Because I Said So: All the Things Our Parents Didn't Let Us Enjoy

People tell their banned pop culture tales in six words.
March 1, 2018, 7:55pm
Illustration by Brandon Celi

Growing up, you may have had strict rules about what facets of pop culture you could or couldn’t partake in. You weren't alone. Depending on how conservative the home, the more intense parents could become about what movies, books, and TV shows they let their children become exposed to. Steamy R-rated movies, crude cartoons, and even Judy Blume books were strictly verboten in some households. Hell, for some people’s childhoods, entire television networks were ruled out.


Sometimes the suppression was warranted. Other times the censorship seems almost silly in retrospect (“The Simpsons” were off-limits? Really?). And in some extreme cases, the parents’ paranoia borders on hilarious in hindsight. We asked friends and co-workers about what kinds of things their parents banned when they were kids. Here’s what they said.

"Rugrats because Angelica said 'stupid babies.'" - Lauren, 25

"Slipknot. For reasons that seem obvious." - Wilbert, 29

"Degrassi. Still watched Drake get shot." - Anna, 23

Pretty Woman because it romanticized prostitution.” - Jane, 37

"Spice Girls, but Britney was OK?" - Jean, 25

“Anything with a parental advisory sticker.” - Tom, 41

“Video games will rot your brain." - Shelby, 26

“No watching The Osbournes TV show.” - Cristina, 27

The Simpsons. Bart’s a bad influence.” - Mike, 36

“Oliver Stone’s The Doors in theaters.” - Howie, 40

Married with Children. I feel old.” - Elle, 26

Platoon and other Vietnam war movies.” - Megan, 41

“The Golden Girls: too much sex!” - Jess, 38

Power Rangers. Too violent. Go figure.” - Sam, 27

“Beck’s Odelay because of explicit lyrics” - Courtney, 39

Rugrats was banned; encouraged rebel behavior.” - Eileen, 32

“Literally nothing. Way too little supervision.” - Carrie, 28

Titanic because of all the corpses.” - Charlie, 27

“MTV wasn’t permitted in my house.” - Shannon, 39

“Half of Cartoon Network was out.” - Jorie, 23

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off wasn’t allowed.” - Maggie, 34

“Pokémon, Harry Potter, music with drums.” - Kenzie, 23

"Barney. My mom had 'creative differences.'” - Beckett, 25 (Editor's note: Moms know.)


“The Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill.” - Noah, 38

Charlie's Angels: too much sex, violence.” - Ben, 45

“Judy Blume’s book about getting periods.” - Mary, 36

The Simpsons. Madonna. Anything rated R!” - Jessica, 36

“Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.” - Melanie, 40

You Can’t Do That on Television.” - Maayan, 37

Roseanne, Ren and Stimpy, Judy Blume.” - Lola, 33

“R rated movies + Cheers + Reservoir Dogs.” - Kelly, 33

“Definitely MTV, specifically Beavis and Butthead.” - Melinda, 32

“No Netflix comedy specials. Foul language!" - Marcus, 21

Dirty Dancing. I watched it anyway!” - Mary, 36

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