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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.

So now all I need to do is find an old draft, copy edit it, reformat it, find a ten-year-old backup drive of notes and graphics, Photoshop those, then reflect on the outrageous words I remember being funny in the 2000s but look like hate crimes today.
Seanbaby on re-uploading an article from ten years earlier (about fake martial artists).

This is the social equivalent to Zeerust.


Many works set in the future presume that people in the future will have the same social mores and values as they do in the present, excepting a few superficial changes in order to facilitate the plot, demonstrate the foreignness/"futureness" of the setting, or satisfy Author Appeal. The assumption is that our future will be essentially the same as our present — bigger, smaller, sleeker, faster or more automated, but still recognizable as our world.

For writers, it's often a Necessary Weasel: it's a lot easier to observe the society you have than to predict which way it's going to go. Consequently the work is likely to be better written and better received than a work which assumes the future will be foreign and puts in the appropriate amount of alien world-building. After all, who in 2420 will be reading this anyway? (Presumably, the same sort of people who read books from 1620 now...)


Unfortunately, when authors do get the future wrong, it shows.

Even if the technology is predicted perfectly, modern readers may lose Willing Suspension of Disbelief when reading a work written in The '50s, set in the present day, and assuming the attitudes of the present day will be exactly like those of the Fifties. They may even be severely bothered if a work from the Fifties assumes that attitudes in the far future will be just like those in the Fifties. (Even if the author had no way of knowing about The Beatles, even if it is the far future, it just seems wrong to read that a lover of popular music in the future goes primarily for jazz quartets or big bands, with not an electric guitar or synthesizer to be seen even though the entire house runs on electricity right down to the windows and Muzak.) note  Sometimes the author will correctly predict some of the effects of a new technology, but completely miss others; many authors correctly foresaw the effect of automobiles on working habits and city design, but not one person foresaw the effect that access to automobiles would have on teen sexual activity.


The most disturbing instances from our future point of view are those that miss more important social changes. To continue the '50s example, there are plenty of examples that failed to expect the civil rights movement. The schools may be futuristic and electronic, but they're still segregated. note  The other two big changes that older works miss are greater gender equality (even on the space colonies, women Stay in the Kitchen) and the end of the Cold War (still wrangling with the Commies in the 22nd Century).

This effect increases with the distance between when the work is written and the present day. The necessary distance to invoke this decreases as time passes, so far anyhow — technology speeds communication up, and communication speeds change. For instance, if a film has been in production for long enough, it may fall under this trope the day it's released.

This will no doubt apply to modern works set 20 Minutes into the Future as well. Unfortunately, we won't know how until the social changes have at least started.

The inverse of this, when the social mores of the present are presumed to apply in the past, is Politically Correct History.

Related to Values Dissonance, Fair for Its Day, Science Marches On, Technology Marches On, Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, and The Great Politics Mess-Up. Eternal Prohibition, Once Acceptable Targets, and Everybody Smokes are specific cases.

Note: Examples require a 20-year waiting period before they can be added.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Area 88, originally a 1979 manga, then a mid 80s OAV, and finally a 2004 TV series, which are all clearly set in the year the original manga was made (or at least, that is when the story begins). The premise has dated and is completely implausible now. The information age, the fall of Communism, the end of the Cold War, and the current political climate in general, have made the idea of a small Middle Eastern country like Asran(Aslan) refusing to export its oil for profit very improbable. There are now more ways than ever for foreign capitalists (or countries) to manipulate a small North African country and get their heads of state to see things a different way. A protracted war would be completely unnecessary. Also, the idea of the Foreign Legion as a place for people to disappear, no questions asked, was dated even when the story was originally written. Today, they are not only more selective and do background checks, but you also have to prove your competency before the contract is even offered. So the idea of tricking a drunk person into signing up for the FL is completely ludicrous. Also, today, it wouldn't take much effort for Ryoko to immediately find out why Shin vanished (also, Shin could easily contact her by e-mail), thus exposing Kanzaki's sinister schemes. Finally, the idea of a mercenary air force being a quicker and less expensive alternative to training and maintaining one's own air force is no longer that relevant since air to air combat is now borderline obsolete. Besides, drone aircraft are even cheaper than merc pilots and a country could train its own operators quite inexpensively. Today, the war would be fought within the country, on the ground, and would look to outsiders as just another grassroots terrorist insurgency movement.

    Comic Books 
  • Camelot 3000: Despite taking place in the year 3000 - a millennium from the time this comic was written - the Soviet Union and South Africa's Apartheid are still in effect, despite both being dismantled by modern times. It also has Sir Tristan's angsting about being reincarnated as a woman, even though her reborn lover Isolde seems quite content to contemplate a lesbian relationship, and sex reassignment surgery is bound to be as routine as a tummy-tuck by that era if Tristan is really not happy.
  • Armageddon 2001: In Action Comics Annual #3, President Superman is attempting to negotiate peace in Northern Ireland in 2001 but the parties aren't cooperating with either him or each other. In reality, the Troubles are seen as having ended with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, something which was unforeseeable in 1991.
  • V for Vendetta was first published in the 80s and depicted a dystopian future in which homosexuality was outlawed and most of Britain's LGBT people were persecuted in death camps. This kind of thing still felt plausible in the 2000s when the film adaptation was made, but in The New '10s, acceptance for LGBT people got a massive amount of traction - making it come across as rather fantastical from a modern perspective that the public would accept such a thing.
  • Y: The Last Man:
    • After the Gendercide, the Secretary of the Interior (seventh in line) becomes the president because she's the highest-ranking woman in government. This is in line with the real-life president of the day's, George W. Bush's cabinet in 2002 when the series started. The series follows a real-life calendar and wraps up several years later. However in 2005, Bush appointed Condoleezza Rice to Secretary of State, which is third in line for succession which was then the highest rank a woman had ever been.note  By the time the series ended, Nancy Pelosi was second in line as Speaker of the House and she remained the highest-ranking woman until the election of Kamala Harris as Vice President in 2020. Outside of America, Angela Merkel became Chancellor of Germany in 2005, which means as of today the second and fourth biggest economies in the world would have veteran female leaders who know the ropes and could lead without the issues the presented in the series.
    • Also in the series Israel was depicted becoming the world's superpower after the plague, because at the time there was no other country with a big military that allowed women to serve in active combat, but now the much more populous countries like China, India, the UK, the US, and Germany allow for women to serve in active combat or at least having greater participations in their militaries. If the Gendercide happens today, then the world powers would likely be a Harris/Merkel-led Western coalition by economic might or India and China by sheer military numbers, and while Israel would certainly becomes a major military power in the Middle East they would also face fierce competition from newly formed Kurdish states whose armed forces also permit for women to serve in active combat (including a few Amazon Brigades such as the Women's Protection Units).

