between this nostalgic wave and the one boomers embraced with the film ‘American Graffiti’ in 1973. That movie depicted the recent past, the early ‘60s, which seemed to have vanished forever,” Browne said. “While [Baby] Boomers or Generation Xers might have no idea what the phrase ‘classic Nickelodeon’ implies, to anyone in his or her 20s, it means fondly remembered cable tween shows like ‘All That.’”

If anything propels nostalgia, it’s the unity ‘90s kids feel when they can think about the past together. We post about “The Amanda Show,” Tamagotchis and the Motorola RAZR, and collectively feel that Generation Z kids are deprived by spending six hours a day on the computer instead of scraping up their knees, “building character,” as some may put it.

Of course, many people see the ‘90s kid culture as overrated, but, “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?” (“Complicated,” Avril Lavigne)

So turn off your Furbies (ha), kick off your Heely’s and flip on Nickelodeon’s throwback of “The ‘90s Are All That.” You, my friend, are a ‘90s kid.

Want more? Check out these links:

The 50 Best Moments in a ’90s Kid’s life

You Know You’re a ’90s Kid If…

25 Ways to Tell You’re a Kid of the ’90s

Hannah is a sophomore at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. Besides writing, she loves running, Thai food and making ridiculously unaffordable collections on Wanelo. Hannah is obsessed with The Walking Dead, old Disney movies, Ed Sheeran and wasting time on Photoshop. She'd like to point out that she can't sing or dance, but will, because that's when it's the most fun, especially when the songs are from "Les Miserables." Follow her on Twitter @joslin_hannah and Instagram @hannahmichele8
Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Sophia Liu

Cal Poly '19

Sophia Liu is a second-year architecture major and media arts minor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She grew up in a little town in Los Angeles County. A wild dreamer, she loves photography, fashion, and big cities.