“That’s cringe,” -Cody Ko. Photo by Abby Fostveit.
BREANNA WILSON | OPINION COLUMNIST | email@example.com
For anyone growing up in an era of trends coming and going, it is interesting to look back and see what we’ve considered cringey throughout the years. It is even more interesting to see what we’ve hated in the past and how it has made a comeback in the present. From off-duty models sporting their grandpa’s Skechers to college students wearing Crocs to class, here is a list of things that were cringey that are now trendy.
Infamously named after crocodiles, Crocs are a foam clog that took over in the 90s and 2000s. Ranging in colors and patterns like pink, teal, tie-dye, camo and many more, Crocs were a staple in every teen’s closet, as well as children’s. Unfortunately, the shoe fell off in the 2010s, having been degraded as shower shoes, “Hot Cheeto girl attire” and other hateful terms. Though haters still exist, the Croc supporters state that they are here to stay.
Nathan Matthews, a sophomore choral education major and avid Croc stan, has shamelessly admitted his love for Crocs.
“[I’m] an avid Crocs wearer,” Matthews said. “I am sorry to admit [it] but not sorry because I don’t care. I feel like Crocs are considered an ugly shoe. I just like having a convenient and comfortable shoe, and Crocs fit the bill on that.”
You’ve probably seen your grandma wear a fanny pack due to its accessibility and easy design. The fanny pack was popularized in the 80s and has made a recent comeback alongside the renaissance of 80s pop culture due to shows like “Stranger Things.” They have also been rebranded as belt bags in recent years. You’ve probably seen a girl or two around campus wearing these so-called “belt bags” sold by Lululemon or some Amazon dupe. Prior to the belt bag, fanny packs were seen as cringey and odd.
Morgan Evans, a sophomore elementary education major, adores fanny packs and feels like they’re coming back through the name “belt bags.”
“I wore a fanny pack because I was in a marching band,” Evans said. “Now people wear them, [but] they don’t call fanny packs. They call them belt bags. Everybody’s like, ‘I’m gonna get my Lululemon belt bag,’ and I’m like … ‘You’re gonna get your glorified, expensive fanny pack.’”
Diamond swords, Captainsparklez and other cube-based things are associated with the 2011 hit game Minecraft. Another word commonly associated with it is cringe-worthy. Minecraft fell off after our early childhoods and has been seen as cringe by many until recently. Minecraft has been coming back with many new updates and its expansion to the Nintendo Switch. Though it is coming back, many people have experienced hate prior to the hype train coming back around.
Matthews had a similar experience when expressing his interest in Minecraft in high school and middle school before its recent rise in popularity.
“Everyone plays Minecraft all the time [now], but back in middle school or even early high school, it was really cringy, and if you played Minecraft, you were a nerd,” Matthews said. “I feel like as you age, things being cringey becomes less of a concern for you as you become more comfortable in yourself.”
Skechers and other “cookout dad shoes”
Everyone loves chunky white shoes. You, your grandma, your dad and Bella Hadid all rock them. Prior to models wearing them off-duty, these kicks were seen as cringey and odd. The perception that they were “grandpa shoes” was rampant, and no one could escape the backlash of wearing them out in public. Before the cringe, you would see Princess Diana or 80s models wearing these shoes daily, but after Vans and Converse took over, it was over for America’s favorite chunky shoes.
Evans feels as though shoe brands such as Champion are making a comeback with “grandpa-esque” sneakers.
“When I think of Champion, I think of what my grandpa used to wear when I was a kid,” Evans said. “And now I see the people [who are] like, ‘I want these shoes.’ And I’m like, ‘My 60- something-year-old grandfather wears those shoes.’”
Gym baddies and bros alike can be seen sporting over-the-ear headphones on a daily basis. From Bose to Apple, people have begun to get on the hype train that is over-the-ear headphones, but believe it or not, it has not always been like this. After the release of Airpods, over-the-ear headphones became a staple of cringe culture. They were less discreet, and because Apple did not have them, they were incompatible with the latest devices without a headphone jack. Now that Apple has begun to produce them with wireless connectivity, they seem to have garnered more popularity.
TikTok is one of the most popular apps of the 21st century with people of all ages using it, but the app that showcases short-form videos wasn’t always popular. It used to be cringey to make TikToks and post them to the app, but with the rise of TikTok stardom and viral videos, it has taken the world by storm.
Taylor Dietrich, a first-year creative media and entertainment major, used to think TikTok was cringe but was immediately hooked once she began using the app.
“I was honestly on the TikTok cringe train until I downloaded it,” Dietrich said. “Directly after this, I started making videos for fun, and one of them blew up. I was hooked from there. Now I’m completely obsessed.”
Given the cyclical nature of these trends, it’s clear that society as a whole plays a large role in what is popular and what isn’t. This can make it hard to express any sense of individuality with your style for fear of being made fun of or not fitting in.
Matthews believes society’s role in trends is very prevalent.
“Society is just deep-rooted in humanity wanting to fit in with the group and have community with other people,” Matthews said. “I feel like likes and interests [of people] sort of plays into that more than I feel it should because it’s so insignificant and stupid to get worried about that kind of stuff.”
As the years go on, it will be interesting to see what we cringe at now that will become trendy when we’re 80 years old. Will your most hated items be next?