“What Is Something That Is Socially Acceptable Now That Wasn’t A Long Time Ago?”: 100 Interesting Answers From The Bored Panda Community

There are many things that were once considered taboo or socially unacceptable, but have since become more accepted by society. As time goes on, people's attitudes and beliefs can change, and what was once considered unacceptable may become widely accepted. This can be seen in a variety of areas, such as relationships, fashion, and even language. While some may view these changes as positive, others may resist them, leading to ongoing debates and discussions about what is and is not socially acceptable.

Ultimately, what is considered acceptable can vary greatly depending on the time and place, and what may be accepted in one society may not be in another. I asked Pandas from our community to share things that weren't socially acceptable until now, and there were a lot of interesting answers to say the least.


Interracial marriages.


Being openly gay. It used to be taboo and sometimes downright dangerous to be open about it. Now it’s no big deal and I think that’s awesome.


Tattoos. My parents cried and said I would never find a job.


Women exposing their ankles.


Being accepted and treated like a normal person despite having disabilities and disorders.

It wasn't that long ago people with any form of mental, learning, physical and cognitive disabilities or mental disorders were put in mental hospitals and cruel asylums when all they needed was some extra help from an Aide or counseling. People would be mean and call slower kids the 'R-word', bully them and teachers would outcast them to a "special ed" program.

Some kids never even get an assessment or diagnosis because their parents would be more concerned about the social impact, or refused to cater to the thought bad marks were not the fault of their child.

Now, kids who need extra support or be somewhere quiet to do their work go to the resource rooms, which sounds more inclusive.


Cosplay. Especially cosplay for people with disabilities or less-than-ideal bodies. I'm a cosplayer, I'm partially disabled and overweight, and no one bats an eye at the con when I dress up.


Crying for men.


Bi-racial relationships & Bi-racial children


Females in revealing clothes. I'm grateful that I can wear pants/shorts. I hate dresses.


Being LGBTQ+ and supporting it. Also, someone said being openly gay and I’m not trying to copy them.


Well not entirely acceptable by everyone yet, but it's starting to be: men who aren't cross-dressers or even gay wearing skirts/nail polish/makeup.


Women being financially independent. Being able to have their own bank account, their own credit cards, and take out their own loans without having to have a man co-sign for them.


Being a minority, whether it be religious or ethnic. Luckily, it is legal to not be a white Christain now, but you used to be mobbed or persecuted over what you believe in or what you look like.


Discussing private issues.


K-12 girls being allowed to wear pants to school. I know it's still no tube tops or short shorts, etc., but when I was in school, girls wore dresses and skirts, and if you knelt and the skirt didn't touch the floor, it was deemed to be too short. In high school, there were about 2 designated days per year when we could wear pants.


Cannabis use, especially (where it’s legal for recreation,) is much more acceptable than it was years ago.


According to an Emily Post Etiquette book published in 1984, it was not socially acceptable to ask a guest NOT to smoke in your home.


Expressing pro-LGBTQ opinions without first saying "I'm not gay, but..."


Swearing (to an extent).


Protesting whaling.


Having babies out of wedlock.


Black people going to the same school as white people (but I guess that’s racism) but it was still socially unacceptable.


Telling your parents they're wrong.


Not answering your phone. It used to be expected that if you were home and the phone rang, you picked it up. Then there were answering machines so we could screen. Then voicemail, and now we have a call display so you can just decline. I honestly never expect people to pick up if I call. Text is way easier anyway.


Not knowing how to write in cursive.


Natural hair being accepted as professional.


1. Looking like you're talking to yourself.

The in past you've been taken away to the crazy hospital. These days you're most likely on your phone so you can feel free to talk to yourself all you want and just blame it on that, lol.

2. Being an actual crazy person.

It used to be if you were crazy they'd give you tin foil to play with and cart you off to a mental hospital because you shouldn't be allowed in regular society. Now you can say things like believing the earth is flat. Or that school shootings where children have died and it can be proven are just 'false flags' and never happened. Or that the government is a conspiracy of snake people from another planet. And instead of a tin foil hat, you get elected to the house of representatives or a radio show making millions of dollars.