    Fan Works 
  • Mai-Hime: Future is set in 2028, so the teen protagonists would have been born in the early 2010s, still in the future when the story was started. It predicts that around this time, there would be a widespread trend for Japanese parents to give their children Western names (extending to roughly half the teen characters in the story). We're now past the deadline and this hasn't happened.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future Part II assumed that Japan Takes Over the World, that there would be a Japanese fax machine in every room of every house, and that every corporation would be run from Japan. All of this was from a common belief during the 1980s that Japan's superior electronics were going to allow it to become a global superpower. While Japan is a major economic driving force in The New '10s, nothing like what Part II predicted came to pass. Also, another Asian country is seen as the challenge now. Fax machines aren't doing all that well either.
  • This video from 1966, which imagines what life would be like in 1999, manages to predict home computers, email, and what is effectively internet shopping, but still assumes that the average woman will be paying for goods with her husband's money.
  • The 2005 version of The War of the Worlds has this in the very first spoken line of dialogue. H.G. Wells's original novel, which was published in 1898, began with the words, "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own." In 1898, it was likely most people would agree with that statement. In the 2005 film, wanting to tie in the film with the book, the writers had the narrator say the same line, only updated: "No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century, that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own." Even a rudimentary Google search will show just how many people actually do believe just that. Indeed, humans have been looking for alien intelligences since the 1970s ourselves. Many believe they're already here.
  • In-universe example: The professors in A Song Is Born have been so cloistered in their conservatory making their history of music that they've completely missed the modern music that has been evolving outside.
  • There was a trend in action films between the 1970s and early 1990s (particularly in the late 80s) in which the rising crime rates of the era would inevitably lead by the end of the century to a near-collapse of civilization... unless a hard-boiled copper or a Vigilante Man could bring some order. The fact that by the late 90s crime rates decreased (to historical lows in some places), and (for added irony) alongside a softer stance on crime in the mid-90s makes modern audiences ponder in hindsight if the writers either mocked or were part of the moral panic of the era.
    • In Predator 2, it was predicted that by 1997 Los Angeles would decay into a dystopian Crapsack World with drug gangs in open war with the police and themselves, using military-grade hardware and body counts seemingly in the thousands. The police themselves show elements of being an occupying force in their own city and Harrigan himself refers to his beat as "the war." Based on the high crime rates of L.A. in the late 1980s and early 1990s, this didn't seem too far-fetched circa 1990, but fast forward to the second decade of the 21st Century and we see that Los Angeles, while still not a utopia, has far lower crime rates than it did at the time the film was made. Ironically, it was in the next year that they started to fall.
    • See also the opening of Demolition Man, which shows about 10% of the city on fire (including the Hollywood sign), gangs with anti-aircraft weapons and police riding military grade Humvees... in 1996 (just three years after the film's release, making it even more ridiculous than most of them). This is mostly to crank up the contrast with the 2032 world, where crime is so low that the police have basically forgotten what it is.
    • Escape from New York, in 1981, predicted that by 1997 crime rates would have risen to such catastrophic levels that Manhattan Island would be turned into a penal colony for containing all the convicts. While the high crime rates of the 1970s-80s made it look more plausible then, the fact they started falling just ten years on left it looking silly when the actual 1997 rolled around.
  • The Warriors (1979), based on a book from the mid-1960s, is supposed to take place "sometime in the future" (as the opening of Walter Hill's "director's cut" makes clear), but even leaving aside the film's Totally Radical fashions, hairstyles, and slang, there are a number of other elements that now strike us as Zeerusty. Most prominent is Cyrus's claim that a citywide gang could control everything and thwart the NYPD... when, just a few years after this film's release, the LAPD began to employ military technology in their fight against street gangs. There's also the failure of any character to suspect that a woman sitting alone on a park bench very late at night might be a plainclothes police officer.note 
  • There's a weird example of this in the movie adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, where Hank Rearden is blackmailed into signing away the rights to Rearden Metal because government officials have incriminating evidence of his extramarital affair with Dagny Taggart, a subplot that comes straight from the novel. Thing is, in 1957 when the book was published, such an affair would've been considered a pretty big deal and might've irreparably damaged both his and Taggart's reputation. But since the movie places the story in 2016, the idea that such a thing would cause anything but a minor scandal—let alone convince Rearden to sign away his life's work, which he swore he would never do—just comes across as bizarre.
    • Even more bizarre when you consider author of the book Ayn Rand's long extramarital affair with Nathaniel Branden, which actually started around the same year the book came out (although they kept it secret from everyone but their respective spouses, ironically).
    • Most of the fundamental economic philosophy espoused in the movie has gone from a potentially viable alternative to partially socialized economies to completely discredited empirically in the years since the book was written, too, and it shows. Most jarringly for viewers even slightly familiar with corporate practices is the idea that existing, successful companies would fail due to what amounts to one of the venture capitalists that funded the start-up bowing out. Not only does that not happen, but buying into companies early and cashing out once they've succeeded is how venture capitalists make their money; what happened to Rearden is the standard procedure for people in his position and is largely thought to benefit the capitalist more than anyone else.
  • Forbidden Planet:
    • The film opens with a monologue describing how by the twenty-first century men and women are reaching out into space, implying a certain degree of equality... and the first thing we cut to is a massive space expedition crew made up of white American men.
    • Many of said men also display a very clear 1950s attitude when interacting with Alta, the one female character in the movie. One scene involves her being told to "cover herself" (since up until that point she was wearing skimpy outfits and getting the crew sexually aroused), and has Robby The Robot make her a new dress... since just wearing a pair of pants is unthinkable.
  • George Pal's 1955 film Conquest of Space made some interesting technological predictions, including a concept for a spaceship with principles vaguely reminiscent of the space shuttle. There is even a bit of Fair for Its Day in that there is some racial equality so far as the one Japanese crew member being treated with respect by the otherwise white cast. What the film got wrong was assuming the U.S. space program would still be run by the military.note  Also women Stay in the Kitchen back on Earth while the men are the ones who get to go into space. In other words, according to this film, female astronauts don't exist, which may be especially jarring to a modern viewer in light of a certain more recent critically acclaimed film centered around a female astronaut. In addition, the Captain of the ship comes to think of the mission as sacrilegious, with Mankind's presence in God's perfect heavens being an insult to the almighty. This was actually a real movement that flourished very briefly when the idea of space travel was first mooted as a serious possibility. By the time the movie came out the philosophy was rapidly dying out, and the launch of Sputnik a couple of years later washed the remnants away completely. To modern audiences it just looks like a delusional symptom of the man going insane.
  • The infamous b-movie Doomsday Machine, where the female crew members are only added in as a last resort once it becomes clear the Earth is doomed, and the remaining male crew members are absolutely baffled by the idea of women being capable astronauts. Though the bemused misogyny doesn't kick in until later: the initial shock was over half their team getting removed at the last moment and the mission suddenly becoming co-ed.
  • Austin Powers:
    • Played for laughs in the first film, where the recently-defrosted Dr. Evil's proposed evil schemes (making a hole in the ozone layer and destroying Prince Charles and Lady Diana's marriage) are things that have already happened by the time of the film (1997). Frustrated, he decides to just fall back on the classic "Hijack nuclear weapons and hold the world for hostage" plan.
    • Another in-universe example, also played for laughs, comes when Doctor Evil plots with his henchmen for holding the world at ransom, where he will then million dollars! His henchman Number 2 points out that a million dollars isn't what it used to be, and that their organization's legitimate front company makes almost twenty billion in annual profits alone. Doctor Evil then decides to make it a more exorbitant for the era one hundred billion dollars.
    • Inverted in the sequel, wherein Dr. Evil, back in The 60's, again demands $100bn, only to be met with derisive laughter, since such a vast sum simply didn't exist in that era.
    • Austin's having casual sex with Alotta Fagina worries Vanessa as well, who asks if he used a condom. He scoffs at that, replying that only sailors use them, because they're so promiscuous. She tells him he really should, as while his attitude remains that of the carefree late 60's hedonist, since the rise of HIV/AIDS unprotected sex is far more of a concern.
  • A source of humor in The Final Girls comes from the differences between the main characters and the 80s campers they find inside the movie. Particularly, the treatment of LGBT people (Chris, who was raised by a gay couple gets easily mad at one of the campers making homophobic comments) and technology (Vicki trying to explain to another camper how smartphones work).
  • The Stepford Wives more blatantly so than the book it was adapted from. It was made right in the middle of the 70s during Second Wave Feminism and the divorce revolution, but set 20 Minutes into the Future (where technology allows the men of Stepford to create realistic robots). The idea that men raised in conservative families could replace their liberated feminist wives with domestic robots seemed far more plausible and horrific back then. The numerous couples with problems stay together rather than divorce because the common belief at the time was that it was better to stay in a loveless marriage than subject the children to an unpleasant divorce. That attitude had given way to more liberal views by the end of the 70s, so when the 2004 remake came along the premise was played for comedy rather than horror.
  • In The Kid (2000), part of the movie's drama involves Rusty finding it odd that Russ (his adult self) is 40 and unmarried. This makes the film feel rather dated knowing an increasing number of people have since been choosing to remain single into adulthood.

