I don't know what it was about the '90s that inspired children to divide themselves on every pop culture debate, but liking everything equally simply was not an option. Sure, you could be a Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC fan in the privacy of your own home, but in public you had to pledge your alliance to one band or the other. There was no middle ground. Every '90s kid had to make hard pop culture choices, it was just the way of the playground, and you had to be confident in those choices because they defined your very being.
Seriously, once you had identified your favorite Spice Girl there was no going back. Stan for Baby Spice one day and try to switch to Ginger Spice the next, and no one would trust you ever again. If you could waffle on a subject as important as the Spice Girls, then what else could you suddenly change your mind about? Who your best friend was? The awesomeness of snap bracelets? A person with no firm pop culture opinions simply could not be trusted.
Now '90s kids look back on the decade with nostalgia for all parts of their youth, but deep down they remember their pop culture alliances. A Backstreet Boys fan and an *NSYNC fan can be friends, but they can never forget the great pop culture wars of the '90s. These 13 choices may seem impossible, but every '90s kid chose a side in these pop culture debates and they stuck with them if they valued their seat in the cafeteria.
1. Backstreet Boys Or *NSYNC?
The fiercest battle was the battle of the boy bands. Did you prefer the hipness of *NSYNC and Justin Timberlake or the soulfulness of the Backstreet Boys and Nick Carter? Once you made your choice, you had to memorize all of your chosen band's videos by heart so you could properly debate with the opposition during homeroom.
2. Britney Spears Or Christina Aguilera?
Their careers began at virtually the same time, which is surely what led to near constant arguments over the merits of "Genie in a Bottle" versus "...Baby One More Time." Those who threw their lot in with Aguilera were seen as edgy and a little dangerous, while Spears fans were popular and always had the best furry-topped pens.
3. Goosebumps Or Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
Goosebumps was the young upstart who tried to move into Are You Afraid of the Dark's territory. Some kids defected from the Are You Afraid of the Dark camp and were promptly banished from their local branches of the Midnight Society.
4. Zack Or Slater?
Choosing your Saved by the Bell boyfriend was not a decision to be taken lightly. Trust me, I once casually tried to switch teams and it caused a friendship rift that lasted until the next day's recess.
5. Who Is Your Favorite Spice Girl?
When you declared your favorite Spice Girl, you were declaring who you were as a person. Pick Scary Spice and you had better be prepared to be fierce 24/7, choose Posh and your mom had to buy you the finest knockoff CK One perfume money could buy. And don't try to convince anyone you were an amalgamation of all five Spice Girls because everyone knows people's personalities are defined by one quality alone. Duh.
6. Nickelodeon Or The Disney Channel?
Nickelodeon was the more egalitarian choice because the channel came standard with most cable packages. It was a whole other tier of cable, for Big Pete's sake.
7. The Pink Ranger Or The Yellow Ranger?
When it came to the male Power Rangers, everyone loved Tommy. There was no question as to who your favorite was, it was Tommy. However, when it came time to choose between the Pink Ranger or the Yellow Ranger, you were basically telling the world whether you were a "girly-girl" or a "tomboy." Yeah, '90s gender politics were a work in progress.
8. The Baby-Sitter's Club Or The Saddle Club?
The truly old school kids would go rogue and choose Sweet Valley High, but the big battle was the battle of the clubs. Did you want to start your own business or be a champion horse rider? It was basically a career test.
9. Dawson And Joey Or Pacey And Joey?
Joey Potter's love life sparked the ship war to end all ship wars.
10. Which Hanson Brother Do You Like The Best?
You were going to marry one of them, so it was imperative that you make the right choice.
11. SNICK Or TGIF?
It was usually acceptable to watch both lineups, but you still had to decide which one you could never live without.
12. Rachel, Phoebe, Or Monica?
Again, this was a personality litmus test. It was declaring whether you were cool, quirky, or kooky to all of your real life friends.
13. Chandler, Joey, Or Ross?
Just kidding, no one ever chose Ross.
These were the great debates of the '90s. I apologize if you are now filled with the sudden need to call up your *NSYNC friends and tell them why all of their life choices are wrong.
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