Objectification, ridicule and “slut”-shaming were a core part of the so-called lads culture that shaped so much of popular culture at the time.
Now, anyone thinking, “It can’t have been that bad,” should take a look at a video montage that’s been doing the rounds on social media.
The one-minute clip was shared by fitness influencer Hayley Madigan earlier this month, with the caption: “POV: You grew up in the 90’s and now realise why your relationship with your body was so bad…”
The round-up begins with an excerpt from an interview between Dutch TV presenter Ivo Niehe and a 17-year-old Britney.
Somewhat breathlessly, he tells her: “Everyone’s talking about it…” prompting the teenager to innocently ask: “What?”
“Well, he replies, your breasts.”
It then cuts to American radio star Howard Stern telling former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith: “The way you dress and stuff, I don’t think you’re aware that you’re a heavy-set woman.”
“I know I’m a big woman, so what?” she replies.
He then tells her he’s been “guessing her weight” and asks her to step on some scales to check how well he did.
Britney Spears (left) and Anna Nicole Smith were forced to shrug off deeply uncomfortable lines of questioningHoward Stern Show/Tros TV
We then see Scott Disick telling Kourtney Kardashian: “If I would have fallen in love with you a couple pounds overweight (sic), this would be my ideal weight, but I fell in love with you when you were super skinny."
Next, it’s the turn of Simon Cowell, who tells an X Factor contestant that she “sounds nice but looks like a shop girl.”
Clarifying, she says: “I’m overweight, basically,” to which he responds: “You really are.”
Speaking of weight (and people did, a lot), we’re then treated to a clip from the now-axed Channel 4 show TFI Friday.
The segment, from 1999, was filmed just two months after Victoria Beckham gave birth to her first son Brooklyn.
After asking her how she got back into shape after the birth, host Chris Evans then asks if her weight was now “back to normal”.
She tells him that “it is”, but he’s not satisfied.
“Can I check?” he then asks, jumping from his seat and leading her to a set of bathroom scales.
Victoria Beckham laughed at Evans's "horrible" demand during the interviewChannel 4
The penultimate excerpt is taken from a Jay Leno monologue, in which he tells viewers of his Tonight Show: “Monica Lewinsky said that President Clinton would often compliment her on her figure.
“He would say things like, ‘Oh, you look skinny today.’”
Pausing, Leno then doled out his punchline, saying: “You know, if you didn’t think this guy was the biggest liar in the world before…” which was met with peals of laughter from his audience.
Finally, another scene from Keeping Up With the Kardashians, in which Bruce (now Caitlin) Jenner, tells his step-daughter Khloé: “I’ll get shot for bringing this up but don’t you think you should lose a few pounds?”
Shaking her head dejectedly, she simply replies: “What?”
Khloé clearly didn't appreciate her stepdad's suggestionKeeping Up With the Kardashians
The compilation racked up more than 5.4 million views and 200,000 likes in just three weeks on Madigan’s Instagram alone.
In a statement accompanying the reel, the self-styled “female empowerment” guru wrote: “Whether it was in magazines, on talk shows or on reality TV… we continuously watched women get criticised.
“We watched men talk negatively about women’s appearances, about their weight, about their body autonomy… and this complete disregard for women’s dignity forced a societal pressure amongst many of us who were growing up watching it.”
Reflecting on her own response, she went on: “I constantly compared myself even at the young age of 12 I remember wanting to be as skinny as possible like the models on the TV. I had no desire to be anything but exactly what they looked like and I deemed them to be perfect.
“I constantly heard negative opinions about women who weren’t perfect, women who weren’t small and women who didn’t fit the ideal stereotype that men created.”
Wrapping up her message, she continued: “Seeing these talk shows and reality TV clips hits hard, women weren’t treated equally, we were continuously degraded and this put pressure on all of us growing up.”
Then, concluding on a note of optimism, she added: “We’ve still not got to where we want to be but I feel somewhat change is happening and we will make sure the generations to come don’t endure the same pressure and issues we faced back then.”