  • The Lord of Opium: In the future, nations between Mexico and the US export drugs to other countries in exchange for patrolling the border between the two nations. One of the nations of the Dope Confederacy exports marijuana in the 22nd century. Seeing that the book came out in 2013, it's odd that a nation would need to make marijuana to export illegally, seeing that many nations at the time of the time of publication and at the time this entry is being written (April 2015) are relaxing marijuana laws or even outright legalizing it. Could be justified that it sells to a few holdout nations, or progress was reversed.
  • It's common in a lot of pre-1970s stories dealing with space exploration that the expedition crews are often all male and predominantly if not entirely white and American.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey was pretty hilarious in this regard; along with the Soviet Union lasting well into the 2000s, Apartheid in South Africa continued into the 2030s, when it ended in a revolution that kicked the white ruling class out. Apartheid-related predictions were often a bit off in this way, due mostly to outsiders imagining some sort of centuries-long, deep-seated race war, whereas it was a recent and quickly dated policy which was mostly prolonged because it somehow wound up as a part of Cold War politics. As soon as the policy was put up to a vote, it was rejected by overwhelming numbers.
  • Modern readers of Walter Miller's post-apocalyptic classic A Canticle for Leibowitz may find some of the future Catholic dogmas to be a bit...antiquated. This is due to the novel being written just a few years before Vatican II, and thus including none of its changes.
  • The Robert A. Heinlein novel Podkayne of Mars, set in the distant space-faring future, features a main character who would like to become the first ever female spaceship captain. The first instance of a woman (Eileen Collins) captaining a spaceship occurred in July 1999. The fact that Podkayne will face discrimination on account of her sex is clearly labelled unfair. Heinlein makes the same point in 'Rolling Stones' in which Hazel Stone is passed over for promotion on account of her sex.
    • And yet in Starship Troopers (written just prior to Podkayne of Mars) commanding starships is exclusively a female job. (It's claimed in-universe that women are better-suited for the job in terms of reflexes, stamina, and psychological makeup.) Heinlein tended to be all over the map on gender equality.
    • All of Heinlein's work is prone to this. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, for instance, despite showcasing many cultural differences in the lunar society (not the least of which is ubiquitous polyamory) portrays gender issues much as a 1950s writer would be expected to think of a post-feminist world: touching women without their permission is a major societal taboo... but it is up to the woman's male friends or relatives to protect her, and women are still generally considered unintelligent (or at least irrational or illogical) and unfit for many positions. The main reason the culture's attitudes toward women have changed at all is that women are a substantial minority on Luna. The rival Earth society, where the sexes are still 50/50 in numbers, shows female nurses giggling at having their rears pinched, rather than filing sexual harassment lawsuits.
    • The Puppet Masters was published in 1951 and set in 2007. Although the heroine is just as tough and capable as the male lead (sometimes more so), the moment gender roles or romantic relationships come up she turns, hilariously, into June Cleaver.
    • Heinlein's short story —All You Zombies— features a sex-segregated future in which astronauts and space pilots are always male, and the spaceship stewardess/prostitutes in skimpy outfits are all female. Written not long after WWII, the story fails to anticipate that the horrifying events of that war would lead to very strict legislation about medical procedures and informed consent. His central character is placed under general anesthesia — and wakes to be informed, after the fact, that they have been subjected without consent to sex (not gender) reassignment surgery. In our world such a character would not be relegated to a hand-to-mouth living writing confession stories, because they would sue the hospital and doctor into bankruptcy.
    • Heinlein often averted this trope as well. He frequently cast non-whites and people of mixed-race as protagonists in his works despite writing before the American Civil Rights era. Races were equal in his world, while the sexes tended to be different but enjoyed de facto legal equality. Readers of his era were not used to seeing a mixed-race or non-white protagonist. In his most famous work, Starship Troopers, the main character is Filipino, with most major characters also being non-American, and usually non-white. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress continues this, with Manny being mixed race, and part of a polygamous mixed race marriage, which gets him thrown into jail when visiting the South. Further, Podkayne of Mars has Podkayne see only her sex as an issue with becoming a captain. The fact she's black doesn't rate a concern.
    • Zigzagged in his teen novel Tunnel in the Sky. On the one hand, women make up their own (separate) military units and make up half the survival-course students in the story; on the other, sexual mores are such that a bunch of teenagers, isolated from their parents and all forms of authority, take time to stage their own marriage ceremonies in the middle of a hostile wilderness before daring to fool around. When the protagonist gets home, his parents' attitude is that of people who fully expect him to let them pick his friends for him. Oh, and when his military sister opts to get married, she has to leave the corps.
    • In Space Cadet, the Patrol, which the main characters belong to, is exclusively male.
    • All of Heinlein's juveniles, despite being set in some indeterminate future, read like The '50s with better technology. One obvious example is the main character in Have Spacesuit Will Travel. On the one hand, his life ambition is to become an aerospace engineer. On the other, he's a recent high school graduate who has a summer job as a soda jerk at the local pharmacy.
    • Stranger in a Strange Land: Although far from a free love utopia, open relationships are considerably more acceptable today than they were in Heinlein's time, as well as homosexuality. Women are also generally not secretaries and "girls" who enjoy being patronized.
    • Short story Delilah And The Space Rigger has the consternation caused by the first woman working in a space station, but one of the main characters explains it's necessary for women to be part of space exploration. When the narrator says the woman should listen to what the engineer tells her because he is good at his job, she replies "I know. I trained him."
    • Barry Malzberg opined that "Heinlein's problem was that he understood perfectly how American society worked in 1945."
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • The Caves of Steel: The robot series does a pretty good job of portraying future Earth's culture realistically, but there are some hints that give away its age.
      • Elijah's son, Bentley, uses language so stereotypical of The '50s that it may sound closer to parody to modern readers.
      • Corporal punishment for reprimanding children is considered a routine occurrence thousands of years in the future. The sequel, The Naked Sun, even has a lengthy discussion on how difficult but necessary it is programming a Three Laws-Compliant robot to understand why spanking a child performs a greater good for their future development than failing to administer any punishment.
      • The role of women on Earth is also extremely vague. Because resource-starved Earth cannot afford amenities, most people live in tiny apartments which do not have kitchens, eat in communal cafeterias, and have small families due to Population Control. These factors make the role of a Housewife largely redundant, yet Detective Baley interacts with virtually no women besides his wife, making law enforcement and government as male-dominated as they were in the real-world 1950's. The Robots of Dawn does introduce a female official and mentions policewomen, stating that the novels merely occur at a time women seldom choose these career paths.
      • Spacer women manage to discover careers in sciences and politics as easily as the men do, because of their post-scarcity societies and the fact that robot servants handle all domestic tasks, including raising children. Thus, Spacer women would have nothing to do with themselves if they didn't have careers. That said, the social culture of Spacer men and women don't appear integrated because Detective Baley encounters so few. In The Robots of Dawn, Dr. Fastolfe has a wife, she's dismissed during the events of the novel. His daughter is also a roboticist like him, but as with most Spacer scientists, she is a borderline misanthrope.
    • The Complete Adventures of Lucky Starr: Despite being set far enough in the future to have Casual Interplanetary Travel, women are barely featured in the series (four of the books have no women at all) and certainly none are in positions of power.
    • Foundation: The scope of this series is epic, but The Foundation Trilogy uses gender roles practically identical to 1950s United States. When Dr Asimov revisited the series decades later, he included women more prominently, especially in the form of Mayor Harla Branno, his first female mayor. She is an Iron Lady ruler for Terminus and the Foundation, introduced in Foundation's Edge (1982), and wants to conquer the galaxy centuries earlier than the Seldon Plan expects. However, Dr Asimov is clearly more comfortable writing male characters, despite continuing to add badass females like Dors Venabili and Bliss.
    • "Feminine Intuition": The designers of a subtly feminine-looking robot believe that everyone will assume it is mentally inferior to other robots. One character explicitly states that if there's anything the average person believes, it's that women are less intelligent than men. Upon saying this, he nervously glances around (Dr Susan Calvin having recently retired). At the end, after Dr Calvin comes back to save the day, the lesson is that men dismiss women's equal (if not superior) intelligence as mere "intuition".
    • "Little Lost Robot": Dr Calvin is questioning the last person to see the titular robot, and they are reluctant to repeat their exact words in front of a lady. Dr Calvin insists on precision, and the witness's superior offers to be the visual target of the Cluster F-Bomb repetition. A Narrative Profanity Filter is provided for the audience, but the superior is incensed at the language. Dr Calvin, to her credit, merely states that she knows what most of those words mean and suspects that the others are equally derogatory. In today's society, cursing out a random woman is much less offensive than cursing out your superior.
    • "Mother Earth": In-Universe, the Pacific Project used biology to prove that the Outer Worlds will each develop different quirks. The assumption is that developing these quirks would make them more accepting of deviations from the norm, and racism would no longer exist. The next story in this setting is The Caves of Steel, where the Outer Worlds have become even more isolationist and xenophobic.
    • "Runaround": In-Universe, we see the robots from the first Sunside Mercury Mining expedition, who call all humans "Master". In contrast, Donovan and Powell are there fifty years later, and their robot, SPD 13, just calls them "boss".
