17 Bad Things Society Used to Accept

Human society is constantly evolving, and behavior that may not have ‘batted an eyelid’ a couple of decades ago may be seen as entirely unacceptable today. This is primarily due to the modernization of society and our gradually more progressive attitudes- not to mention scientific and technological advancements. We collected 18 things deemed socially acceptable 20 years ago that are frowned upon in today’s modern world.

Throwing Plastic Away

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

While it may be hard to imagine as we carefully clean and sort our trash items and place them in the appropriate bins, society wasn’t always so environmentally aware. In the past two decades, recycling programs have provided better facilities and increased public awareness, helping to reduce waste and conserve resources (Recycle Now).

Homophobic Slurs

Photo Credit: Egoitz Bengoetxea/Shutterstock.

Recent progress in societal acceptance has seen LGBTQ+ individuals and communities receive more equal rights and less discrimination. Although GLAAD states that homophobia remains a persistent form of hate speech, it is becoming less common, and perpetrators are being increasingly ‘called out,’ particularly on social media.

Not Using Seatbelts

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Seatbelt use has recently evolved from a personal choice to a legal requirement in almost all areas of the world. Hard-hitting public awareness campaigns and strict enforcement by the police (including higher penalties) have made NOT wearing a seatbelt almost unthinkable (NHTSA).

Casual Racism

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Happily, our society is becoming increasingly aware of the harm that derogatory language can do- particularly if it pertains to someone’s ethnicity or skin tone. Things still aren’t perfect, but increased awareness of racial issues and more cultural ‘mixing’ have helped promote a friendlier world that frequently rejects everyday racism.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The days of throwing your trash out of the car window as you drive along are, thankfully, a thing of the past. Once common practice, littering is now widely regarded as irresponsible and bad for the environment. Environmental organizations like Keep America Beautiful have used research, reports, and education to help tackle the problem successfully.

Airbrushed Photos

Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.

According to Business Insider, several celebrities have criticized the airbrushing of photographs for use in advertising and media. Strides towards promoting body positivity and an understanding of the harmful effects of unachievable beauty standards have led to greater demand and respect for unfiltered, natural shots- wrinkles, cellulite, eye bags, and all!

Single-Use Plastic Bags

Photo Credit: ARIMAG/Shutterstock.

Environmental concerns regarding microplastics, ocean health, and the sustainability of mankind’s ‘plastic obsession’ have led to significant efforts to reduce the use of plastics in our daily lives, particularly in the last 20 years. Single-use plastics like takeaway boxes, coffee cups, and plastic bags are becoming less and less acceptable.


Photo Credit: bluedog studio/Shutterstock.

A couple of decades ago, sun-bronzed skin was highly desirable. Nowadays, however, the Skin Cancer Foundation says that increased awareness of the health risks of prolonged sun exposure has led to a shift in attitudes. People with paler skin are now using sun cream or staying covered, and beauty standards include a far greater range of skin tones.

Public Drunkenness

Photo Credit: LightField Studios/Shutterstock.

The idea of the local drunk being a harmless, somewhat amusing figure has now changed with greater public awareness of the physical and mental health risks of alcoholism. There is also now a greater stigma attached to being drunk in public places and a far greater likelihood that your embarrassing antics are being filmed for social media!

Gender Stereotypes

Photo Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

In our modern world of preferred pronouns, gender fluidity, and greater acceptance, gender stereotypes are no longer socially permissible. According to The Millenium Project, harmful stereotypes about women, including their sole role as mothers/housekeepers, are now on the decline and being actively rejected by young generations of women.

Not Wearing Helmets

Photo Credit: Alex Linch/Shutterstock.

A greater awareness of the potential for severe head injuries as a result of falling from a pushbike or motorcycle has caused a significant uptick in helmet use, particularly for children. Bike and crash helmets are now considered essential pieces of safety equipment for any journey.

Wasting Water

Photo Credit: Sinisa Lucic/Shutterstock.

Gone are the days of leaving the hose on while washing your car or running a bath every single night. As we have become more aware of water as a valuable, limited resource, conserving water has become more important, and wasting it is now seen as irresponsible (EPA).

Excessive Noise Pollution

Photo Credit: Srdjan Randjelovic/Shutterstock.

Recent research has found that quiet, peaceful environments are essential for mental health and well-being, particularly at night. This has led to a focus on creating quieter neighborhoods and greater disapproval of loud activities- now frequently deemed to be selfish and inconsiderate.

Public Shaming

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

According to Psychology Today, the advent of social media 20 years ago came with a trend for shaming individuals publicly on platforms like Facebook. However, the psychological and emotional toll it took led to a public outcry and calls for kinder behavior online.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Women amongst you may remember walking past a building site only to be wolf-whistled or inappropriately propositioned. Today, society sees such behavior as an aggressive and frightening form of harassment. Thus, behavior such as catcalling is far more likely to be disapproved of and called out by bystanders- male and female alike.

Discrimination Against Disabilities

Photo Credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock.

While there used to be a stronger divide between people living with and without disabilities, that line is progressively becoming more blurred. Slurs aimed at people with reduced mobility, cognitive abilities, sight, or hearing are now unacceptable and frequently prompt society as a whole to defend the victim.

Prank Phone Calls

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The trend whereby individuals would make jokes or harass others over the phone was once seen as harmless fun- something teens would do to the local pizza place to relieve boredom. Nowadays, anti-harassment sentiment and ‘caller ID’ technology make prank calling less acceptable and identifying the perpetrators far easier.

Read More: 17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Gen Z, our digital-native, trendsetting generation, is making waves in the cultural sea, steering the ship of societal norms in fresh and unexpected directions. As they charter new territories, there are certain practices they’d rather we say goodbye to. Curious? Let’s take a look at 17 things the rest of us can no longer do because Gen Z said so.

17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

18 Common Traits Found in Adults Who Had Unhappy Childhoods

Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

Being a parent is a hard job, so even those who are truly trying their best will often miss the mark on creating the best environment for their children. Unfortunately, this means that many of us grow up with far-from-perfect childhoods that affect us into adulthood. Here are 18 common traits found in adults who had unhappy childhoods.

18 Common Traits Found in Adults Who Had Unhappy Childhoods

18 Things Old People Just Can’t Get On Board with Today

Photo Credit: Andrii Iemelianenko/Shutterstock.

Over the past few decades, society has evolved, and with it, so have a few things that older generations find it uncomfortable to get the hang of. While younger generations are easily able to adapt to these changes, some of which are drastic, others may be struggling slightly. Here are 18 things the elderly may have difficulty learning.

18 Things Old People Just Can’t Get On Board with Today

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

Photo Credit: Blue Titan/Shutterstock.

Losing a spouse is one of life’s most tragic experiences, and when we’re overwhelmed by grief, we might make some decisions that we’ll later regret. Here are 19 mistakes people make after losing their spouse.

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

Photo Credit: Zoran Zeremski/Shutterstock.

Our grandparents had a far simpler life. There was no such thing as social media. Instead, there was more walking and meals were always fresh and homemade. With so many things keeping us busy nowadays, sometimes life would seem much easier if we lived the way our grandparents did.

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back