Being friends with an African American person.


Not dressing to the 9s when on an airplane. You used to essentially have to wear business suits/business formal when flying. Now comfy clothes are fine.


Mylar balloons aren't good for the environment. They can short-circuit power equipment and lead to outages and fires. They can float for days and miles and return to earth as ugly litter that pollutes pristine places. They end up in the stomachs of countless land animals and sea creatures that eat them and die. They waste helium which is a finite resource. They are synthetic products that will never biodegrade. They're pretty to look at but releasing them to ride the winds is irresponsible.


Now I actually think about it... anything. You can carry a lightsaber in public and nobody blinks, everybody has an opinion but nobody is accountable, and now I've said all of that, I'll let you know that it was what ruined the Star wars franchise years ago.


Being a witch/pagan although I did discover that in some countries it is still best to keep your pentacle tucked away,


Accomodating neurodivergent people. Don't get me wrong, it's still awful. But it's a hell of a lot better than it was maybe 5 years ago. Whether it's "autism hours" in supermarkets to lower risk of overstimulation or just not commenting on stims being "weird", it's definitely progress. It's less taboo and less ignored now than it's been in the past


not liking religion. if you didn't like church the church would not like you existing


being gay


Maybe someone has already said this, I don't know. Back when I was growing up it was considered bad manners to make an incoming phone call more important than the person that you were talking to, right there, in person. I am still appalled at how many people answer their cell phones even if you're sitting right there in person talking to them. Seems like bad manners to me.


Being a Catholic Christian. The KKK tried to wipe us out. One Catholic priest was killed because a White Protestant man's daughter married someone outside of her own race.


Talking about casual s and having casual s with lots of people. Talking about recovery in S Addicts Anonymous.


Wearing colours at Wimbledon


disrespect and rudeness. it happens all the time and no one speaks up because they're afraid of the confrontation and i don't blame them. rage is on the rise.


Ooh, here's a random one - women wearing hats in church. Back in the day, it was practically a competition to see if one's church hat could outdo another's. Now, it's frowned upon, which sucks. Those ladies had some wild tastes.


The stigma surrounding mental illness has dissipated. We can now talk openly about mental health struggles and even take a mental health day off work. Mental Health struggles are being seen as legitimate and debilitating illnesses that used to be brushed off and people told to "Brighten up" or "Just get over it"


To not be affiliated with Christianity, or any other religious/political group, wherever that group is prominent. Now it seems to be almost the opposite.


Talking to strangers on the internet


Women having their own bank accounts. My grandmother had to give a permission from her husband


Women getting educations... before they were first to leave education, first to be asked by family to stop. If they did go to uni then they were expected to find a man when there.


Birth control and practicing safe sex... people have finally realised it shouldn't be so taboo.

Relatedly, more flexibility when you begin a family. Gone are the days of kids by 21, now you can start a family in your 30's, 40's or even still in your 20's without people batting much of an eye.


Men/non-binary beings modeling beautiful dresses and skirt/blouse ensembles ont the runway.


Wearing shorts, flip-flops, tank tops, or really anything other than your Sunday best on an airplane.


Dressing like you crawled out of a dumpster to go to work. It seems to be very trendy to look unkempt. Clothes fit badly, dirty white shoes, colours and patterns that don't match. (To me it's still a no-no)


Having a different opinion than someone else.


Staying up late and saying workpants


Wandering around with a hot coffee.


Being really needy and general nerdculture. You used to be beaten up for it, now the coolest kids are usually pretty openly nerdy.


Having babies out of wedlock.


Smoking weed


Respecting women


Women wearing trousers




Buttkinis..butts hanging out everywhere. Butts used to be only used in public to "moon" someone, now we see butts all the time...I still think butts are funny


Smoking in restaurants and department stores and just about everywhere in the 1970s


Choosing not to have children.


Talking about freedom of speech but stifle those who have a different opinion than you, and the mass


One thing that seems to be okay now? Publicly commenting on other peoples weight, because 'it's a health issue'. Y'know back in the day weighing more was looked upon as a symbol of being well off. Being too thin was a sign of illness or poverty. Now it's okay to tell everyone you meet what you think of their bodies, because it's 'unhealthy' to be fat, and everyone seems to have the right to point it out.