    • "The Ugly Little Boy": The lack of any ethics, or any requirement for ethical approval, is shocking—especially given that ethical treatment of research subjects was a very hot topic (due to the disclosures of Nazi experimentation on concentration camp victims just 13 years before the story was written). It's not certain that a Neanderthal would be considered any more of a person than a chimpanzee is, which was probably Dr Asimov's point. Outside of Ms Fellowes and Dr Hoskins, Timmie is known as "ape-boy" rather than a person.
    • Bordering on Technology Marches On, in The '50s Asimov wrote a few stories in which future schools would teach children how to use punch cards, but not reading and writing. As you may have noticed, punch cards became obsolete before literacy did.
  • Cocoon, a short story by Keith Laumer, has everyone living in virtual reality tanks a couple hundred years in the future. The husband "goes" to a virtual office and does virtual paperwork, while the wife sits at "home", does virtual housework and watches virtual soap operas all day. When the husband comes "home", he complains because the wife hasn't gotten around to punching the selector buttons for the evening nutripaste meal yet.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has the people in the Golgafrincham B-Ark — the joke being that all the jobs they do are useless, 'pointless' jobs — which have at least partially dated. While middle-management types and meddling marketers remain problems, people don't really look down on hairdressers as being 'pointless' any more (in the 1970s it was just beginning to become socially acceptable for a man to go to a hairdresser's instead of a barber's, but it was still seen as very weird — nowadays men go to a hairdresser's as default, and viewing a service mostly of interest to women as pointless is seen as a bit misogynistic). Then there's the 'telephone sanitisers', who have ceased to exist along with the public telephones they service.
  • H. P. Lovecraft (a teetotaler) wrote one non-supernatural short story, "Old Bugs", about a young man who yields to temptation and goes to a speakeasy, but is saved from the evils of alcohol by a drunkard who won't stand for the youth making his own mistakes. Written during prohibition, it's set in the 1950s ... and booze is still mentioned to be illegal on the national level.
  • Ray Bradbury:
    • "The Wilderness": A 1952 Short Story (later incorporated into The Martian Chronicles) that revolves around women sitting around being terrified about relocating (in this case, moving to Mars) just to get married (yet speaking as if they have to go), talking about being "old maids" if they don't go, and complaining about how "the men" make all their decisions for them... in 2003.
    • "Way In The Middle Of The Air": A story focused on Samuel Teece, a white Southerner whose racist views of the local "niggers" color the description of the way they pooled their resources and bought rockets in secret to escape the racist American south. In describing the region, Teece notes that the poll tax is gone and "More and more states passin' anti-lynchin' bills." The supposed date is 2003.note 
    • "The Other Foot": Bradbury assumes segregation in America will continue well into the future, and become so extreme that black people will eventually colonize Mars on their own. The all-black colony ends up in a very good position to retaliate against their former oppressors (and they almost go through with it, too) yet ultimately both sides are able to reconcile their differences and live together in peace. For added irony, the Civil Rights Movement started in the 1950's, just after this was written.
    • Also a lot of Bradbury's old "rocket exploration"-type stories (aside from the dated science), tended to have the crew of explorers be men. At the time the idea of female astronauts might have seemed a bit of a stretch.
    • "The Rocket Man": The woman has to wait months on end for her husband's return, years after she's come to think of herself as a widow, rather than contemplate (horrors!) simply divorcing the man who abandons her over and over.
  • In Edmond Hamilton's The Sargasso Of Space, it is evidently assumed that crewing space ships would be a job primarily reserved for men, much like sailing was when the story was written.
  • The book Steampunk Prime has a number of late 19th and early 20th century science fiction stories that contain examples of this. "In the Deep of Time" involves a man who is cryonically revived in an advanced future... where woman STILL are expected to be subordinate to men.
  • In Omnivore, most of the melodrama pivots on Aquilon being torn between her feelings for Cal and Veg, her colleagues on a far-future space mission. It seems strange to modern readers that she's too afraid of looking like a slut to become sexually involved with either man. Maybe that's how scifi readers felt about things in 1968, but now it just seems like prudish Wangst.
  • The fourth book of The Helmsman Saga has Wilf Brim amazed at a woman from another culture having a completely shaved pubic area, something he states he never encountered earlier. When the book was written in 1991, that might have been unusual. When it was rewritten 20 years later... well, the scene was cut down considerably.
  • Men, Martians and Machines. According to Sarge all doctors aboard spaceships are black because "for reasons not understood, no Negro had ever suffered space sickness." Although this portrayal is Fair for Its Day in that a black person in a position of authority in a white-dominated society was remarkable in itself, it does make the reader wonder: why aren't spaceship crews entirely black, if that's the case?
    • The idea is that they have a multi-racial crew because different races are good at different things. White Terrestrials are good at engines, Black Terrestrials don't suffer space sickness, Martians can work in low pressure environments and concentrate on multiple tasks simultaneously, the android Jay Score can handle extreme conditions. The theme of the book is that by working together, all these diverse races can handle any crisis. Consider that this book was published in 1955 when Humans Are White was the more common trope. Where it still falls into this trope is that the crew is entirely male.
  • In Michael Crichton's Rising Sun, the Japan Takes Over the World narrative is played out on steroids. Crichton envisions a Japanese culture so ruthless and so powerful that they get away with murder. This was 1992, shortly before (or more accurately during) the Japanese economy's downfall, and the myth of the Japanese's business superiority to America was shattered.
  • One of Philip K. Dick's lesser known short stories is a piece called Some Kinds of Life, which is about humanity's constant tendency to find reasons to go to war. The whole thing is told from the point of view of a housewife in a future society as members of her family are drafted into military service for various wars in different parts of the Solar System and end up being killed in action. The story ends with the wife receiving a draft notice of her own and being genuinely shocked by the notion that the army would become desperate enough to start recruiting women (they do this after resorting to recruiting boys under the regulation age). This would probably have made sense when it was written, as it was likely at a point when the army was still very male-exclusive and women were only permitted in very specific fields. However, it may seem a bit jarring to a modern reader living in a world where it is not so unusual for women to serve in the military with just as much combat training as their male comrades.
  • Not even The Bible is immune to this trope. Some end-of-the-world prophecies in it run along the lines of: "Two women will be grinding corn together. And one will be taken up to heaven, the other one not."
    • This could be explained in part as being the use of imagery which would have been familiar to audiences in that setting, common in prophecy as well as in things like the parables of Jesus. A lot of Biblical allusions and metaphors are like this, which is why they often need explanation to modern audiences. (It is also true that some societies are still of the primitive agrarian type for whom such sayings are current reality. So your mileage may vary on how "current" or likely they are.)
    • Some have suggested that "grinding corn" was actually one euphemism for...something else. If true, this is actually progressive, saying a lesbian would get to heaven.
  • Published in 1959, Alas, Babylon portrays breastfeeding and home canning as relics which have all but disappeared prior to the nuclear strike depicted in the book, but which must be reluctantly revived in the conditions prevailing afterward. Both practices have made a strong comeback since the 1950's.
    Helen: What happens to babies?
    Doctor: Evaporated or condensed canned milk... while it lasts. After that, it's mother's milk.
    Helen: That will be old-fashioned, won't it?
  • A. E. van Vogt's short story The Weapon Shop, published in 1942, is seemingly set in a future where humanity has begun colonizing other planets and one government has almost absolute authority over everything. Said political body is made up of men outside of the ruling Empress. Meanwhile, the "Weapon Shop" itself is a front for a resistance movement protecting people's rights, but when the protagonist is brought to a special meeting place where workers are being helped the story describes him seeing "thousands of men". Though it refers to female secretaries, the writer evidently never considered the possibility of women getting involved with the workforce.
  • The Venus Prime series, published in the early aughts but written in the 80's (and based on older Arthur C. Clarke short stories) have several examples:
    • In the first book, one of the suspects in the Star Queen sabotage, Sondra Sylvester, has a big secret that she doesn't want anyone to find out... she's living with another woman. While this might have been scandalous in the 80's, it's not so controversial nowadays.
    • The plot of the third book relies heavily on the assumption that the Soviet Union is still around in the 22nd century, and has enough clout that the Council of Worlds (a successor to the UN) granted it and China their own colony on Mars to spread communism. The Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991. The last book, written after the Soviet Union's demise, retroactively places a lampshade on this, claiming that in recent years, there have been Russians pining for a return to communism, and the Mars colony was an attempt to siphon those agitators away from Mother Russia.
  • In Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series, the titular planet is a Feudal Future Lost Colony, while the rest of humanity has spread out into what is referred to as "The Terran Empire". While this is thousands of years in the future, the Terran Empire's social values are pretty blatantly those of 1960's - 1980's America. This includes women taking their husband's full names, and being expected to abandon certain careers if they marry. Homosexuals are still mostly closeted. The Darkovans are meant to provide a social contrast, being more regressive with their essentially Medieval treatment of women, while having somewhat greater tolerance for, but not full acceptance of, homosexuality than the Terrans. Neither society looks especially progressive in any respect to readers after the 1990's though.
  • Orson Scott Card has this very blatantly in his Ender series, possibly due to Author Appeal. Written in the 80's, the multi-planetary society of the last three books is extremely religious considering 3,000 years have passed since modern day. Planets are weirdly segregated by nationality, despite those having long lost any real meaning, and they have "licenses" for official religions, even those based on modern secular societies. The protagonists and their companions regularly venture into theology, which is mostly no longer true for a society only 30 years after the books.
