The hippie culture made its debut in the 60’s and was brought about by the baby boomer generation composed of mostly teenagers and young adults who rejected the traditional values of the society and believed in happiness and freedom over all aspects of their lives. The hippie movement came as a social revolution to escape the conformity, strict values, consumerism, and appearances of the society of the period. This counterculture broke the norms of the traditional society considering all types of pleasure and ways to achieve happiness valid and desirable. The two mainstream values for this cultural group were peace and love.
Elements of Culture
This cultural group had specific elements of culture, like their clothing and symbols. the dress norms involved bell-bottom pants, long skirts, vests, large blouses, and headbands. The clothes had psychedelic patterns, bright colors, mimic flowers, and landscape prints.
Other norms of the hippie culture involved the man wearing long hair and beards, while women often did not shave and dressed up bra-less. In addition, many hippies hand-made their clothes to go against the values of industry and consumerism, and strongly preferred natural materials such as cotton, hemp or wool to conserve the idea of environmental-friendly and non-harm to other living things. The hippie symbols are still well known and include the symbol of peace, the hand gesture V for victory, Gods from polytheistic religions and the cannabis leaf.
The hippies lived a lenient lifestyle. The use of LSD and other hallucinogen drugs were part of their moral values. The hippies also used marijuana together with hallucinogens because they viewed drugs as a way to achieve personal fulfillment in a nontraditional way to spirituality. They preferred rock over jazz and some of their favorite singers were Jefferson Airplane and Bob Dylan. The Hippies also integrated communities where they lived together inspiring their values and having a simple life fulfilled with pleasure (use of drugs, casual sex, and celebrations). Some of them possessed customized colored vans and they would take road trips seeking adventures and freedom of spirit. This was also a cheap way to rebel and leave their parents’ house, rejecting the mainstream values imposed by the adults during this time. As we can see in the video “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out: Counterculture of the 1960s”, The hippie lifestyle represented a counterculture in complete opposition to the strict society of the 60’s.
“If I am free, it’s because I am always running.”- Jimi Hendrix
Their values were composed of altruism, honesty, mysticism, sense of freedom and nonviolence. The Hippies pursued mental enlightenment and their philosophy involved seeking a connection with nature and with their own self. The hippie beliefs had their roots in the Native American mysticism (spiritual values connected to nature) Buddhism (through the practice of meditation and yoga), and the Indian culture (burning incense,
listening to Indian music, and being vegetarian).The Hippies rejected modern society and its consumerism and industrialization in favor of a simpler lifestyle in harmony with the earth. Hippie’s political views involved communal sharing, peaceful dialogue, and the opposition to the imminent Vietnam War. This counterculture promoted a new lifestyle focused on happiness, freedom, peace, and love.
The Woodstock was the biggest celebration of the hippie culture and was definitely a landmark of this counterculture as an enormous influence on the new generation of the 60’s. This festival ended up freely opening its doors to the public that crowded the event with more than half a million people.
The event was known as three days of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll” in upstate New York. Soaked up by rain and the muddy Yasgur’s fields, the hippies were euphoric to watch performances of singers like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Joan Baez.
Numerous singers used the festival to express their opposition to the Vietnam War, and the event was a celebration of all the values and norms of the hippie culture (intense use of drugs, casual sex, and communal sharing). The expression “Woodstock Nation” became a well-known term referring to this counterculture of the 1960s.
Why is this cultural group important?
The 60’s were the time of conservancy and strict values. People valued having property, cars, and displaying a good image to others. The hippie movement represented a way to escape the racist, violent, and consumerist values of the mainstream culture of the period and seek happiness, peace, and harmony with yourself and the environment. The hippies were more than a marginal group made up of teenagers who wanted freedom and used drugs. The hippies were a dissentient cultural group that had a huge impact on the mainstream culture of the 60’s. The hHippie movement faded but some of its values blended with the mainstream culture and still impact our current lifestyle, values, and norms.
The hippies were a large youth group and certainly had an impact on the political views of the period. In the 60’s, the hippies marched against the Vietnam war (one of their popular slogans was “Make love not war”) and opposed the racial segregation due to their pacifist view. Nowadays, some of the reminiscents of the hippie movement are sexual and gender freedom, acceptance of single parenthood, blue jeans, the value of the natural goods, legal marijuana, beards, body adornments, and even music festivals like “Coachella” have their roots in the hippie movement.
After getting to know more about the hippie culture and its values, take this quiz and find out how much your views and values align with this cultural group!