Hippie was a member of a counterculture that began as a youth movement in the United States. The movement had started in the 1960s and later spread to the other countries in the world. The term Hippie was derived from hipster that was used to describe beatniks. In the 1960s, the decade saw revolution and liberation. It was a time, which experienced significant changes amongst the youth. During this time, there was the use of drugs, anti-war protests, sit-ins, and free love. In areas and cities such as Paris, Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles there were fierce protests against the Vietnam War, exchange of ideas and the hippie movement promoted love, peace, and equality. People from different background came together and formed a group whose idea and the goal was unstoppable. The group included writers, thinkers, and musicians. They used art to spread their ideology to the rest of the world. The group was popular for its counterculture and it was referred to as the hippie.
Why Many White Youth felt Alienated
In the 1960s, the American youth felt alienated from the middle-class society, which was seen as if it was dominated by repression and materialism. Therefore, the youth developed a different lifestyle from the rest of the people. The Hippie movement advocated for human rights, peace, and freedom. The youth class encouraged both men and women have long hair and have a casual dressing that had vivid colors and bizarre patterns. Ladies were allowed to wear sandals and beads while men grew long beards (Moretta 11). The counterculture youths were against the cultural standards that had been introduced by their parents, which included women rights, Vietnam War, racial segregation and sexual mores. The hippies differed with the conservative American middle class and they could hardly relate to them. They started using drugs such as marijuana and LSD that they believed helped them in opening up their mind (Moretta 58). However, some members were using drugs to put across their disassociation with the societal standards.
The Hippies developed their own subculture. A subculture is defined as a set of beliefs and behavior that distinctively differentiate them from the larger culture to which they belong to. Individuals who belong to a given subculture have a different mode of dressing, listening to different genres of music and have distinct activities (Timothy 12). Some of the subcultures in the world has flourished due to the need of belonging for most individuals. Hippie is one of the main subcultures that have greatly influenced the Americans in terms of art, music, beliefs, and lifestyles (Fred and Munoz 160). The counterculture was so deep-rooted that there are people who still believe and follow in the Hippie’s creed.
Hippie Philosophy and how the Propagated the Message
Hippie came about after some people, especially the youth were annoyed with the way most people in the society behaved. The continued Vietnam War was one of the major driving factors that led to the formation of the Hippie. They wanted an end to the war as they wanted to achieve global peace. They advocated for peace, love, and equality. The used phrases such as “make love not war”. Through their campaigns, they promoted tolerance and openness that were against the regimentation and restrictions that were promoted by the middle class (Moretta 39). Most of the Hippies moved from their homes and went to live in cities of Francisco and New York. Their homes, vehicles and their belongings were decorated psychedelic art. The Hippies were using artistic features they drew on their possessions to pass their message.
Additionally, since there were musicians within the group, they could compose songs in order to pass their message to the people and the government. They were creative and they took advantage of music, which is a powerful tool to put across their message. They used rock, blues, and folk types of music to express themselves emotionally, politically, and spiritually. Additionally, the music played a significant role in spreading the culture across the globe. Moreover, since they had a distinctive mode of dressing and lifestyle, they used it to influence people and pass the message to the world (Timothy 69). The Hippie did not go to church, but they always attended parties. They stopped eating meat, they became vegetarian, and their activities were environmentally friendly. Their main goal was to break out from the cruel American culture so they built their own subculture to break out from the reality. Through art and music, the counterculture movement was able to attract a huge following in the US and in Europe.
The Hippie movement made several mistakes during its campaign, but that did not prevent them from advocating for change. Several individuals started the group but with time, the Hippie had grown and it had thousands of members across the world including Europe. The advocated for peace and insisted for the withdrawal of the American troops from Vietnam in order to end the war. The movement advocated for women rights and equality for despite race of gender. The group was able to bring those who believed in their ideology together (Moretta 156). Additionally, the Hippies made people believe that the government and the authorities were imposing rules against their will and there was a need to demonstrate and spread love across the region in order to achieve freedom and equality. One of the major highlights was when the counterculture group organized a music festival that was later attended by thousands of young people. Through this festival, they were able to spread their message through music, thus getting more people joining the group. The songs composed and played by the hippie made people dream and think. The Woodstock Music Festival represented one of the defining moments of the movement (Moretta 198). People met at the festival in the spirit of love and sharing.