    • This is particularly bad in Speaker for the Dead and its sequel, Xenocide, where a lot of the plot points are being derived from Card's assumption that Brazilian society (the basis for the location of the book) would remain as conservative and Catholic as it was when he traveled there for his missionary mission.
  • Averting this is specifically one of the reasons why A Clockwork Orange uses a new brand of slang created from scratch coupled with an alien, otherworldly future with very different values (to begin with: bars that instead of booze serve milk laced with narcotics) — if Anthony Burgess's rendition of 1962's 20 Minutes into the Future were based on what was actually going on in 1962, the book and its film would have aged pretty poorly.
  • H. Beam Piper:
    • "Omnilingual": Written on the 1950s and set in the 1990s, where a multinational mission to Mars has a gender-equal crew and a female protagonist who makes an important discovery. All these people have a cocktail hour after work finishes for the day.
    • In Little Fuzzy and sequels, the cocktail hour is the setting for a great deal of exposition.
    • Not as much of a straight example in the new Twenties, where classic cocktails are coming back into fashion.
    • In some cultures, drinks after work (usually just before knocking off for the weekend) never went away.
  • The Demolished Man: Despite the characters' stated disconnect from the 20th century, the book is pretty emblematic of the time it was written in respect to gender roles, although Ms. Wyg&note  clearly has an active sex life which is only complained about when she distracts undercover cops. On the other hand, there is a scene where a black applicant is accepted into the Esper's Guild on account of his latent talent, which suggests that at least their group is meritocratic. Also, the president of the Guild is Asian.
  • Lampshaded at the end of the 1952 novel Limbo by Bernard Wolfe. His novel is set in a fictional post-WWIII 1990s that maintains racial segregation, sexual discrimination, and Cold War rivalries in a world of automated factories, rocket planes and nuclear-powered artificial limbs.
    Anybody who "paints a picture" of some coming year is kidding — he's only fancying up something in the present or past, not blueprinting the future. All such writing is essentially satiric (today-centered), not utopic (tomorrow-centered). This book, then, is a rather bilious rib on 1950 — on what 1950 might have been like if it had been allowed to fulfill itself, if it had gone on being 1950, only more and more so, for four more decades. But no year ever fulfills itself: the cowpath of History is littered with the corpses of years, their silly throats slit from ear to ear by the improbable.
  • An in-universe example in the short story "Tomorrow Town": the 1970s protagonist is sent to investigate a murder within a utopian bubble-society. He notices the prevalence of somewhat old-fashioned gender roles, and figures it is due to the society being founded by a Golden Age science fiction writer who imposed his own 1950s social mores on his supposedly futuristic society.
  • In Frank Herbert's Dune (published 1965), the fact society has gone back to a kind of space feudalism sort of explains why Leto can't have more than one wife (thus preventing him from marrying the woman he actually loves, Jessica). However, when the powerful, feared, all-female psychic order of the Bene Gesserit exists, it really doesn't explain why teenage Paul the protagonist is brought into Leto's confidences, while Jessica—an adult, a highly skilled very badass Bene Gesserit, someone Leto trusts and loves completely and should have no reason to think can't handle the mess they're about to be in—is sidelined. Paul, mind you, is a prodigy with some pretty hefty superpowers himself (given the chance, he's actually stronger than his mother), so it's not that he shouldn't have been told, but the fact that he and Leto both unquestioningly exclude Jessica at first is very 60s. Incidentally, there is a justification for Leto being reluctant to share certain information with Jessica (the Atredies family's interests and those of the aforementioned Bene Gesserit do not fully coincide, and there's reasonable grounds to be concerned that she might be suffering from conflicted loyalties) but this is never directly stated to be the true reason.
  • Books like Make Room! Make Room! and Logan's Run used the concern over overpopulation at the time as fodder for dystopian horror, as a future society is portrayed as facing extinction or resorting to draconian measures against it). While concern exists, it's slightly odd now that contraception is almost never even mentioned in books like this, let alone abortion-probably because both were very controversial (and also illegal) in much of the West at the time. Obviously there's still opposition to them, but they became common enough that in the West, underpopulation is a concern in some countries rather than overpopulation and make these look very odd to a modern reader. Even the notorious One-Child Policy of China stopped mostly in fear that they had gone too far, and the country faced a demographic crisis. Of course, this is not the only factor in lower population, but it's definitely there.
  • In Harry Turtledove's career-making novel The Guns of the South, members of the AWB (standing for Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging-Afrikaner Resistance Movement, or basically white South African Neo-Nazis) go back in time to help the Confederacy win The American Civil War. The novel was first published in 1992, and the AWB men act more like they come from that time period, rather than 2014-2018. It should be noted, however, that the only AWB men whose ages are mentioned are in their mid-late forties, and as such are just the right age to have joined a pro-Apartheid militia group right before it ended.
  • The antagonist factions in Atlas Shrugged are strawmen anyway (the writer doesn't distinguish between anyone on the political spectrum who's not fully ideologically aligned with her heroes), but many of their social views, especially Balph Eubank, a popular "progressive" philosopher, espousing Stay in the Kitchen, would not be tolerated in a modern left-wing organization, being rather anti-modernistic and anti-woman.
  • George Orwell's 1984:
    • Although generally totalitarian regimes are (rightly) feared even today, since Orwell's death and the downfall of several regimes that inspired Orwell's writing, we have gleaned some understanding into the inner-working (or lack thereof) of these governments. In particular, O'Brien's bold proclamation that the system is going to stand forever sounds laughably arrogant, though given the appendix at the end he may have been intended to come across that way anyway.
    • The idea that people under torture would be so utterly brainwashed that they would really end up loving Big Brother was inspired by the spectacle of the Moscow Show Trials whereby Old Bolsheviks were forced to confess to absurd crimes and betrayals in front of news cameras. The truth, as post-Cold War history has revealed, was that most of them were tortured and their families and friends were threatened if they didn't confess, and none of them really did believe their accusations, nor did many of the inmates and victims who were sent to The Gulag.
    • The idea that a Forever War, especially one that was constantly and literally hitting close to home, was a good way to maintain public support should've been discredited after World War I, and is even more laughable in the U.S. due to the Vietnam War and Iraq. It makes sense in Orwell's model where the people of the Soviet Union backed Stalin and his regime as a bulwark against Nazism, as did the Western Communists who Orwell saw as his real target, but of course in that situation Stalin didn't have to make up any fake war, since the Nazis really did invade the USSR and with unspeakable horrifying brutality moreover.
  • The 16th century comedy Morosophus by Dutch playwright Wilhelm Gnapheus stars a Know-Nothing Know-It-All Astrologer who is rumored to have a large book sitting around in his house collecting dust. It was intended on an attack on Gnapheus' contemporary Nicholas Copernicus,note  who indeed had a large book sitting around in his house. Shortly before Copernicus' death, that book was published under the title On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, the first great work on Heliocentrism. Today, Copernicus is remembered as a genius and one of the fathers of modern astronomy because of that work.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with in The 4400. Richard Tyler, an African-American who was brought forward in time from the Korean War era, is sitting in a cafe having a cigarette when he notices he is getting a lot of dirty looks. He assumes it's because he's in a Whites-only establishment but in reality it's because the cafe is non-smoking and people want him to put it out. He's also later pleasantly surprised to find that Lily is happy with the prospect that he'd fathered her baby (via mystical pregnancy) and they later get into a relationship without his being Black or her White an issue, whereas he was nearly killed for being discovered to have dated a White woman, before his transport into the future. Richard still holds the standard views of his time on many things however, asking Shawn what his intentions are toward Richard's daughter Isabelle as they grow close (he'd probably have been appalled to discover they were having extramarital sex).
  • Black Mirror: Black Mirror: San Junipero: In-universe. Yorkie is worried people will react negatively to being seen dancing with another woman in a nightclub, but Kelly assures her that such prejudices really aren't a problem anymore. This is the viewer's first clue that this actually isn't The '80s, but a future simulation of that period.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series tried to avert this. On one hand, they had minorities and women in Starfleet, which was progressive for the '60s, and no one smokingnote . But the women, although never explicitly told to Stay in the Kitchen, were often portrayed as damsels in distress or as only joining the space service to find a husband. In short they did their best to avert the trope but couldn't due to Executive Meddling, especially in the pilot (see below).
    • In the episode "The Enemy Within", evil!Kirk tries to rape Yeoman Rand. She later recounts the incident for good!Kirk, Spock and McCoy, displaying a very '60s attitude about it ("I don't want to get you into trouble. I wouldn't even have mentioned it.") while being in tears. And this is while she is unaware that there are two Kirks running around!
    • Probably the worst example was in "Turnabout Intruder", the last episode of the original series. Written by Gene Roddenberry himself, it reveals that women aren't allowed to be captains in Starfleet, in the 23rd century. A female character who tries to get around this rule by using alien technology to switch bodies with Kirk is portrayed as being a horribly misguided fanatic.
      • The franchise, naturally, retconned this in Star Trek: Enterprise, introducing Erika Hernandez, a no-nonsense woman who had previously served with Archer, as the captain of the second Warp 5 starship (Columbia NX-02). In the 2000s, people were ready for that sort of thing.
      • There is the possibility (lampshaded by McCoy) that the woman in question was mentally ill to begin with, and thus may not have interpreted regulations with the right frame of mind.
      • Leonard Nimoy hated this episode, and confirmed that Roddenberry really meant for Starfleet to have such a rule: females could not captain a starship.
