19 of the Worst Trends of 2019 We Are Happy to Forget
From vaping to dad sneakers, we're thrilled to leave these awful trends in 2019.
There were a lot of genuinely great things that happened in the last year, like crime rates dropping and new ways to detect cancer earlier. But as the saying goes, you have to take the bad with the good. Remember when people were vaping in places they'd never dream of smoking cigarettes? Or when we tossed all of our beloved belongings that didn't exactly "spark joy"? Well, personally, we won't miss either of those things, which is why they're among what we're thrilled to leave behind from the last 12 months. But for old time's sake, read on to see the rest of the worst trends of 2019 we're happy to see go.
Vaping in public
Even before we learned the real danger of e-cigarettes, vaping was becoming a little too culturally accepted for our liking. People pulled out their vape pens just about everywhere, even public places that have long since banned smoking, like restaurants and offices. Now that a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found evidence to suggest that smoking e-cigarettes is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, we're ready to see fewer clouds of vapor exhaled around us in 2020.
The royal baby obsession
The media frenzy surrounding the birth of Archie Mountbatten-Winsor, the first child of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, wasn't unexpected, but we're pretty glad it's over. That felt especially true after learning the toll it all took on Markle, who has since vocalized how difficult it was to be under such public scrutiny while pregnant. And while our obsession with the royal birth may not have been ill-intended, it wasn't our finest moment either. It feels like a good idea for everyone involved to put royal baby fever behind us.
According to the European Commission, single-use plastics—particularly grocery bags and straws—are responsible for more than 80 percent of litter found in the world's oceans, posing a serious threat to marine life and the environment in general. But several events in 2019 brought signs of positive change to the world's excessive plastic use. For one, European Parliament voted to ban all single-use plastic products across the continent, including straws, plates, cups, drink stirrers, and cotton swabs. And the U.S. has started to follow suit, with plastic bags being banned in states like Vermont, Maine, Oregon, Delaware, Connecticut, and New York.
Celery juice really hit its zeitgeist this year, with celebrities from Robert De Niro and Busy Philipps to Miranda Kerr and the Kardashians swearing that the green juice was nothing short of a magical elixir. We weren't buying it then, and we surely won't be buying it next year, especially since finding out that "the nutritional properties of the juice are not unique," as one dietician told Healthline.
The college admissions scandal
It's not so much that we're shocked that celebrities were cheating the system, using money and power to give their kids an unfair advantage. It's that when they were caught, so few of them were willing to admit they did anything wrong. In September, actress Felicity Huffman at least acknowledged that she messed up, but there were others (yes, Lori Loughlin included) who seemed genuinely confounded that they were being questioned at all. Maybe in 2020 we can focus on holding people accountable and fair admissions practices at our country's universities?
We were pretty freaked out by the demonic woman who, according to a widespread urban legend, was encouraging kids to commit violence and self-harm. The whole thing turned out to be a hoax, The Guardian reported in February, but a lot of parents are still rattled, and understandably so. It wasn't just what Momo was, but what Momo represented—the possibility that something evil on the internet was brain-washing our children. It's an anxiety we'd all love to leave behind us in the coming year.
We'll admit it, we had some laughs over the "OK Boomer" meme. But in general, the constant mockery of different generations has gotten a bit old. Millennials are not all lazy and entitled, and hiring them is not the equivalent of cleaning up after a puppy. Gen-Xers aren't all slackers, and baby boomers aren't all former hippies who ruined the world. People aren't that simplistic and one-dimensional—we've all met millennials who behaved more like the clichés of boomers, and vice-versa.
Marie Kondo's minimalism mania
When we first tuned in to her Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the downsizing methods of Japanese organization guru Marie Kondo definitely "sparked joy." But while we can't deny her methods have proved to be effective or that they have helped countless people, we also don't necessarily want to feel alienated for not wanting to get rid of all of our things just because it's what everyone else is doing. Besides, some things serve a purpose, even if it's not a joyous one!
That anyone would pay $300 for underwear is outrageous enough, but $300 for jean underwear by Y/Project? That's just not right. It doesn't matter if you give them a quirky name like "janties" or "thong jeans," it's still an abomination. Denim is a fabric that belongs on the outside, and as a concerned gynecologist told Vogue in April, it's bound to cause chafing.
Disappointment with the final season of Game of Thrones
Whether you thought the final season of Game of Thrones was the worst thing to ever happen to modern civilization or a satisfying conclusion of a beloved series, everyone had an opinion and they weren't shy about sharing it. There's even an online petition, signed by almost two million people, calling for the final season to be completely remade "with competent writers." Yikes. Can we please just move on? It's only a TV show, people.