Talking about cancer. Years ago, it was literally whispered, if said at all. If you said it, you’d catch it.


Letting men see you without makeup or perfect hair. My mom used to tell me to never let a man see you put on makeup as if it was something to be put on in secret so he would somehow think you were born with mascara on.


NOT smacking/abusing your child, NOT scaring your child into submission.
Too many times do I remember my X and early millennial generations being openly hit and screamed swore at. It was the norm… I remember both my sibling and I on the sofa begging not to get a smack and knowing what was coming. We would compete with friends in later years about who was the hardest, based on how bad we got it.
It’s only now, as an older mum, that I can reflect and recognise on bad practices when teaching my child. Really I’m the one being schooled and realising how fudged up it all was.


holding babies, i read that parents were told not to hold babies for too often because they'll get clingly and wouldnt develop their independence properly


Women at the pub alone


Female political leadership


Living alone. Was considered very weird if not frowned upon just 25 years ago.


Grooming children. Downvote me to oblivion, it won't change the fact that anyone who turns a blind eye to this sort of thing is complicit.


Filming yourself. If it's tiktok dances, opening packages or just eating Gen Z will film it.


Being an independent woman who is heavily tattooed and pierced and also highly respected in my field .


Being pregnant without being married. In 1970 my best friend was not allowed to attend school because she was pregnant. They had to pay to send her away to a “home for unwed mother’s.” Two years later two other classmates graduated pregnant and no one had a fit. Go figure.


Smoking. When I was younger it was considered cool, now it is horribly antisocial, incredibly unhealthy and simply looks stupid


Choosing to not get married and not having children.


Desegregation! BIPOC holding government office, including POTUS, women having successful and fulfilling careers. Couple s living together before marriage, women choosing to not have kids and/or be single.


Being a nerd.




Really being able to tell people about how you feel emotions. For instance, with big things that cause a lot of emotion in others, I do not have any; there are absolutely no feelings. All I actually want is to have headphones over my ears with music playing full blast (yes I know it can cause hearing loss). The same with other's feelings. I have noticed that more people are being honest about being unable to understand other people's feelings fully or at all.


based on what I know, single moms. Now, its accepted, but then... lets just say it wasn't


Everyone is reading the question differently.
Is it 1) what IS socially acceptable now or 2) what IS NOT now


Wearing pajamas and slippers in public as clothes.


Writing books as a kid XP


Shitty f*****g piloting of an automobile ie: not indicating correctly if at all, not letting f*****s merge, sitting in the right lane while not overtaking for hundreds of miles for no good reason, and generally being unaware.


Charging ridiculous amounts for a tiny rental apartment, simply because "the market" demands it. When "the market" is just other property owners raising their rents because they saw another property in town was charging more, so it must be OK for them to charge more as well.


Black people existing

Gay being a disease

Someone presenting as female wearing their hair down


Owning a fart in an elevator


Cosplaying and watching anime. I used to his the fact I watch anime until last year and still hide the fact I cosplay from most but I enjoy it


Ladies wearing white dress gloves
Church attendance
One telephone
More than three channels


not getting vaccinations


People wearing bedroom slippers, shower cap, pajamas, and sometimes even just a bathrobe to go to the store.


Unmarried living together


Being treated for mental illness rather than locked away


To publicly display the word F*CK on flags, bumper stickers and clothing.


LGBTIQAP+ bc heyyy all my fellow peoples!!!


being anti-russian.
People have said to me: "your attitude to russians is terrible!", to which i would try explain that my parents escaped their brutality and that 70% of my family has been murdered by them. I don't think they ever got it; some ignorant and naive fascination with everything russian - which is actually probably even stolen. I wonder if those idiots get it now - prolly not...


Ignoring people you are at a meal with. Now so many people just look at their phone or will stop a conversation to reply to it.


Men using vulgar language in front of women.

In that same vein: Once off-color slang terms now being used as "euphemisms."

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