        His goal was to prove, quote, 'That women, although they claim equality, cannot really do things as well, under certain circumstances, as a man' — like the command function, for example... What he set out to prove was that this lady, given command of the ship, would blow it. That's really what the script was about. Just that simple."
      • Later biographers blame Creator Breakdown, as Roddenberry was going through his divorce during this time.
      • Since the episode aired, the franchise and fans have handwaved the "no female captains" implication by playing Exact Words and suggesting the character's actual line, about the world of Starfleet captains not including women, refers to the fact that captains are "married to their ship" and don't give themselves over to romantic temptation. Certainly, the two prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery, the latter set only about a decade before TOS, support this rationalization as both feature female captains.
    • The original pilot of the series included a female first officer. She capably commanded the Enterprise for most of the episode while the (male) captain was held captive by aliens. In fact, she was the one who dispassionately decided that letting the aliens breed humans for slavery would be unacceptable, when Captain Pike seemed willing to let it happen as part of a bargain to save the Enterprise. Number One coldly threatened to blow everyone up — including herself — instead, and this was what finally convinced the aliens to abandon their plot and let everyone go. If only they let Roddenberry keep that character in the show, it would have been an amazing aversion of this trope... but the pilot's test audiences failed to react well, and Roddenberry pissed off the network by casting his girlfriend in the role. The network also didn't like the idea of the Enterprise having a 50-50 gender split. Eliminating Number One and reducing the percentage of women were two compromises Roddenberry made (allegedly in part so that he could keep the character of Spock).
    • "Plato's Stepchildren" is credited as having the very first (obvious, anyway) interracial kiss on US television. According to some accounts, it very, very nearly fell prey to those meddlesome executives, and was finally only allowed through when it was demonstrated that neither party involved really wanted to do it, but were being forced by alien mind control. The studio was horribly afraid they were going to be inundated with hate mail, that the country would be in an uproar over such an act and simply couldn't accept it; they got a ton of letters alright, with a distinct majority praising the scene. Nichelle Nichols even recounts reading a letter from a Southern man, who was "totally against the mixing of the races. However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms that looks like Uhura, he ain't gonna fight it." Now THAT'S progress.
      • Plus, William Shatner and Nichols were adamant about keeping the kiss (which if you've read either of their autobiographies seems to be the only thing they ever agreed on), and deliberately screwed up every take of Kirk and Uhura not kissing, so the editors were forced to use a shot where they did.
    • The animated series (made only a few years after TOS) had an episode featuring Uhura in command after the male crew members of the Enterprise are incapacitated. A Moment of Awesome for early Star Trek in general and Uhura in particular!
    • In "Who Mourns for Adonais?" it appears that Scotty will soon be marrying a female crew member, causing Kirk and McCoy to lament the loss of such a skilled crewman, because she'll be giving up her job once she ties the knot. Oddly enough, this comes a season after "Balance of Terror" featured a marriage between two crew members where this attitude was completely absent.note 
    • On another note, the franchise's depiction of Earth as a One World Order is becoming less and less likely given both deteriorating/fluctuating international and intranational relations, as well as the renewed focus on racial and/or ethnic identity in the developed world. Many on both the political left and right today would balk (for very different reasons) at the sheer amount of cultural erasure needed to make such an arrangement even remotely feasible. This was something even the writers themselves could see was problematic as early as TNG, with the Borg being partly written as a grim parody of the Federation's assimilationist values taken to their logical conclusion.
  • There was a Twilight Zone episode about two soldiers, one male and one female, from opposite sides being the last survivors of their war. The female soldier's combat uniform included a pleated skirt. And her only line is the Russian for "Pretty", referring to a dress in a store window.
  • Unavoidable with a Long Runner like Doctor Who:
    • The leader of La Résistance in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" has some very 1960s attitudes towards women, such as Stay in the Kitchen and so on, despite being from 2164.
    • The Doctor telling Susan "Remember the Red Indian!" in "An Unearthly Child" - not only is this racist nowadays, it doesn't make any sense for the Doctor to hold these views. While the show had not yet decided for certain that he was an alien, he was at the very least from the distant future.
    • Both "The Tenth Planet" and "The Moonbase" show big multinational teams of scientists from all over the world, meant to show that in the future we don't discriminate. This message probably would have worked better if any of the scientists had been women. In addition, "The Tenth Planet" in particular shows the male scientists being chauvinistic towards Polly and telling her to make the coffee. (Decades later, "Last Christmas" would poke fun at this in one scene.) Though Polly serving coffee is little more than a front; she's actually trying to get Dr Barclay on their side so it's more of "not trying to arouse suspicion".
    • "Twice Upon A Time" pokes fun at this by having the Twelfth Doctor encountering the First Doctor at the time of "The Tenth Planet" and being embarrassed at his sexist attitudes. This, of course, was intended to create an Ironic Echo scenario when the Twelfth Doctor regenerates into a woman in the finale.
    • We never see a single Time Lady from their introduction as a race in "The War Games" in 1969 until 1977's "The Invasion of Time" (ignoring Susan, who was a character back when the show followed different rules and the Doctor was still Ambiguously Human). Fans at the time (and some of the actors) even thought Time Lords might have been a One-Gender Race. "The Deadly Assassin" attempted to work with this by turning it into a satire of the white-boys'-club mentality of British politics — a criticism that still has fangs decades later - but still seems short-sighted with Margaret Thatcher being Leader of the Opposition at the time. From the late 70s onwards, an implicit retcon was made that Time Lords were a post-sexist society, and the Doctor even got a Time Lady as a companion (who is sometimes shown to be baffled by human attitudes towards women). Later than that it was established that Time Lords and Time Ladies occasionally swap sex when they regenerate, and both the Capaldi-era Master and the 13th Doctor are women. This also means they have their own type of gender identity issues; a one-off gag has a newly-regenerated Time Lady remark how glad she was to be back to normal after her single male regeneration.
    • A Running Gag is used in Twice Upon A Time which has the 12th Doctor's meeting with his 1st incarnation in which the 1st Doctor talks about how he will smack Bill's bottom and why she hasn't cleaned the TARDIS. This makes the 12th Doctor feel extremely unconformable hearing this.
  • In Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, someone tests to see if Buck is who he says he is by making a pop culture reference to the 20th Century. Today, O. J. Simpson's image as "The Juice" has fallen out of public consciousness. And when one thinks of O.J, it's about something completely different. In Buck's defense, he was frozen in 1987, years before O.J's Fall From Grace.
    Duke: If you're Buck Rogers, then who's "The Juice"?
    Buck: The Juice? Hah. O.J. Simpson. I told you all about him.
  • Parodied and subverted in Garth Marenghis Darkplace. The writing in the So Bad, It's Good Show Within a Show is astoundingly chauvinistic and racist, making it seem like a prime case of Values Dissonance from the 60's or so. Except the show was made in the late 80's long after such attitudes had been discredited; Garth Marenghi is just that much of a bigot. It's implied that this contributed heavily to Darkplace getting cancelled.
    Garth: I portended that by the year 2040, the world would see its first female mechanic. And who knows, she might even do a decent job.
  • The Handmaid's Tale:
    • The series appears to have done away with the blatant white supremacy in Gilead as described in the novel. Not only did they want babies, the goal was white babies, with black people being "removed to North Dakota" (quite possibly getting killed there). In the novel, Moira was white, while African-American actress Samira Wiley plays her in the series. We see some photos of black Commanders and Wives in the clinic. No one thinks anything is odd when Moira impersonates an Aunt, either. There are some black men among the Guardians and common workers too. There are some Commanders and Wives who do explicitly want white babies (Aunt Lydia mentions a couple who explicitly requested not to have a Handmaid of color) but it's less institutionalized than in the novel.
    • The series also so far removes the criticism of radical feminists present in the original book. In the book, Offred's mother was a radical second-wave feminist who believed that all men were sexist and that pornography should be banned. In the feminist community there was fierce debate about that point of view, however nowadays it's more of a fringe belief. Additionally, since the series received a Setting Update to the 21st century, it wouldn't make sense temporally for Offred's mother to be a second-wave feminist (since the second wave started in the 60s, and at this point Offred's mother could've been born in the early 60snote ). When she's finally introduced in season 2, she is a feminist (who takes Offred to feminist rallies as a child), but not an extremist like her book counterpart.
    • Serena Joy's pre-Gilead profession is changed from ultra-conservative televangelist to Blonde Republican Sex Kitten political pundit/author (in the vein of Tomi Lahren or Ann Coulter), reflecting the decline in the relevance of televangelism during the 2010s.
  • When Greggs is in the hospital after being shot in Season 1 of The Wire, her live-in girlfriend comes to the hospital. The police commissioner has come to pay a visit himself but, after the other cops explain to him rather elliptically what that worried-looking woman's relationship to Greggs is, he can't bring himself to. In the early 2000s, when that scene was shot, that behavior was not unusual, but today, when Greggs and she could legally marry, it would be.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): In "Time Bomb", Cassandra Loren, despite being from the enlightened year of 2155, bases her entire plan on convincing men to believe her future knowledge by seduction rather than using that knowledge to execute her plan herself.
  • It's a Living: In the episode "Gender Gap," Sonny dates a Transgender woman (ironically one of Nancy's ex's). The main characters all express revulsion at the concept. While in the 21st century, individual opinions might or or might not have changed, a transgender person would no longer be the subject of ridicule on prime time television.