The hippies were among the first people who through their unity and togetherness brought the need for change in the United States. Their actions were highly influenced by the political situations that were in the country. The hippies criticized the government and those who were associated with authority. Their goal was to have a society that was based on trust, tolerance, and love and achieve peace all over the world (Timothy 36). Most of the Hippies always participated in peaceful demonstrations whose goal was to stop the war and recall the military from Vietnam. Additionally, the Hippies participated in civil right activism, which pushed for racial and gender equality. The main ambition was to create a perfect situation for love, peace, and harmony. Their strong stand and believe made it possible for love and peace to be among people (Timothy 39). Due to the huge following, the group’s ideology and goals were unstoppable.
The decline of the Hippie
After the “Summer of Love”, the counterculture movement experienced major setbacks, which later resulted in the decline of the hippie movement. Although the group had its high moments in which they had achieved some of their agendas, some low moments eventually led to the decline of the group. Some of the reasons that led to the end of the hippie included:
Crime and Drug Addiction
The members of the hippie movement were using drugs especially marijuana since they believed that it would help them increase the consciousness levels. However, the availability of these drugs led to overdosing and addiction. The wave of violence experienced in the late 1960s was blamed on the use of drugs (Fred and Munoz 159). The continued use of drugs led to burnouts and most of the people found themselves homeless while others returned to their homes sick and poor.
Destruction of the Hippie City
The Hippie had taken the city of San Francisco as their capital but due to the high rates of crime taking place daily, people had left the city in ruins. During the ‘Summer of Love,’ there were so many people who resulted in unhealthy habits thus leading outbreak and spread of diseases (Timothy, 17). The city was later destroyed, trashed and abandoned. With the decline in population, Francisco was no longer the meeting point of the Hippies.
The End of the War in Vietnam
The Vietnamese War was one of the main reasons why the Hippie movement was formed. The Hippies vehemently opposed the war and they wanted the United States government to withdraw troops from Vietnam. By mid-1970s, the war was gradually ending and in 1975, the war eventually ended. Due to this, the group had nothing to demonstrate for (Moretta 258). The mutual goal that had brought them together had ended and the members started to disintegrate.
They Just Grew Up
Most of the members of the Hippie movement were youths. However, most of them matured as time went by and those who survived matured and pursued other serious activities. Most of the young people had now grown up and they realized that the idea counterculture idea was not practical and they would not achieve much and this made people abandon the group thus leading to its disintegration (Moretta 261).
Manson and Altamont Murders
During the Hippie movement, there were murders that were associated with the movement. One of the most famous murders was the killing of the actor Sharon Tate, who was killed by the Manson family. Another instance happened at the Altamont Music Festival when a teenager was killed by the security hired for the event. These events were both associated with the Hippies and this made many people shy away from being associated with the movement (Moretta 304). The events had tainted the image of the group and it was no longer appealing to the common citizens.
In conclusion, the hippie was one of the significant groups that brought change in the American society. The movement influenced other people and eventually led to changes in the way people viewed things. The group was mostly comprised of young people whose goal was to spread love, equality for all and promote peace in the US and across the world. The group used music and art as its major tools to spread their message and philosophy. They organized music concerts that attracted huge crowds of people. The Hippies had achieved most of their goals and the effect of their culture is still evident even today. People still wear blue jeans, colorful clothes, and have long hair. The culture promoted by the hippie has greatly influenced our lives and is quite crucial. Due to the hippie’s efforts, today’s society can now enjoy the freedom of speech and equality, especially for the minority groups. However, in the early 1970s, the group started to disintegrate due to various factors and later it declined.