Throwing cheese at babies
In all started in February when a Michigan dad posted a video on Facebook of his baby's stunned reaction after a slice of cheese lands on his face. The clip went viral, and before we knew it, everybody with easy access to a baby and a slice of cheese were getting in on the bizarre activity. Those who didn't know any babies? Well, they chose to hurl the dairy product at their dogs. We have to agree with political writer Molly Jong-Fast, who tweeted in March about the inexplicable phenomenon: "I can't help but feel humanity is doomed."
The Bird Box Challenge
At the end of 2018, Netflix's horror film Bird Box, featuring a blindfolded Sandra Bullock trying to outrun an ambiguous monster, was all everyone could talk about. Your feelings on the film aside, we can all agree that the subsequent challenge that went viral in the early part of 2019 was a moment best forgotten. Those who did the Bird Box Challenge, some of whom were families and young children, posted videos on social media of their attempts to reenact the movie's premise by going about their day with blindfolds over their eyes. Needless to say, the results weren't pretty. Here's to fewer dangerous internet challenges in 2020.
There were a lot of reasons to be apprehensive about FaceApp, the face-editing app that uses a "state of the art photo-editor powered by AI" to manipulate your photos in order to make you look younger or older. But none of them have to do with other countries stealing your likeness for some nefarious purpose. We're not going to tell you that privacy isn't an issue with Facebook—it absolutely is. But the company probably isn't conspiring with the Soviets to "own all your old photos," as the New York Post reported.
Sonic the Hedgehog's original teeth
The dental structure of a video game character isn't something we'd typically give much thought to, but when the trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog live-action movie dropped in April, everyone on the internet had the same question: What is going on with those chompers? Or as one Twitter user wondered, "Why are Sonic the Hedgehog's teeth better than mine?" Anyone who played the original Sonic game on Sega Genesis knew that the hyperkinetic hedgehog was known for many things—his penchant for collecting large quantities of floating gold rings, for instance—but a shiny set of pearly whites was not one of them. The backlash was so strong, Paramount redid the character's mouth and pushed the film's release date back. We'll see Sonic, sans teeth, in 2020.
"Mommy wine" culture
You'll never hear us dispute that parenting is a difficult gig, nor will you find us passing judgement on anyone who likes to have a glass of wine or two to unwind at the end of the day. But somewhere along the line, being a mother and drinking wine with other mothers became what seemed to be such a cultural norm that it felt like opening a bottle of chardonnay was a requirement when moms got together to socialize. And maybe that isn't the best route for all moms. It wasn't, for example, for Celeste Yvonne, who spoke to Good Morning America in September about the issue, saying, "I was very much entranced by the mommy wine culture, and I used that culture to self medicate." For moms who don't want to drink, we hope other options for kicking back get some attention in the new year.
They're way too small to provide any serious protection from harmful UV rays, but noticeable enough to make you look utterly ridiculous. Remind us again why these miniature sun spectacles became popular in the first place? The trend started a few years ago, and though the media has consistently promised that they were officially over, the diminutive eyewear fad just won't seem to go away. Please let 2020 be the year they finally disappear for good.
The fact that celebrities like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner have been spotted wearing dad sneakers doesn't fill us with the confidence that our wish will come true and this ironic footwear trend will be nothing by a hazy memory of a different time. But our fingers remain crossed nonetheless. As if paternal-style jeans weren't enough, now sneakers need to be dorky dad-chic, too? We're still confused about why these things ever caught on. Can't we have just one thing in our wardrobe that has a fragment of sincerity?
Not knowing how to feel about Jussie Smollett
We love the Fox drama Empire, and we think that Jussie Smollett was really, really good on the show. But as for whether he did or didn't hire thugs to stage a hate crime? We have no idea what to believe anymore. Smollett says he's innocent, but Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he was lying. But then the new Chicago mayor fired Johnson for lying, yet Smollett is still being sued by the city for $130,000 for wasting the city's time. Who is telling the truth? We will never know, because we vow to move on in 2020.
Remember the Yoda of your childhood? The 900-year-old Jedi Master who walked with a cane and spouted convolutedly structured, but unwaveringly profound wisdom like it was a walk in the intergalactic park? Well, he's been replaced by Baby Yoda, an adorable imp who the entire world has decided they want to adopt. Sorry, old Yoda. You've been replaced by a tiny genius from Gen-Z. It was probably inevitable.