  • The song "Year 3000" by Busted gives us the line "Not much has changed, but they live underwater." Which they promptly undermine by claiming that "triple-breasted women swim around town totally naked", take that as you will...

    Tabletop Game 
  • Space 1889 has an alternate history version: Mankind achieves space travel in 1870, meets other intelligent species and gets access to material that makes flying ships possible — with all other things being the same, including society. The discovery of other intelligent species, for instance, has almost no effect on human society, and European colonists treat the new planets as new places to explore, trade with and colonize, and Martians and lizard men as just a new form of natives. Player characters are supposed to generally embody Victorian society and values; the players disagree with much of these. The in-game society is justifiably old-fashioned since it is actually set in an alternative past.
  • Dungeons and Dragons, in its early years, had a tendency towards stereotyped and racially profiled characters and settings, but has generally worked on them with each subsequent edition. Now in 5th edition, Creators WizardsOfTheCoast are in the process of removing a number of issues. The recent errata removed negative racial modifiers as well as addressing many of the racist implications of past editions such as half-orcs getting a negative intelligence modifier, or drow culture being automatically Evil-aligned (a rule a lot of people ignored anyway), and future entries, starting with Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, will "allow a player to customize their character’s origin, including the option to change the ability score increases that come from being an elf, a dwarf, or one of D&D’s many other playable folk."
    • This effort of TTRPG in general to engage with a more diverse community seems to be working and the games now attract a much wider variety of players from various backgrounds, orientations, genders and much more racial diversity.

    Theme Parks 
  • A controversial change to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was the replacement of the misogynistic traits such as pirates chasing women and the auction scene. X Atencio, one of the original designers of the ride, once pointed out that the ride was called "Pirates of the Caribbean", not "Boy Scouts of the Caribbean".

    Video Game 
  • Contradiction has characters say that salvia divinorum is a legal hallucinogenic. About a year after the game's release, the UK (where the game takes place) made it illegal to supply, produce, or import it.
  • The Punisher goes out of its way to address this, with Frank Castle noting that while Hell's Kitchen isn't all that crime-ridden anymore, the old New York is just below the surface, with the criminals now operating out of sight of the general population.
  • Jonathan Ingram at one point during Policenauts can comment on a strip club that employs transgender "biovestites", which he's quite dismissive of, labeling them "so-called women" and states that 2037 Los Angeles is "unfortunately" famous for this sort of thing. While one could excuse these attitudes as Deliberate Values Dissonance due to him being a Fish out of Temporal Water, the incident that saw him get cryogenically frozen happened in 2013, and plenty of people from that year would find such opinions horribly transphobic.

    Web Animation 
  • While the vast majority of Red vs. Blue has aged rather well, many jokes/aspects of the earlier seasons definitely wouldn't fly if they had came out today and not in the 2000s and early 2010s. The Blood Gulch Chronicles probably gets this the worst, as the various examples of Innocently Insensitive Unfortunate Implications during its eventsnote  would all have gotten a noticeable backlash if they were to have been first released in 2019. Though to Rooster Teeth's credit, the series has actually adapted relatively well to the times by taking these criticisms into account, with it in turn focusing on having more politically correct humor as the series has gone on while either removing the series' more problematic elements or giving them a suitable Revision/Rewritenote .

    Western Animation 
  • The Jetsons:
    • Jane Jetson was a typical 1950s housewife who didn't even know how to drivenote ... but they had flying cars! When she gets driving lessons, her instructor panics at the idea of a female student, then changes his "Student Driver" sign to read "Woman Student Driver: BEWARE".
    • There was one episode George spent complaining about women drivers, with an unflatteringly portrayed female bus driver getting Played for Laughs.
    • On the other hand, lots of jokes based on George complaining about his "button finger" (with the implication that what we are lazy about will just get more crazy in a world where you just push buttons all day) are more of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment due to increasing awareness of Repetitive Strain Injury.
    • Several jokes were made about the standard work week being nine hours long, based on the popular conception of the time that technology would allow people to work far less. Not only has the exact opposite happened, but cell phones and email have allowed bosses to contact employees 24/7, meaning that the separation between work and leisure has become blurred.
    • This trope was the whole point of the show, since it was meant to be the future equivalent of The Flintstones. The fact that there were no real cultural differences despite being set a hundred years in the future was a big part of the show's humor.
  • Many future-themed classic cartoons, from Looney Tunes to Tex Avery MGM Cartoons, fit this trope. In many instances, they even assume the dress styles of the era in which they were made will still be relevant in the future.


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